Weed Rotary puts its chips on the table

Liz Pyles
Howard and Ronda Gubetta, and Sue Tavalero play Roulette during Weed Rotary’s 6th annual casino night, A Night In Monte Carlo, fundraiser on Saturday, April 21, 2012.

Saturday night, the Sons of Italy Hall was transformed into a Monte Carlo Casino with a 1920s theme.  Flappers took drink orders, while patrons gambled the night away, all for a good cause.

In its sixth year, the Casino Night is one of Weed Rotary’s annual fundraisers. It was moved to the Sons of Italy Hall, a new location, to allow for more guests.

It worked, according to Weed Rotary President Mike Solano who said, “We basically tripled the amount of people.”

Rotarians dressed as dealers ran games of Roulette, Craps, Bingo and Blackjack tables in one room, while a Texas Hold ‘em tournament with about 40 participants was going on in another.

Dressed as 1920s flappers Alisa Cummings, Sandi Duchi, Cookie Reynolds and Josephine Wyatt served drinks from the no-host bar.  “Everybody is having a great time,” said Wyatt. “The facility is great.”

Curt Weaver and his wife Chris ran the Roulette table.  Chris said she’s played before, but this was the first time being the house. “I get to root for everyone.” When asked who was winning, the players agreed that Scott Tavalero had won the most chips so far.

For some, this was their first experience gambling, and they moved around the room trying their luck at various games. Others, like 91-year old Carolina Carpine stayed with one game throughout the night. “I love it,” she said. “I’m a diehard Bingo player.” Dave Toms called out Bingo numbers for hours and was a little worried he might be hoarse the next day.

Cheers from the Craps table, run by Earl Wilson and Mike Matheson, weren’t necessarily because someone won, but to draw a response from guests at the Roulette table, who responded with cheers of their own.

Ron Stevens said the event was great, but he never wins anything. He said his wife Lisa is the lucky one.  “It’s a lot of fun,” she said. “Weed Rotary is out-doing themselves.”

No one goes home from Casino Night any richer in cash, but they do have an opportunity to win one of the donated prizes. Solano explained that a 501c3 non-profit like Rotary can hold one gambling event as a fundraiser once a year. “It’s all for charity,” said Solano.

People came for different reasons. For many it was an opportunity to gamble and try their luck. “I don’t gamble that much,” said Linda Romaine, “but this is fun.”  First timer Mat Dawson was just happy to have something to do. “Any time I’m out of the house I’m enjoying myself,” he said.

Gene Skeen said he came out to support Rotary.

“We need more of this, where people get a chance to dress up,” said College of the Siskiyous President Randy Lawrence. “We’ve got a lot of auctions. This is something different.”

Tickets to the event included $100 in chips, drink tickets, and a dinner buffet by Montgomery Meats.

Prizes were donated by John Ascuga’s Nugget in Sparks, Nev., Sandy Duchi, Chris Ordway, Weed Building Supply, Ray’s Food Place, Lake Shastina Golf, Shasta Valley Golf Club, Earl and Sheryl Wilson, Mt. Shasta Brewery, Dos Amigos Restaurant, Health Quest, Kevin Charter-Edward Jones, and Barbara Tomsson.

Ronda Gubetta, Scott and Sue Tavalero place their bets during Weed Rotary’s 6th annual casino night, A Night In Monte Carlo, fundraiser on Saturday, April 21, 2012.