Wabash Little League funds dwindle as bingo loses business

by Kalie Ammons

sports@thepaperofwabash.com

The Wabash Little League Bingo hall has been running for over 30 years to help fund the Little League teams. The late Jackie Parrett was the original bingo operator with Bill Hensley and Tom Ehret as the founders. The bingo hall was started to support the players in the county by a unique and fun fundraising experience.

At one point, the Wabash Little League Bingo was successful enough to donate $250,000 to go towards the creation of the Field of Dreams.

However, according to the president of Wabash Little League Bingo Alan J. Zimmerman, things are not looking too good for the hall.

“The thing is, bingo is not as popular as it once was. Bingo operations all over the country are shutting down,” Zimmerman told The Paper. “Unless the public takes action and supports bingo, the loss could lead to the loss of Wabash Little League.”

The Wabash Little League Bingo funds the day-to-day operations of Little League, which reduces the cost to players’ families and the need for extra fundraisers.

“Business cost started out at $100,000 a year, and we cut that by 30 percent by cutting everything we possibly could. Now Little League costs about $70,000 annually, and the Wabash Little League Bingo operation is essential to the League.”

Zimmerman explains the factors for the loss in funds for Wabash Little League by looking at the state’s economy.

“Right now, we have a perfect storm, and it’s not a good storm: the recession; field costs; and a decline in the bingo operation are reducing our Little League budget.”

Zimmerman also explained the rise in area casinos are leading people away from the Wabash bingo hall.

“When it first began, Wabash Little League Bingo did very, very well. All of that money was kept in the community.” Now Zimmerman worries about how the League will be able to be competitive with the loss of funds. The League has plans to start a Senior League, which would expand the age range for Little Leaguers from 4-16 to 4-18. The League would also like to start a girls’ softball division and build an indoor practice facility.

Wabash Little League Bingo is a fun way to fund Little League with a chance to win cash and prizes as well. Doors open Friday nights at 9 p.m. with a speed pack at 10:30 p.m. and a warm up at 11:15 p.m. On Mondays and Tuesdays the hall opens at 4 p.m. with early birds at 5:15 p.m. and regular games at 6 p.m.

“We are desperately asking the public to attend our Wabash Little League Bingo operation. It’s located at the Moose Family Center and everyone has a chance to win some money and prizes.”

The Moose Family Center is located at 169 E Market St by the Family Video store. Be sure to stop by and ensure the opportunity for Wabash County children to learn and play Little League baseball.

Posted on 2013 Aug 20