Southeast Wichita bingo-parlor patrons surprised by Oprah Visit

As part of a coast-to-coast road trip, media superstar Oprah Winfrey made several appearances in Wichita on Friday.

“We’re on a cross-country junket to New York for the Tonys,” Winfrey stated. Shortly afterward she excused herself, saying she had to call a bingo game.

Winfrey and gal-pal Gayle King were later spotted at Bingo Casino, 2431 E. Mount Vernon, where the two spent about an hour calling numbers and signing autographs.

Regina Edwards, who was at the hall when Winfrey arrived, said “We really didn’t recognize who it was it at first, but then there she was — Oprah — buying bingo papers just like everyone else,”

Edwards was soon joined by Shauntus Grant, who brought the couple’s three kids to meet the star. Grant brought a digital camera with him and was able to capture a few snapshots, while others made do with photos on their camera phones.

Grant said he wasn’t sure what brought the star to Wichita, but he wondered if she might be doing a cross-country segment for the show. “One time she and Gayle traveled to see where they had the best hamburgers,” he said. “Another time they did it with cake.”

Other reported Oprah sightings in the Midwest and West included a train ride in Durango, Colo.; a pit stop at a diner in Fort Smith, Ark.; and a surprise appearance at two Tulsa wedding receptions last weekend. In most cases, the star or members of her entourage said they were shooting footage for future segments on the Oprah show.

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