KINGMAN - Hundreds of job-seekers lined up in front of Cerbat Lanes bowling alley Wednesday morning, waiting to be admitted to the first in a 12-week series of job fairs designed to help get Kingman's 10-percent unemployed back to work.
The event was as much a community event as it was a testament to the current economic situation, with job-seekers showing up as early as 5:30 a.m. to get a shot at finding work.
By the time doors opened at 9:30, the line out front stretched all the way to Stockton Hill Road.
"We have a tremendous amount of job offers in here," said one event coordinator, Parisha Taylor, who manned the front door as job-seekers headed to the registration tables for nametags. "We believe everyone here today can walk out of here with a job."
"I'm blown away," said Cerbat Lanes' Director of Marketing and Operations Jason "It almost leaves you speechless. How better do you support a community than to open your doors and say, we're going to help you find a job and have some fun?"
Within 45 minutes, all 300 of the event's registration cards had been snatched up, with assistant manager Yvonne Davis and her staff scrambling to print up replacements as job-seekers kept flowing in.
"It's been very smooth, everyone's very polite," Davis said. "It's everything we wanted and more."
Davis noted that many of the employers present, including The Home Depot and the U.S. Census Department, were hiring as of that day, and she was hopeful that as many as 120 job-seekers would find work directly as a result Wednesday's job fair.
"Even if they don't find what they wanted today, we'll have different employers in each week," she said. "My goal is 120 today, because that's what's been pledged."
Terry O'Hara was one of the attendees looking for work. A former director for CTI Trucking, O'Hara said he had lost his job nearly two years ago and hasn't been able to find one since. "Every place I go, I'm told I'm overqualified, overeducated," he said.
"I've been in trucking all my life, it's all I've ever known, but managing is managing. I just want to work."
O'Hara said he has submitted hundreds of resumes since he lost his job, with no takers yet. Based on that past experience, he was unsure whether the job fair might be able to help him. "I always have hope," he said.
Dean Trammel was another job-seeker attending Wednesday's event. Trammel left fairly early on after obtaining a sheet of job listings from the Department of Economic Security he said he would look over at home.
"This is just too much of a zoo," he said, referring to the crowd.
Out of work for the last 15 months, Trammel said he had been a power plant mechanic in Laughlin before being laid off. Prior to that, he said, he had been a truck driver and trackman for Burlington Northern Santa Fe.
"I've got my house paid for here, and that's what's kept me from being out on the street," Trammel said. "I've had to sell guns just to put beans on the table."
Trammel said he decided to leave the event early since he had already filed applications with most of the attending businesses weeks earlier and had yet to hear back from them. He added that he was most interested in getting back into local truck driving.
"I'll reregister next Wednesday and see who shows up," he said.