Although the facility for Hamilton Jai-Alai and Poker in Jasper is not completed, the Jai-Alai players and card dealers are ready to play. Based on the turn-out for a recent charity event, people from near and far are ready to play too.

At the charity fundraiser for Hamilton County Housing for Humanity (HCHH) hosted by the fronton and cardroom, guests experienced the excitement of poker playing dealt by professionals. Many enjoyed the thrill of winning as their stack of gold-wrapped bubblegum "chips" grew larger and larger. Others decided that poker was not their game and moved to the arena to watch Jai-Alai players demonstrate their skills.

Over 400 guests enjoyed a barbeque chicken supper and an unlimited bar of soft drinks and beer, donated by supporters of HCHH. The River, a band from Valdosta, Ga., also donated their time to entertain the guests.

As the evening drew to a close Glenn Richards, owner of Hamilton Jai-Alai and Poker, and HCHH President Keith Hitson thanked everyone for their support. Hitson said, "I feel that Hamilton Housing for Humanity is a great cause. It is not a free deal - it involves sweat equity. This county needs more housing and we are here to help."

Richards added, "I want to thank everyone who has helped with the housing project - friends, workers and Hamilton County."

Richards continued, "Hamilton County needs the fronton and cardroom. It will provide jobs, an increased tax base and an opportunity for growth. There will be hotels and restaurants coming in. As people move to the area, there will be a need for more housing, providing more jobs."

Jodie Richards, Marketing Director of the Jai-Alai, said, "We are thrilled that we raised more than $3,000 for Hamilton County Housing for Humanity. All the food and drinks were donated, which was a very kind thing for some of our suppliers to do. All in all, it was a fun, successful night."

According to Glenn Richards, the fronton and cardroom will open on Labor Day weekend. The cardroom is the only area of the building that is completed and the Jai-Alai court is almost finished, but work is progressing.

"It's just taking longer than we anticipated to finish," Jodie Richards said. "Rain, red-tape and other 'out-of-our-control' events have had an impact on the schedule."

When the facility located south of Jasper on US 129 opens, it will employ 132 people.

This Week's Circulars