Category Archives: Entertainment

Rib Cook-Off 2016 Entertainment Lineup Announced

Yesterday, it was my pleasure to visit local radio stations with my coworkers and announce the main stage entertainment lineup for the 28th annual Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off. Usually we aren’t able to announce the entertainment lineup until late July, so I was very excited to announce the entertainment on the last day of May. Feeling like a bit of an overachiever right now!

This year’s main stage lineup features artists from many different genres. We booked different types of acts so there is something for everyone. All shows are free and there is a fun festival vibe to be enjoyed while eating as many ribs as your heart desires.

Wednesday, August 31 – The Rocket Man Show – Elton John Tribute

I am so excited about this show! We’ve had several tribute acts at the Nugget over the last year and they are some of the most talented musicians I’ve seen. I suspect Rus Anderson’s performance will blow me away! He performs as a young Elton John in a fun tribute show with lots of energy and costumes that Elton John would be proud to wear. Wait… he was proud to wear them! He once owned these gorgeous costumes. This is going to be a high energy, fun-filled show to kick-off the event!

Thursday, September 1 – The Garage Boys

We are pleased to feature the Garage Boys at the Rib Cook-Off this year. They are a band out of Las Vegas and they have a big following in northern Nevada. They are high energy and they know how to rock. The Garage Boys will sing some of their original songs and also perform those covers that everyone loves. From the 80s to today, Classic Rock to Country, they have it covered. The crowd is going to go crazy when The Garage Boy take the stage!

Friday, September 2 – Vertical Horizon

I love the ‘90s! Who doesn’t? That is why we booked Vertical Horizon for Friday night. Vertical Horizon has released three albums. Their big hit was “Everything You Want,” which sold over two million copies. The song was the most played single of 2000. This pop rock band is incredibly talented! Vertical Horizon has several radio hits that are sure to take you back to the ‘90s Friday night at the Rib Cook-Off.

Saturday, September 3 – Jessie James Decker

About 8 years ago my dear friend Valerie introduced me to Jessie James music. Val was obsessed with the Blue Jeans song. It is a catchy tune and it gets stuck in my head every time I hear it. Since then Jessie James has gone on to release several hits. She recently married Eric Decker, the famous NFL wide receiver that plays for the New York Jets. She also stars in a popular E! reality TV show documenting her life with Eric. I really admire Jessie James! She is a savvy business woman with her own clothing and accessory line, reality show, and hit internet channel with online beauty tutorials. She believes in empowering women through her businesses. I admire her for her dedication. She has also traveled to the Middle East to visit troops stationed overseas. She has kept true to her vision and her dreams even when the record companies were trying to mold her into something else. She is a very funny, sassy, flirty, and somewhat unfiltered personality on her TV show. The crowd will fall in love with her during her first song.

Sunday, September 4 – Eddie Money

He has two tickets to paradise and by that I mean the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off. We are excited to feature the legendary music of Eddie Money. From the late ‘70s until today he has had a huge career and puts on one hell of a show. I predict the VIP Rib Village will sell out Sunday night once the word gets out that Eddie Money is the performer that night.

Monday, September 5 – The Original Wailers

This is the last day of the festival. The concert is in the early afternoon. Burners returning from Burning Man stop by to get their fill of ribs on the way home. We wanted to book an act that would be peppy, bring a happy festival vibe, and draw people from every age group as well as attract the Burning Man crowd as they head home. We found our perfect match in The Original Wailers. Their music is internationally known. The band, with Bob Marley on the microphone, sold over a billion dollars worldwide with their unique beats, memorable and touching lyrics, and amazing guitar sounds. I saw the band a few years back in Lake Tahoe and they put on a great show. I will never forget the experience of seeing them live on stage. They were fantastic! The show will be packed as we enjoy our last concert at Rib Cook-Off 2016.

The Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off will be held August 31 – September 5, 2016 in Sparks, Nevada. The six-day BBQ festival is the largest BBQ festival in the country and features a fantastic entertainment lineup. The event features approximately 40 artists on two different stages. Today we announced the entertainment for the Main Stage. We will announce the entertainment lineup for the Floor & Decor West End stage in the next few weeks. We are just fine tuning the lineup right now.  Stay tuned!

For more information or to buy tables at the VIP Rib Village please visit

Brews & Boos Beer Fest Event Recap

Inaugural events are very challenging. There are many unknown factors. It is challenging to predict attendance forecasts, correct budgeting, what other events you will be competing with, and if the event will be a success.

