BY DINT OF THE MINT: Recalling the Vegas race from which Hunter S. Thompson became permanently linked to the mythos of Las Vegas
Del Webb and his crew at the Mint just wanted people to come to his casino’s deer hunt in 1967. What they opened the way for was: A) One of the most famous pieces of journalism in American letters;
B) With Hunter S. Thompson’s iconic opening line, “We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold,” generations of bad tattoos and bland Twitter bios.
The story that eventually landed in Rolling Stone as “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” had a fundamentally weird start. Webb’s Mint Las Vegas procured a dune buggy to hand out as the top prize for its deer hunt (and if you ever wondered just how different Vegas was 50 years ago, that should tell you everything).
VEGAS OUTLAWS’ X-CELLENT ADVENTURE: On the cusp of the league’s return (minus Vegas) this month, remembering our XFL debut
Super Bowl XXXV ended around about 10 minutes to 7 in Las Vegas on the night of Jan. 28, 2001, as the Ray Lewis-led Baltimore Ravens slowly smothered the New York Giants over the course of three-plus hours at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium.
THEY JUMPED (FOR OUR LOVE): Over the years, daredevils have been drawn to Vegas for New Year’s Eve stunts, with mixed results
Boxing. Mixed martial arts. Desert rally racing. Wildly ill-advised motorcycle jumps over notable civic landmarks. Don’t let anyone ever say that Las Vegas doesn’t own its weird sports niches — some staged as New Year’s Eve stunt spectaculars.
Evel Knievel, of course, got the ball (and the bike, and several bones) rolling in 1967 with his New Year’s Eve jump over the Caesars Palace fountains that ended spectacularly poorly if you’re a stunt cyclist, but fantastic if you’re a TV producer. The allure of horsepower-plus-hang time-plus-Las Vegas would prove irresistible over the years, with Gary Wells trying (and failing) to conquer the Caesars fountains in September 1980 and Knievel’s son, Robbie, exorcising the fountains in April 1989 with a 170-footer that stuck the landing his father couldn’t.
And on New Year’s Eve 2008, things got weird.