ARLINGTON – Stillaguamish Tribe families broke in the lanes Wednesday at the grand opening of Angel of the Winds Casino’s unique new spin on bowling.
The 16-lane Strikerz bowling alley drew guests of all ages for the private function to experience HyperBowling, a sensory overload of bells, whistles and wall-sized video images that take standard bowling to an all-new level.
In HyperBowling, raised bumpers – instead of gutters – glow different colors as part of an interactive game where players can increase their scores by hitting the bumpers’ colorful targets in addition to knocking down pins. Other amenities include plush lounge seating, touchscreen scoreboards, a full-length video wall, retro floor designs and the Angel Eats snack bar.
The numbered house balls resemble oversized billiard balls, while Strikerz also carries customized balls with designer graphics that match slots available to play at the casino, such as Triple Fortune Dragon Spitfire and Unleashed.
Strikerz bowling is an early family friendly entertainment offering as part of the tribe’s $60 million, 300,000-square-foot expansion. A 575-space parking garage, Gateway Bar and more slots and table games are now available, with the 725-seat, 8,800-square-foot Rivers Run Event Center opening Aug. 30.
Between now and the end of October when it celebrates the completed expansion and 15th anniversary, the casino will have rolled out upscale restaurants and a larger buffet, and its All Things Sports virtual sports bays, highlighted by golf.
Iris Meyer, the second eldest tribal member, cut the ribbon to officially open Strikerz.
Asked if he ever imagined bowling becoming an attraction at the casino, Stillaguamish tribal chairman Shawn Yanity said, “No, but they did,” pointing to the casino’s top managers.
Casino general manager Travis O’Neal and assistant general manager Jeff Wheatley traveled to Las Vegas. They researched the rising popularity of bowling alleys built within off-the-strip casinos frequented by local customers, then polled Angel of the Winds customers to see how the idea would play at home.
Strikerz is believed to be the first Hyperbowling center on the West Coast, and the first new bowling alley in 30 years in Snohomish County.
Yanity initially wondered how tribal members would view the concept. They came away believers.
“A lot of members thought it was a great idea to offer something different that other places aren’t doing, something that nobody else has,” Yanity said. Without spas, pools and shopping centers close by to heighten the casino’s location as a destination, leaders needed to get creative and find their niche in other ways.
“We’re providing extra entertainment for folks that don’t want to gamble,” Yanity said. “The nice thing is keeping this end of the facility family-oriented.”
Strikerz scored big with families who attended.
Kallen Boser, 4, clasped his hands over his ears after releasing the ball to block out the noise, but jumped up and down and clapped when his pins toppled over under the bright red lights.
Joyce Peterson watched as her grandchildren, Camden Peterson, 6, and his older sister, Danielle, 12, took turns bowling the next lane over. “I think it’s wonderful that they have this activity for the kids.”
For Danielle, this was only her second time bowling. She thinks Strikerz is going to be a hit.
Her favorite part? “We get to come here and be a family.”
Prices before 6 p.m. are $4.99 per game or $21.99 per hour (one lane, up to six guests) during the week, and $5.99 a game and $31.99 per hour after 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday rates before 6 p.m. are the same, but go up to $6.99 and $36.99 after 6 p.m.
General hours are 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Thursday and Sunday, and 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Kids hours run from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Shoe rentals are $2.99 for kids, $4.99 adults.