ANDALUSIA, AL (WSFA) - It started off as a simple idea 36 years ago. "It actually started in 1976," said tournament organizer Dr. Charles Tomberlin. "It was a bicentennial project, where the city wanted the rotary club to come up with and event to help celebrate the bicentennial." The idea, lets get some folks together to play a simple game. It's a game for adults and kids, for the pros and beginners. It had a domino effect that nobody in Andalusia, Alabama expected.
So many people showed up for the Andalusia World Domino Championship, they decided to do it for a second year. And the dominos fell, year after year, it got bigger and better. "It's kind of like a homecoming. Folks from all over the country come back to see each other, and you can win some good money, $4,000 to $5,000."
It's for the best players in the country and the local guys who want to go up against the best. "All I can tell you is dominos is a lot cheaper than playing golf," said former Covington Co. Sheriff and domino lover Don Harrell.
In the past celebrity coaches and TV personalities joined in the fun. I was common to see Alabama coach Bear Bryant playing during the tournament. "Every hotel room in the county is booked," said Dr. Tomberlin. "When coach Bryant was here, we'd have more than 1,000 players."
Along with all the fun, the tournament also makes a difference in the community. The rotary club uses the annual event to raise money for local charities.