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Wild Bill's refurbishing Sportsman's Lounge

Wild Bill's Bar and Billiards is opening in that spot that once called Sportsman's Lounge, in downtown Mason City, home. 

Thornton-resident Bill Hicok is launching the bar on June 1.

There's a first time for everything.

In the case of Bill Hicok, an IT manager of eight years who lives in Thornton, taking over what was once Sportsman's Lounge will be his first time owning and operating a bar.

The former Sportsman's Lounge will bear the name Wild Bill's Bar & Billiards when the location at 217 N. Federal Ave., in Mason City reopens on June 1, the name at least a partial tip of the cap to the similarity in Hicok's name to the renowned Old West gunslinger Wild Bill Hickok.

Hicok, the non-Deadwood resident, always had thoughts about pursuing a venture such as this and was constantly involved in the pool leagues hosted by Sportsman's Lounge where he was friends with former owner Rob Mulert. 

When Mulert, whose family had owned the space for 40-plus years, decided to sell, Hicok went for it. 

And while Wild Bill's has painting and re-carpeting going on, Hicok said that he wants to keep certain aspects of the space. 

In fact, most of those interior changes are being done to match the pool area that Mulert updated several years back.

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Hicok said there are plans to add outdoor seating and fix up the building space's facade but some of those are agenda items for the city to weigh in on.

In addition, Hicok's adding hours for Sunday afternoons. In the past, Sportsman's Lounge was closed then.

Besides offering a quiet, relaxing place to come after work, Hicok wants to amplify the reputation of that spot as a place for good pool players to shoot.

"We want more people from the area in state billiards competitions," Hicok said. 

As a goal: Hicok hopes to see players from the Mason City-area eventually at the annual Iowa State Poolplayer's Association tournament at HyVee Hall in Des Moines.

Until that time, Hicok's focusing on that June 1 opening which will have music from Mason City artist Levi Smith.

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