Bingo back in Vinton

Darryl StJunius of Orange strikes a pose during bingo action at the new Cotton’s Corner Bingo in Starks on Friday. The ultra modern bingo
facility is the largest in the area and has the capacity to seat nearly 900 people. TRN/PHOTO: Mark Dunn

“Bingo!”

That is what every person in the hall hopes to holler.

“Bullet!” or the name of one of several other pull tab games would be the next best thing.

Those words were silent for a couple of weeks in Vinton, La. after the Texas Pelican closed its doors on May 19.

People used to playing the game several times a week had to find somewhere else to play or suffer withdrawals until the new hall in Vinton opened June 5. Friday’s player count was around 227 for the early session and is growing as players find out the new hall is open.

Cotton’s Corner Bingo opened its doors that Wednesday and began the progressive and bonus pots on June 10. Barbara Dishon won the Progressive pot on June 10 and Lashanda Bridges won the Bonus pot June 11, which is very unusual. What would normally be time for a huge celebration, winning a large pot, probably wasn’t as big of a celebration because the pots were only at $100 and $200 respectively. Don’t feel too bad for them though, because the pots accompany a $1,000 payout for the game itself. The progressive and bonus pots build $100 each session until they are won or until they reach the maximum allowed by law of $25,000. If they reach the maximum before being won, they cap that pot and start building another one, $100 at a time. The Pelican had three $25,000 pots built up that had to be given away before it closed, which shows how unlikely it is for someone to win them on day one and day two.

Malone James does the calling at the new Cotton’s Corner Bingo.

Malone James does the calling at the new Cotton’s Corner Bingo.

Built by Ray Cotton, owner of the Longhorn Complex, the layout and features of the brand new building was designed by Debbie Perry.

Having played in all area Bingo halls, Perry said “I took the best of all of them.”

The building has a capacity for 900 players. The non-smoking area is a glassed off separate room. Some non-smokers are choosing to play with the majority in the main room as seven commercial smoke eaters keep the air clean “It’s not smoky in here like the other one,” said Perry. “I’m a smoker, and I couldn’t breathe.”

Helen Clark agrees the smoke free environment is one of the best things about the new hall. “It’s really nice in here,” she said.

There is also plenty of room so you don’t have to get there early to save a spot.  They had to put more tables and chairs after just the first session and will continue to do so as needed until they get to capacity crowds. Parking is plentiful and soon there will be a canopy for dropping off players at the door in bad weather. The building also seems to absorb noise as it was much quieter than most halls, which is a definite plus if you have a hard time hearing.

The organizations and schedule of sessions remains the same as was previously held at the Pelican. Bingo machines are available during some sessions starting at $45.

Currently, snacks such as candy and chips and fountain drinks are the only thing available in the concession stand and you are allowed to bring outside food.

Melanie Cotton said they hope to have the full concession stand in operation around July 1 offering burgers, fries, chicken strips, salads and such.

“Wednesday mornings we will have little breakfast sandwiches,” said Cotton.

Bingo players study their bingo sheets in anticipation of the callers nexted number.

Bingo players study their bingo sheets in anticipation of the callers nexted number.

Sessions begin with an early bird game. There are sessions held every day with two sessions held on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Saturday has three sessions for you gaming pleasure. Times and days are: 6:45 p.m. Monday; 6:45 p.m. Tuesday; 10 a.m. and 6:50 p.m. Wednesday; 6:45 p.m. Thursday; 6:55 p.m. and 10 p.m. Friday; 2:45 p.m., 6:50 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Saturday; and 2:30 and 6:56 p.m. Sunday.

If it is your first time playing, don’t start off with a $20 pack of cards. Try a $10 or $15 pack until you get the hang of things.

Cotton had never played Bingo until the Corner opened. Her husband Trey bought her a $20 pack and she admitted it was hard to keep up. She has played a few times more with smaller packs and is starting to get the rhythm of the game.

Additional games such as the early bird, speed and progressive are bought separately at the cost of $1-$2 per sheet, depending on the game. Pull tabs are $1 and payouts vary.

The physical address to Cotton’s Corner Bingo is 2360 Hwy 109 South. Take Vinton exit 4. Instead of turning right to go to the Pelican, turn left and go over Interstate 10 to the other side. Turn into the last parking lot on the right before the railroad track. Cotton’s Corner is tucked back behind the buildings that face the road on the extensive Longhorn Complex property. For more information call 337-589-3002. Tell them you read about it in The Record.

Darryl St. Junius of Orange strikes a pose during bingo action at the new Cotton’s Corner Bingo in Starks on Friday. The ultra modern bingo facility is the largest in the area and has the capacity to seat nearly 900 people. RECORD PHOTOS: Mark Dunn 

About Penny LeLeux

Penny has worked at The Record Newspapers since 2006. A member of the editorial staff, she has "done everything but print it." Most frequently she writes entertainment reviews and human interest stories, with a little paranormal thrown in from time to time.She has been a lifelong member of the Orangefield community.