Vikingo Gaining Popularity In The Lakes Area

When Zeke Fuhrman of Leighton Broadcasting was brainstorming promotional ideas with a local Mexican restaurant four years ago, he had no idea it would evolve into what it has.

“It has absolutely blown up. It’s been amazing to see it grow. People are nuts for it.”

Vikingo, the bingo-style game that features Vikings players instead of traditional numbers, has developed a cult following in the Detroit Lakes and surrounding communities. Listeners to local Leighton Broadcasting stations fill up bars and restaurants everywhere from Callaway to Battle Lake.

And the fact that players have the opportunity to win Minnesota Vikings tickets doesn’t hurt.

Zeke first developed the concept of Vikingo during a summer Leighton Broadcasting promotion in 2013. He decided to play Mexican bingo, called Loteria.

“We had about 20 people show up for Loteria that night.” Zeke recalls. “It was a complete flop. I remember we gave away a really nice fire pit set as the grand prize that night. If you showed up, you had about one in 20 chance to win it.”

Not so much anymore. Vikingo, which is adapted from Loteria, can draw over 200 people to local establishments to play the game. Business owners are having to pull out tables from the back to seat everybody, the kitchen and bar stay consistently busy, and most importantly people are having fun.

A full house for Vikingo at Third Crossing Bar and Grill in Frazee

“The very first draft of Vikingo actually used Minnesota Twins players and baseball cards. We decided to use Vikings players instead. I don’t remember who came up with the name Vikingo.”

Vikingo, which combines Vikings and Bingo, is played on a 4x4 card instead of a 5x5. Like Loteria, it is also played with a deck of cards instead of balls pulled out of a tumbler. Each Loteria card has a picture and a number. There are 54 player cards in the Vikingo deck featuring legends from each generation of Vikings football.

“We changed La Luna and El Gallo to Adam Thielen and Fran Tarkenton and voila. This year’s game is actually the third edition of Vikingo that I’ve made. There have been minor changes to the game every year, but I think this time we got it just right. The previous two years we have used all current players, but this year we added a lot of Vikings legends and Hall of Famers. It’s fun to see the reactions you get when you pull an early guy like Boom Boom Brown, Grady Alderman or Wally Hilgenberg. A lot of pepole remember growing up watching and listening to guys like that play at the Met.”

Players get a Vikingo by having four players in a row either up, down or diagonal. Vikingo also plays with Four Corners and Postage Stamp. Each round can have multiple winners.

“More winners means more people are having fun.”

Near the end of the night, usually after the prize table is empty, players will play Blackout Vikingo for a pair of tickets to an upcoming Vikings game at US Bank Stadium. In the event of a Blackout Tie, all tying players play sudden death blackout for the tickets.“

That’s when it gets really fun. My hands are pretty sweaty, my heart is racing. We’ve had people tie on the Sudden Death and have to go to Double Overtime. It’s intense.”

(L to R) Marty Hembre, Zeke Fuhrman and Tim Roberts (who won a pair of tickets to Vikings vs Baltimore Oct 19 at the Holiday Inn)

The very first Vikingo party was held at the Shorewood Pub during the Purple Cruiser Giveaway Party on Super Bowl Sunday in February 2015. Since then, Vikingo, has gone on all the Lakes Area including stops at the Callaway Liquor Store, the Ice Cracking Lodge in Ponsord, the Holiday Inn Beach Bar and Grill in Detroit Lakes, Third Crossing Bar and Grill and the VFW in Frazee, and the DougOut Bar and Grill in Dent and will make stops at Hooligans Lakeside in Lake Park and the Shoreline Bar and Bowl in Battle Lake later this month.

“We’re also going to expand Vikingo down to our sister stations in Winona. It’ll be interesting with all the Packer fans across the river down there.”

Because Vikingo is so popular, the only way to get an invite is to “qualify”. You can get qualified by listening to 102.3 KRCQ, The Lakes 99.5, Wave 104.1 and 93.1 FM or AM 1340 Classic Hits KDLM. The stations also register qualifiers on their Facebook pages, or you can register at the location of the party.

“Hosting Vikingo is a lot of fun. It lets me mingle with Vikings fans, hear great stories from people, and nothing feels better than giving away Vikings tickets or a Vikings car. I, personally, have never been to a Vikings game. I hope that one day one of the winners takes me along.”

If your business is interested in hosting a Leighton Broadcasting Vikingo party, contact the station at 847-5624 or e-mail the office at

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