Boyd Gaming Celebrates the “China Lights Lantern Festival”

This morning, the Sichuan Tianyu Culture Communication Co., Ltd., and Boyd Gaming unveiled a spectacular, handcrafted, larger-than-life, purple Kylin Lantern at the Gold Coast Hotel and Casino to preview the upcoming China Lights lantern festival coming to Craig Ranch Regional Park in North Las Vegas from Jan. 19 through Feb. 25. Created by Chinese artisans, the lantern stands at six feet tall and illuminated with more than 100 LED light bulbs.


When they unveiled the Kylin Lantern, it had to be one of the prettiest, brightest, neatest cloth covered sculpture this reporter had seen in a long time. And, this was just one of many that are on display at all Boyd properties. Can’t wait for the media night at the festival, where they will have some 40 such sculptures (made from special cloth, a metal frame, and lights).

Ping Pang Pong

After photos and the speeches, we were treated to a wonderful luncheon inside the Ping Pang Pong restaurant. Let me tell ya, gang, that is really a special treat: They have some sauces that are not normally available at local Chinese restaurants. And, they go out of their way to accommodate a person who may be allergic to shell fish, etc.  You just need to let them know and they’ll put together a super plate just for you. Now that’s what I call old-time service.


Guest speakers included Huiyuan Liu, Sichuan Tianyu Culture Communication Co. Ltd. event manager, and David Strow, vice president of corporate communications at Boyd Gaming.

“In traditional Chinese Feng Shui, the Kylin is said to bring wealth and treasure, so we thought it would be fitting to showcase this lantern in the Gold Coast Casino,” said Liu. “We hope China Lights’ beautiful lanterns, art exhibits, cooking demonstrations, and stage performances become a part of the annual Chinese New Year celebration, and allow all visitors to learn about Chinese traditions and raise cultural awareness.”


China Lights Las Vegas at Craig Ranch Regional Park

China Lights is a cultural festival that features more than 40 displays made with more than 1,000 sculptural components created on-site by Chinese artisans. The month-long exhibit also features nightly stage performances highlighting various Chinese entertainment, cultural displays and video presentations, and Asian and American food offerings. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit


In addition to the larger-than-life sized Kylin lantern which is now on display at the Gold Coast Hotel and Casino, other Boyd Gaming properties including Aliante Casino + Hotel + Spa, Cannery Casino Hotel, Suncoast Hotel and Casino, The Orleans Hotel and Casino,  Eastside Cannery Casino and hotel, Sam’s Town Las Vegas Hotel and Gambling Hall, and California Hotel and Casino will be home to smaller intricate and unique lanterns for guests to preview starting next week before the upcoming festival.


“Over the years, Boyd Gaming has cultivated many friendships within the local Asian community,” said Strow.  “We’re excited to say thank you in a very tangible way by supporting the inaugural year of the China Lights lantern festival. We encourage everyone to visit Craig Ranch and celebrate the wonderful traditions and artistry showcased throughout this holiday.”
Tickets for the festival are now on sale and available at  Boyd room and ticket packages are also available for BConnected card holders through




Mint 400, 2018

Start/Finish VIP Hospitality Passes for the 2018 BFGoodrich Tires Mint 400, which will be celebrating the 50th Anniversary of its first official off-road race in the United States, is scheduled for March 7-11, 2018, and are now available for purchase exclusively through The Dirt Co.


Take in panoramic views of racers screaming through the brand new short course style in-field, the infamous Primm “dyke jump”, and a massive tabletop “flying finish”.  Off-road fans will unite to watch The Great American Off-Road Race and sip on complimentary craft and domestic beer offerings, wine and cocktails at an open bar and enjoy food prepared by Michelin Star Chef, Drew Deckman.  Breakfast, lunch, and dinner is included, and Mint 400 VIP’s will have access to shaded seating, air-conditioned restrooms, phone charging stations and receive a 2018 merchandise package.

The Mint 400 VIP package includes: Access to the Race Day Start/Finish VIP Hospitality Skybox, Exclusive spectating area in Primm, Breakfast, lunch & dinner prepared by Michelin Star Chef, Drew Deckman, Craft & domestic beer, wine and alcohol at an exclusive open bar, Shaded seating, Air-conditioned rest rooms, Phone charging stations, and a 2018 Mint 400 merchandise package

Bottom line, the VIP Skybox is the best way to experience The Mint 400.  Go to the Mint 400 official Facebook page to order your VIP credentials.



House of Blues Music Forward Foundation’s, “Bringing Down the House gives rising young musicians the opportunity of a lifetime. Starting Jan. 8, local teen artists and bands are invited to apply for “Bringing Down the House,” a free multi-week program that connects young artists to music industry insiders to build self-confidence, develop new skills, and bring crowds to their feet.