Brews & Boos

October 30, 2015 – Nugget Brews & Boos

Last night was the inaugural Brews & Boos Beer Fest held at the Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks, Nevada. Forty-six breweries participated in the event. Approximately 800 guests were in attendance, which is great for a first-year event. Brews & Boos was competing with some heavy hitters around town including the Kevin Hart comedy show, Thunder from Down Under, and one of Reno’s premier Halloween events the 15th annual Wild Erotic Ball.

Brews & Boos Beer Fest started at 7:00 p.m. for VIP guests and 8:00 p.m. for general admission ticket holders. Event attendees wore costumes and went from table-to-table sampling seasonal and special brews. It felt like trick-or-treating for adults. The brew teams dressed up in costume and decorated their booths. Traveler Beer Company won the People’s Choice award for best beer. Drake’s Brewing Company won the best costume award, and Alaskan Brewing Company won for best booth display. The pumpkin contest was won by Pumpkin #6, which was carved to look just like a Volkswagen. The pumpkins were carved by Nugget employees for the annual employee pumpkin carving contest.

Snake Oil Sinners put on a rockin’ show! The band played for almost two and a half hours. They played covers from AC/DC, Ozzy, Van Halen, and my bosses personal favorite Led Zeppelin. The band was fantastic! The costumes were amazing and the crowd loved them. They were so good that people thought it was the DJ and that the band hadn’t started yet. Their performance was spot on! The artists were completely in character. A few guests found out who I was and they congratulated me on booking such great talent. They were really into it! A few brewers were begging me to book a similar act for Brew HaHa, which is a charity event we host in late January.

Brews & Boos Costume Contest Finalists

Photo Credit: Nugget Casino Resort Facebook Page

The beer festival also featured a costume contest. To qualify for the first round your costume had to be so good that we caught other event attendees asking for pictures. Guests had no idea how they qualified. We had a few employees observing and secret shopping the room to find out who the best of the best were. The finalists were then brought on stage and the winner was chosen by crowd applause. It was a tough competition but the creepy clown eked out a win.

I look forward to planning the 2nd annual Brews & Boos Beer Fest next year. The event was very popular for an inaugural event and I hope to see it become a premier Halloween event that attracts both tourists and local guests. I know all those in attendance this year had a great time. Special shout out and thanks to #TeamNugget. I work with amazing people! They held a Donald Trump campaign rally the day before and were able to flip the room in time for this spooktacular event. It was a huge accomplishment! Special thanks to the Wilbur D. May Museum for letting us borrow their Halloween decorations for the event in exchange for a donation. Community partnerships like this make Reno a great place and allow us to share our resources.

Happy Halloween to all! Hope to see thousands more at Brews & Boos 2016.

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Brews & Boos Beer Festival – New Nugget Event!

Brews & Boos Beer Fest

Nugget Brews & Boos Beer Fest

Now that the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off is over I’m focused on all of the upcoming Nugget events between now and the end of the year. The newest event that I’m the most excited about is Nugget Brews & Boos Beer Festival and Costume Party being held in the Nugget Ballroom on Friday, October 30.

The event is geared toward the beer enthusiast who wants to dress up and have a great time celebrating Halloween while sampling fall and winter brews. Each guest will be able to sample all the beer they can responsibly drink and take home a hauntingly cool commemorative cup.

We are expecting between 50 and 100 breweries to participate. The brewers will get into the Halloween spirit with costumes and Halloween-themed booths. This event is going to be a lot of fun because it will feel like trick or treating for beer when attendees go booth to booth sampling all the different brews. Finally trick-or-treating geared towards adults!

There will be a costume contest where guests will compete for best-dressed. There is a prize for attendees and a prize for brewers, so expect to see some over-the-top Halloween costumes at Brews & Boos.

The fun doesn’t stop with the beer tasting. The event will feature the ultimate rock show when the Snake Oil Sinners take the stage performing everyone’s favorite big hair rock, melodic rock, metal and classic rock songs. The band will perform the best rock songs from the ‘70s to the ‘90s. The artists honor the history of rock by wearing extravagant costumes while singing the smash hits from each rock genre. This is no regular band, and you won’t want to miss a minute of their show when they perform hits from Def Leppard, Queen, Ozzy, Aerosmith, Guns & Roses, Journey and more.

Doors open at 7:00 p.m. for the VIP ticket holders and 8:00 p.m. for general admission ticket holders. The Nugget doesn’t want anyone to drink and drive so there is a special $59 Take the Elevator Home room rate. We encourage everyone who attends Brews & Boos to get home safely or just stay the night at the Nugget.

