Country star Brad Paisley, his wife actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley, chat show host Bonnie Hunt and Olympic medalist skater Scott Hamilton were among a group of VIPs that spent Monday night playing bingo at Fernie Legion after arriving in town on a train.
The group – which included a Hollywood director and other actors – had chartered the CP Rail Heritage train to celebrate the birthday of one of the guests.
After spending the day on a guided fishing trip, and having a birthday dinner on the train, they decided to join the Monday night Ghostriders Bingo, which is run by volunteers to raise money for the hockey team.
“They came in earlier on and asked if they could play later in the evening, as they had a big dinner on the train first of all,” said Linda Moulton, vice president of the Ghostriders board.
“I said we couldn’t really make everyone else wait, but if the volunteers didn’t mind, we could do an extra game for them later on.
“They came down at about 10pm and I didn’t get home until past midnight. We sang ‘Happy birthday’ to the director’s wife – because that’s what we do to anyone who comes to bingo on their birthday.
“The two hockey players who were volunteering with us that night were on cloud 49, never mind cloud nine. I said they could go home early if they wanted, but there was no way – they wanted to brag about this to all their friends.”
The group gave a donation to the Ghostriders so Moulton gave them some team merchandise and invited them to attend a hockey game if they are ever in town on a home game night.
She added: “They really had a good time, they were great people. There were a lot more faces that I recognized, but I couldn’t put names to them.”
CP spokesman Mike LoVecchio said the company does not give out details of private charters of the diesel locomotive painted in CP’s historic colors.
He said the heritage train is based in Calgary and so often travels through the Elk Valley for corporate events and occasionally for private charters.
It was used earlier this summer to raise money for the BC Children’s Wish Foundation and will also come to Sparwood and Fernie on Sunday, December 11 for CP Rail’s bi-annual Holiday Train food drive.
By Rebecca Edwards