“Music Forward has access to some of the greatest minds in the music industry, and we connect them directly with the next generation of artists,” said Laura Clark, Music Forward National Director of Programs. “We give young people a chance to shine, one standing ovation at a time.”

The program is an emerging artist incubator where local teen artists and bands participate in a series of workshops on topics including music as a business, music marketing, stage presence, and live production. The participants demonstrate their new knowledge by promoting and performing in a free live music showcase in May 2018 at House of Blues Las Vegas.


Like all Music Forward programs, “Bringing Down the House” is designed to increase access and economic opportunity for young people, helping them to transform their passion for music into a profession. “Our band has learned so many things about touring, music production, and how to create a song…now we have the essentials to make it in the music industry,” said alumni Solomon N’iya. Another program alumni added, “These skills give me the opportunity to contribute to the cultural economy and community of my hometown, New Orleans.”

Teen artists and bands ages 13-19 are encouraged to apply online Jan. 8 to Feb. 11, 2018.Bringing Down the House” is currently recruiting applicants in Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and New Orleans. Applications are reviewed by professional talent buyers from Live Nation and six lucky acts will be selected to participate in the workshops and showcases during spring 2018.  To learn more about the program, apply to participate, volunteer, or sponsor, please visit:


The O’Jays

Tickets are on sale now for The O’Jays in concert on Saturday, Jan. 13 at the Star of the Desert Arena in Primm. Guests will enjoy soulful classics from the Grammy Hall of Fame inductees including “Love Train,” “Back Stabbers,” “For the Love of Money,” and “I Love Music.” Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show begins at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $20.

Formed in Canton, Ohio in 1958, The O’Jays had a steady rise to fame as a preeminent soul group. Originally a group of five members, The O’Jays are now a spirited trio consisting of original members Eddie Levert and Walter Williams with Eric Grant joining in 1995.  At the height of their career, The O’Jays achieved platinum selling success with the release of the 1972 singles, “Back Stabbers, “and “Love Train.” They earned two NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Group and the Hall of Fame Award in 1992, the Soul Train Music Quincy Jones Award for Career Achievement in 2002 and a BET Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009. The O’Jays continue to perform their classic hits for sold out crowds with their signature color-coordinated style and choreographed dance moves.


“We couldn’t be more excited to go down memory lane with The O’Jays performance at the Star of the Desert Arena,” said Shana Gerety, vice president of marketing at Primm Valley Casino Resorts. “This will be a packed show with lots of energy that concert-goers will never forget.”

For tickets, visit or call the Star of the Desert Arena Box Office at 702.386.7867. Box office hours of operation are Tuesday to Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.


Steve Mikkelson

Rampart Casino just hit a home run as they welcomed their newest player to the team – Steve Mikkelson as Race & Sports Director. Mikkelson will be overseeing the daily operations of The Race & Sports Book.


We’re very excited to have Steve Mikkelson oversee race and sports operations,” says general manager Michael Gaughan Jr. “He has a wealth of knowledge in both race and sports, is truly passionate about his career, and we’re looking forward too many memorable moments with Steve on our team.”


Hailing from the cool winds of Moline, Illinois, Mikkelson acquired his interest in sports as a young boy and would often be found at his parents’ bowling alley scoring strike after strike and avoiding the gutters. At the age of 14, Mikkelson and his family packed up their belongings and ventured to the warmer winds of Sparks, Nevada, where he attended high school before travelling to southern California for college. Mikkelson attended San Diego State University before transferring to University of Nevada, Reno. During his time there, he often pondered about working in the gaming industry and how he can contribute his knowledge of race and sports to those who share similar interests.

Once Mikkelson turned 21, he scored his first sportsbook position at the Bally’s Casino in Reno, Nevada. After working at Bally’s Casino for more than 20 years, Mikkelson transferred to the sportsbook at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa in Reno. Mikkelson has now ventured south to tackle his newest adventure as the Race & Sports Director at the recently renovated Race & Sports Book inside the Rampart Casino, where he is eager to share his knowledge with his fellow coworkers and patrons. Twice a week, Mikkelson is a special correspondent on the Rob, Anybody, & Dawn in The Morning Show on Rad Radio.


Mikkelson attributes his passion for race and sports from the likes of local sport directors Chris Andrews, John Avello, and Chuck Esposito. Aside from his love for his career, he also shares a love for dogs with his Golden Retriever Cheyenne and his two Labradors Reilly and Nico.


Well, gang, that’s about it for this chat.  How was your New Year? Hopefully 2018 will be a great year for you.  

I’m outa here!

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