Bingo Fever at 21st Annual Tribal Bingo Day

By Wade Sheldon, Tulalip News

Excitement filled the Tulalip Bingo Hall as members of the Tulalip Tribes gathered for the 21st annual Tribal Bingo Day on Monday, April 29. Including all three gaming sessions, 1,074 tribal members tried their luck. With cash prizes and exciting trips up for grabs, the atmosphere buzzed with anticipation. 

MC of the night Mel Sheldon kicked off the event with a drawing, giving 20 people a chance at the prizes on hand. Names were called to the announcer’s booth where the lucky recipients could choose a prize and then draw the next contestant. One of them was tribal member Shelly Barto, who has been coming to Tribal Bingo Day since its inception. 

“I was overjoyed when my granddaughter’s name was called, and then, to my surprise, my name was called too,” Shelly exclaimed. “Winning the washer and dryer set couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. I am moving into a new apartment, and these prizes will greatly help me and my family.”

After the last of the names were announced and prizes chosen, the bingo began. As numbers were called, the sound of everyone’s daubers filled the air. The anticipation for a player’s number to be called and yell “bingo” grew. You could almost sense when someone was about to get bingo as the muttering got louder with every number. Finally, “bingo!” is yelled by one lucky player and the crowd sighs in disbelief that their numbers weren’t chosen. 

“I have been a part of the Tribal Bingo Day tradition for about ten years,” tribal member Nicholas Martin shared. “I used to go with my dad until he passed. Now, when I go and play, I am filled with nostalgia for all the good times we used to have there. It’s a special time to be able to reconnect with all my friends and family that I don’t get to see very often. I didn’t have any luck at bingo, but I did win a little bit on the slots.”

For many, heading home with a win from Tribal Bingo Day feels almost out of reach. But for some, like tribal member Keith Rosen, getting a win seems almost a tradition. 

“I just started coming about five years ago,” Rosen said. “I won tonight on the second to last blackout. I won last year in the drawing and getting a win this year made getting up early worth it because I work graveyard.”

When the final numbers were called and the last echoes of “bingo” faded, the energy of Tribal Bingo Day lingered, leaving behind fond memories for those who attended. From seasoned veterans to newcomers, each person left with a story to tell and a smile proving that Tribal Bingo Day isn’t just a game – it’s a tradition where fun and good times are always guaranteed.