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Rouzer-Dome not your typical sports bar

March 02, 2000

Rouzer-DomeBy RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer




WAYNESBORO, Pa. - There's the Astrodome, the Kingdome, the Skydome and now, at Blondie's sports bar in Rouzerville, the Rouzer-Dome.

The "dome" is a 1,600-square-foot retractable ceiling that can be opened year-round for horseshoe pitchers, volleyball players and, on starlit nights, disco dancers.

The Rouzer-Dome is the invention of Robert Backer, former vice president of engineering at Grove Worldwide. Backer calls himself director of activities at Blondie's, which he and his family have owned for 17 years on Old Route 16. The place is named after the comic-strip character.

The retractable roof is part of a 5,000 square-foot, two-story expansion Backer built last year. Soon-to-be-added activities under the Rouzer-Dome will be mechanical bull riding, wrestling and miniature football.

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The horseshoe pitching is the noisiest, especially when the heavy metal shoes bounce off, ring the pole or miss the clay pit completely and slam into the walls behind them. There are two horseshoe pits under the dome, both of which are covered with tables when the dancing starts.

Backer designed the floor under the dome with a rubber covering and central drain to take rain, snow, sleet and hail when hit the roof is open in foul weather. The sides of the sliding roof serve as solar panels that help heat the building.

"I wanted to bring the outdoors indoors and use Mother Nature as much as possible," Backer said

A door on the west side opens so large equipment - band gear, for instance - can be hoisted to the second floor by forklift.

Backer cringes when Blondie's is called a sports bar.

Typical sports bars have televisions on every wall and patrons sit and watch them and drink, he said. "Mine is an active sports bar. My customers participate in sports here," he said.

Up to 50 people are involved in the weekly horseshoe tournaments, he said. "Horseshoes is big around here, but there was no place to play in the winter."

Dave McBride, a local horseshoe enthusiast, said the indoor pits provide him and his buddies a place to play year-round. "We play tournaments every week. I like to play every chance I get," he said as he pitched a ringer. He said the tournaments keep the players in shape all year.

Backer said Blondie's also sponsors a golf league in Rouzerville, a dart league, and several area car racing drivers in a competition called the Rouzer Cup.

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