By Franklin Fisher

CAMP CASEY, South Korea -- If you are, ever have been, or want to be a pirate of the Caribbean, you should find things shipshape and a fair wind running next time you clamber over the gunwales of the Camp Casey bowling center.

Aye, matey. That's because workers have begun a renovation that calls for turning the interior into a pirate-themed fun place not only for Soldiers and hardcore bowlers but for families and youngsters too.

Work is slated to finish next March at the center, building 3014, and it should reopen to customers about two weeks later, said officials of the U.S. Army Garrison Red Cloud and Area I. It closed Sept. 30 so work could proceed.

Meanwhile, all bowling tournaments will be held at the Camp Red Cloud bowling alley, and Casey's regulars are being encouraged to bowl there or at Camp Hovey's bowling center.

In deciding on a pirate theme for the Casey renovation, officials are aiming to make it a place that will not only draw the traditional Soldier and adult customer base, but one where parents can be comfortable bringing their kids, said David Roudybush, chief of business operations with the USAG Red Cloud and Area I's Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.

"We have to balance having a place where Soldiers can go and feel comfortable, and at the same time where families can go and be comfortable," he said.

"We're theming it as a pirate's cove -- almost a Pirates of the Caribbean theme -- because we know that's popular with both children and adults," Roudybush said.

"So during the daytime we can do the more kiddish-type pirate stuff -- the Captain Hook, Peter Pan," he said. "And during the evening we can go more toward the Pirates of the Caribbean, Captain Jack Sparrow theme," he said.

The entrance will be modeled after the deck of a pirate ship, replete with plank flooring and ship's masts, said Roudybush.

To one side of the bowling area -- the port side to veteran seafarers -- will be a mural depicting a pirate ship with its cannons firing. To the other side -- that would be the starboard -- a mural will show a castle on a cliff.

Between them, the lanes themselves will be made to look like water.

They'll get that effect through use of lighting combined with a special overlay on flooring of the bowling lanes themselves.

The staff will wear pirate-themed outfits, Roudybush said.

"You can't have a pirate's cove without pirates," he said.

But the pirate motif isn't the only big change planned.

For those shipmates who want to drink their grog at the bar, play Texas Hold 'Em poker or hit the slot machines, the bowling center will provide them an area of their own.

A pirate will have to be at least 18 to enter that part of the ship, he said.

"We're still working on the term but it's sort of like the 'smuggler's cave,' something to do with the more adult theme," Roudybush said. "It's where the feisty pirates go," Roudybush said.
The other big addition will be a separate TV-theater room with a big flat-screen monitor and X-box.

It'll be open to all customers, but units or families can reserve it for watching a movie or even for small children's parties, Roudybush said.

"We can put a single movie in and all the children can go in and watch that," he said. "We wanted to offer something more than just bowling."

In addition, the entire bowling center will have Wi-Fi.

By aiming for an atmosphere that's inviting to both Soldiers and family members, the center's treasure chest will probably see an increase in gold doubloons and pieces of eight.

"We are projecting that our daytime business will increase substantially," Roudybush said. "We anticipate to get more of the school-age children coming in while they're waiting for the military spouse or the working spouse to get off work as well."

And the bar will likely draw more customers in the evenings, he said.

To keep Warrior Country bowling robust while the Casey center's renovated, DFMWR has moved the Casey Lanes manager, Gerald Keener, to the Camp Red Cloud bowling center. There, he'll oversee bowling tournaments as he has at Casey. And he'll mount the same entertainment-oriented special programs that Casey customers are familiar with.

"He'll bring that, with his fun-loving personality, down to CRC," Roudybush said of Keener, who's known by the nickname "Fish."

The Red Cloud center's hours are Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. -- 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. -- 2 a.m.

Once the Casey bowling center reopens, patrons there will be asked to please check their cutlasses and blunderbusses at the door… Just kidding, Matey.