When driving into Mahnomen, Minnesota, one can’t quite help but feeling as though they’re driving into a scene from Michael Cimino’s 1978 film The Deer Hunter. Every building but a select few in the square mile town looks as though it hasn’t been painted or even touched up since the 1970’s. On the plus side, there are two liquor stores.
You know the moment of transition in The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy leaves her black and white existence and enters the colourful world of Oz? The first moment you lay eyes on the Shooting Star casino right off of the horribly bland Highway 59 has an eerily similar effect.
Upon entering the Shooting Star casino we found out that every Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. is All-Star Day. On All-Star Day the casino shows its gratitude to Star Rewards members (Shooting Star’s rewards club) aged 55+ by giving them $10 in Star Cash and a $5 meal discount. In other words, this is seniors day.
Could you ask for a better time for two young men to make the trip down to Mahnomen?
As one would expect there really wasn’t a lot happening in the casino for young people on this particular day. The fine dining restaurant “2 ONE 8” is closed on Monday’s and Tuesday’s so that was out of the question. Karaoke is on Monday nights so forget that idea.
“The young people flock out here on the weekends,” said Shooting Star’s promotions coordinator Nick Lerud, “when there is a big concert going on the place is absolutely hopping.”
Although a slight digression, a question that has always plagued me when visiting tribe run casinos is how much of a role the tribe actually plays in the day to day operations of the business. According to Lerud their role is minimal, “We have the tribe leaders that act as advisers on spending issues and such,” said Lerud, “but we have a whole other office of people that run the business of the casino.” This apparent disconnect is compounded by the fact that there are only two window sized display exhibits that commemorate the history of the White Earth Nation, the tribe that runs the casino.
While we may not have chose the ideal night to spend in Shooting Star, we were given a thorough tour of the complex. Later in the night while having a beverage in one of the casino’s bars we discovered that the tour brought us to the attention of possibly the only two young women in the whole building.
“We saw you guys getting a tour earlier,”said Macie Rasmusson, who was at the casino celebrating a birthday with her friends and family, “you honestly may be the only young guys around.”
Well maybe All-Star Day does have its perks.
For more information on Shooting Star casino visit their website at http://www.starcasino.com/.