The North Bend Eagle


Casino offers escape and entertainment

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 7/25/12

It’s cheap entertainment, win or lose, and an escape from the heat to boot. So say the seniors who make the monthly excursion to WinnaVegas Casino, 20 miles south of Sioux City, Iowa.

Getting there is part of the fun.

Casion busPeople get off the bus in North Bend after a day at the casino.

A bus from the Schuyler Senior Center picks up North Bend area gamblers at 8:30 a.m. the third Monday each month. They are delivered to the casino a little after 10 a.m. where they have four hours to play before the bus leaves to return them back to their pick-up point around 4 p.m.

North Bender Juanita Vopalensky has been before, but the July 16 outing was her first time this year. She and Morse Bluff friend Adeline Hines went together.

“We talked the whole way up and the whole way back,” Hines said, adding to the fun of the outing.

Joan Kluck, manager of the Schuyler Senior Center, said the center has been sponsoring the bus to the casino for more than 20 years.

“It’s a fund raiser for the center,” Kluck said. “We have good participation, even with the flood last year when we had to go a different route.”

Kluck said the bus comes from Norfolk or Lincoln, with around 50 people taking the trip each month, 47 went this past week.

“It’s an outing for the elderly,” Kluck said. “The older folks don’t drive so far anymore and don’t like the larger casinos. That’s why they like WinnaVegas.”

It costs $10 to ride on the bus that starts in Schuyler and stops in North Bend and Fremont. People from David City and Prague join the group, getting on at one of the stopping points. Of the nine who got on in North Bend, seven were from Prague.
Vern and Marie Belik of Prague try to go every month saying it’s a get-away from the usual routine at home.

“The bus and casino are a nice cool escape,” Marie said. “Can’t do much outside now.”

Delores Chadek and her husband Ron were in the younger group of riders on the recent outing. Both are in their mid-70s, while the majority of the group is in their 80s. There are canes and walkers of which the bus driver and those at the casino are very helpful.

“That’s my vacation,” Delores said. “We seldom go on vacations. We don’t go to the bar or movies. Gambling is our entertainment.”

The Chadeks also go to Horseshoe Casino in Council Bluffs, Iowa, once a month on a bus out of the David City, Bruno area.

They enjoy going in the daytime, saying it’s more crowded at night and in the daytime it’s just retired people.

Vopalensky says everyone goes their own way when they arrive. She journeys toward the penny slot machines. She and Hines meet up for lunch at the snack bar or buffet. There is free lemonade, water, pop and popcorn all day long. The casinos are air conditioned, almost a little too cool Vopalensky said.

“I’m not much of a gambler,” Vopalensky said, “but it’s a fun outing once in a while. One person on our bus won $8,000.”

For most participants, a day of fun and fellowship in the cool air conditioning is worth the gamble.

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