Four corners, blackout, it’s bingo time |

Four corners, blackout, it’s bingo time

Andrew Harley
Vail Daily/Bret HartmanKevin Sullivan, The Red Lion's bingo announcer dresses for bingo success on Tuesday nights.

Break out grandma’s old parlor dress and violet-rimmed spectacles, grandpa’s old smoking pipe and contemplative poker face and anything else reminiscent of a night of bingo at the local Veterans of Foreign Wars building.

Alas, the Vail Valley is all but void of the large bingo halls like those found lining freeways on the outskirts of Midwestern towns.

However, what began as a spring phenomenon, is soon to become a biannual staple, as The Red Lion in Vail offers free bingo every Tuesday night during the offseason.

The Red Lion tried a weekly bingo night in the spring, and found it successful enough that the bar is running it again until Nov. 25.

“It’s not gambling. It’s all for fun,” said Red Lion bingo announcer Kevin Sullivan. “This is our first year. We tried it in the spring, and it filled the place pretty well. It seemed like a good idea, so we’re doing it again.”

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Sullivan sports a vintage, bingo jacket, a hat, which could be mistaken for a fedora, but was acquired by Sullivan in New York’s garment district last year. All that is topped with a smooth, breathy, announcing voice.

“It’s fun announcing. I get to meet some super cool people,” said Sullivan. “The jacket’s a bingo jacket. I was looking for anything that said, “smoking parlor, good cigar.'”

Bingo cards are given at the door for free.

Because the cards are free, everyone is limited to one bingo card per game.

“It’s two-thumbs-up fun,” said Vail resident Tim Campbell.

All individual-round winners are entered in the grand prize drawing, to be held on Nov. 25, for lots of prizes including a Dagger Pyranha Concept kayak of $850 and a New Belgium scooter.

The Red Lion held six rounds of bingo last Tuesday evening.

Chris Forbes, from “The Hills,” Md., won an Avalanche T-shirt in the first round.

“I could win that kayak, but I ain’t gonna win it. This is the first time I won anything in my life,” said Forbes.

Will McNamara, from Boston, Mass., won a Red Lion nacho platter and a T-Shirt in the second round.

“They’re not too bad, you know,” McNamara said of his nachos.

Crayola brand crayons are the universal marking tools at The Red Lion’s bingo night.

After six rounds of bingo, everyone’s crayons were worn down to nubs.

Britt Stubblefield won a nerf football and his choice of Go Fast! visors in the fourth round.

“This football is going to kick ass,” said Stubblefield, a resident of Avon. “Perfect!”

Round five saw the evening’s first “premature bingulator” – a term referring to anyone who calls “bingo” without actually having it.

Vail’s own Shelli Martin was the only premature bingulator of the night. All premature bingulators are required to purchase a round of drinks for their entire table.

Martin sat at a table of nine, but failed to buy her table a round of drinks.

“What are you gonna do,” asked Sullivan. “Strong arm them? You really need support from the rest of the room to encourage (premature bingulators) to follow through.”

For more information on The Red Lion’s bingo night call (970) 476-7676.

Andrew Harley can be contacted at (970) 949-0555 ext. 610 or at

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