Things to know if you go…

Nugget Brews & Boos Beer Festival
Friday, October 30, 2015
Nugget Ballroom
VIP: $65 (allows guests to enter the event an hour early to have more time networking with brewers)
General Admission: $50
Doors Open: 7pm for VIP, 8pm for General Admission
Book a room by calling reservations at 775-356-3300
Buy tickets at

Craft beer is incredibly popular right now, the growth is explosive. This is a new event that we hope is a big success. We believe that local beer enthusiasts and tourists alike will enjoy this event and make it a reason to come to Reno for Halloween every year. Please help us make this event a big success by purchasing your tickets today at

Rib Cook-Off 2015 Entertainment Lineup Announced

The Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off is September 2 – September 7, 2015. The six day BBQ festival offers a wide variety of FREE live entertainment. The West End stage has about 40 bands playing throughout the event, there is a DJ in the plaza, and the Main Stage is where all the big nightly shows take place. Last week we were lucky enough to visit with our radio sponsors and announce the lineup. One of the perks of being a radio sponsor is you know who the bands are before everyone else. We announce the bands on the sponsor radio stations so they can help break the exciting news to our community.

We always have a lot of fun announcing the entertainment. Here is our radio interview with Max Volume added to a nice picture montage. We made the announcement on 5 stations, but this was the only interview we have saved in an audio file.

Want more information about the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off? Check out the website at

Rodeo Idol at Gilley’s

Rodeo Idol - April 22 at Gilley's

Image Credit: Reno Rodeo

This year the Reno Rodeo is having a competition to select National Anthem singers for the 96th annual event scheduled for June 18-27. Every night the rodeo starts with the National Anthem. Rodeo fans expect top notch singers and this year Reno Rodeo will not disappoint their fans. So far they have filled 5 spots for the anthem, now they are looking to fill the last 5 spots through Rodeo Idol singing competition.

The contest started with singers submitting video of their national anthem singing. The panel of Reno Rodeo judges selected a group of semi-finalists to be voted on by the general public. Voting is taking place right now on Facebook. The contest on Facebook runs April 1 – 15. Click here to vote if you have a Facebook account.

The top 10 contestants selected on Facebook will take the stage at Gilley’s in the Nugget on Wednesday, April 22 for the final round of judging. The contest starts at 8:00pm, but I suggest you get there early to get good seats because it is going to be packed. Each contestant will sing one cover song of their choice to warm-up and then they will sing the national anthem. Bob Richards from KBUL Nash 98.1 FM Moo Crew Mornings will be the MC for the contest. Winners will receive four tickets to the rodeo the night they perform, tickets to the sponsor lounge for dinner, and other great prizes.

The Nugget is excited to be hosting this event at Gilley’s and to be working with Reno Rodeo. Please click here to vote and we hope to see you at Gilley’s Wednesday, April 22 for Rodeo Idol!

Gilley's - Nugget Casino Resort, Sparks, NV

Image Credit: Nugget Casino Resort

Related Links:
Reno Rodeo Website
Rodeo Idol Contest Facebook Page
Gilley’s at the Nugget

Tim Snider & Jelly Bread – Celebrity Showroom Performance

Celebrity Showroom - Nugget Casino Resort

Image Credit: Nugget Casino Resort

Recently I became the Director of Entertainment. One of the fun duties that comes with this position is managing the 4-wall Celebrity Showroom rental program. We don’t always have entertainment scheduled for the Celebrity Showroom so I do my best to fill it with rentals when we have openings in the schedule. It is much better than having a dark theater.

We often rent the room to local dance groups for their recitals. Recently we worked with a group that was shooting a music video. We also work with local musicians for CD release parties, where we share the ticket sales. We basically cover our expenses and these great bands get to perform on the legendary Celebrity Showroom stage.

Saturday night we had Tim Snider and Jelly Bread (acoustic) in the house for a local show. It was fantastic! They put on the kind of show that gives you butterflies when it is over because you enjoyed their performance so much. Their sounds are completely unique and you can feel their passion for music when they play. The sound in the Celebrity Showroom is unbeatable! When they designed the room they really designed it well for shows. The room is small enough that it offers a very intimate setting and it has that classic showroom feel.

I enjoyed the Tim Snider and Jelly Bread show so much that I’m thinking about planning a special event music series sometime in the Fall. I want to put on a show that will highlight our amazing local talent. The only caveat here is that I need to find bands that are good enough and popular enough to fill 690 seats. Reno’s music scene is thriving, so I think this is going to be a great new event.

Like what you’ve seen? Subscribe to Mad About Events Blog by adding your email address to the form on the right. You’ll be the first to read about local events and get behind-scenes-stories about my life as a Special Events and Entertainment Director.

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