Sunday, December 04, 2005

Cowboys, showgirls and livestock.

I have returned from the city of Lost Wages with little permanent damage. While the rest of nor-cal was being drenched in rain my wife and I were taking in some of the sights in the sunshine of the southern Nevada.

Vegas has a little bit something for everyone and the casinos and retailers market to whoever is in town. When NASCAR is in town, its all about the race fans, when the NFR blows in for 10 days, its rodeo time. There must be a large convention or show every week, and the casinos target every one of them.

We arrived on Wednesday night and checked into our hotel. The rates are great during the week, then quadruple on Friday and Saturday night. We found several western retail events while we were there. Cowboy Christmas at the convention center and several more at various casinos. We also found good seats for the rodeo opening night.

The Thomas and Mack Center at UNVL is about the same size as Arco Arena and its a great place for the NFR. The rodeo was fantastic, the best cowboys, the best bucking horses and bulls in the world converge on sin city for ten nights of action to decide the world championship in seven events, plus the world all around champion cowboy. After watching the rodeo, we went over to the Gold Coast Casino for the award ceremony at 11:00. It was great to see that nights winners get their buckles and most had their families with them. Rodeo is one of the only sports where you can watch your favorite athlete compete that night, then play blackjack with him.

Most of the young guys on the rodeo tour love Vegas. Coming from Montana or Texas, Vegas is like wonderland to a 21 year old kid with money in his pockets. On the plane ride home we started talking to the folks in front of us who watched the rodeo on the big screen at the casino. They were so impressed by the cowboy's athletic talent and the beating they take for the relatively small amount of money they compete for. The world champion bull rider this year will win in the neighborhood of $250,000 dollars. That is nothing to sneeze at, but it almost the same as Craig Stadler won this year on the PGA tour. I love 'the walrus', but he played in SIX tournaments this year chasing a little white ball around a beautiful golf course.

My wife and I had a great time in Vegas and may go back for the NFR in a few years, but like she said on the flight home, its like Disneyland, once every few years is plenty.

No comments: