As most adults are heading to bed after a long day at work, Kim Cates’ job is just beginning.

For Cates—owner and manager of local nightclub Shooters II—a late night is a typical one, but she wouldn’t have it any other way.

A Durham native, Cates opened the popular nightlife spot in 1994 with her boyfriend, after working in the insurance world and as a daycare teacher. The business had a rocky start, burning down only a month after it was opened. Cates believes the club was burned down by a spurned prospective business partner, though it was not proven by a police investigation

A few months later, Cates re-opened the club at its current location on West Morgan Street, now calling it Shooters II.

Though she initially had no experience running a bar, Cates learned as she went along and soon acquired the skills that turned Shooters into the Durham hot spot it is today.

“My job is to make sure everyone is having a good time and that everything goes as smoothly as possible,” she said.

For many students, Shooters is a nightlife staple. A particularly successful night, depending on your definition of the "successful," will end with the trifecta—otherwise known as dancing on the bar, dancing in the cage elevated above the dance floor and riding the bar's mechanical bull.

Although the success of Cates’ business centers around partying, her work isn’t all fun and games. A typical night's responsibilities for her include overseeing the bars and entrances, as well as watching out for customers stealing or being too rowdy. During the daytime when most customers are sleeping off their hangovers, Cates supervises the club’s upkeep and monitors orders coming in.

She said that her favorite part of her job is getting to know Duke students. It’s hard for her to see classes graduate and move away from the area, but she keeps in touch with many students through Facebook, phone calls and texting, she said.

“Every group is special in their own way, and every individual is special,” she said.

Cates sees Shooters as specifically geared towards serving Duke students—noting that it’s the only true nightclub in Durham, which sets it apart from other locations that mainly operate just as bars.

This past year, Cates—the self-described number one Duke fan—was able to get to know the varsity men’s basketball players, frequent visitors of the club, better than she has in the past. She said that the players this year were particularly friendly and enjoyable.

Despite her close relationship with students, they still present their fair share of problems for her.

“Sometimes I have to get on to them when they take something of mine or I’ll catch them drinking [underage]” she said.

Cates said she typically deals with the underage drinking issues by sending the offenders home.

Many items have been stolen from Shooters—including, most surprisingly, a large metal sign by the bathrooms in the back. Cates said she has no idea how it was removed and taken out of the club. Additionally, students have busted urinals, torn down paper towel dispensers in the bathroom and broken mirrors on the dance floor.

Cates added that she tries to do the best she can for the students but doesn’t allow them to walk all over her.

“I’m going to remember you a lot faster when you do something wrong, and I’ll remember you for the next four years,” she said.

Considering that much of Duke nightlife centers around Shooters, this is a daunting threat.

Cates said, however, that most students are respectful, noting that she encounters more problems from locals who come in. These people aren’t as happy-go-lucky as students and are often unaccustomed to having drinks spilled on them or being bumped by other people, she explained. For this reason, Shooters is only open to students on Wednesday nights—the club’s most popular day of the week, along with Saturdays.

The origins of Wednesday night Shooters’ popularity among students—referred to as WNS by those—is unknown to Cates, but she said that it started years ago with only about 10 regular students, eventually growing into the crowd it is today.

Despite the problems, Cates said that aspects of the job are humorous, including the items left by students after a night of partying. These range from objects one would expect—wallets, keys and cell phones—to items that seem hard to forget, like shoes and pants. She finds many DukeCards in between the mats of the mechanical bull as well, she said.

“You name it, we’ve found it left here,” she said.

For someone whose job entails dealing with drunken customers, Cates has a surprisingly pleasant outlook on her work. It seems there is nothing she hasn’t encountered before in her 20 years experience and no problem that she can’t handle.

Although her work is overwhelming at times, she said, she couldn’t imagine any other job being more enjoyable.

“Having a job you enjoy has to be the best thing in the world,” she said.