Return to Las Vegas

For the seventh time since 2003, I ventured to Las Vegas, this time for the NAB Show (National Association of Broadcasters) at the Las Vegas Convention Center. I was hardly the first choice to go to the show, but after a series of events I was added to the exhibitor staff and flew out to Vegas early Monday morning. The rest of the crew went out Sunday, so I missed out on booth setup, easily the most annoying part of any show! I touched down at McCarran Airport around 8:30am, got in a cab, and was to our booth well before the show started at 9.

As you probably know, our company does disc duplication and printing and stuff like that. The technology has barely changed at all in the time I’ve been there, but you would never know it by the response at the show. Apparently we did quite well, possibly because of the location of our booth between the AccuWeather girl and a booth where a woman was getting a tattoo on her butt live in front of a large crowd. Either way, everyone seemed very satisfied with our sales leads in the four days on the show floor.

Of course the best part of being able to attend these shows is the dinners, drinks, and fun on the company dime. Monday after the show we went out to Gonzalez y Gonzalez at New York New York and did a little gambling at our hotel, Harrah’s. I won $18 playing roulette and slowly piddled away my winnings the rest of the week, but still left town up a few bucks.

Tuesday night we took a new Japanese business partner out for dinner at the Top of the World revolving restaurant at the Stratosphere, and after dinner a few of us did the Big Shot ride on top of the building. Tuesday was our one big night out on the town with drinks flowing till the wee hours. We hit up the Rhumbar, Cleopatra, and a few other spots before stopping at Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall and Saloon where they had something for everyone–karaoke for me and craps for the others. I tipped my way to the front of the singing line and performed a dazzling rendition of Meat Loaf’s “All Revved Up with No Place to Go” at 1:30am. At 2:30, I was bored watching the guys at the craps table and abandoned them and went to bed. I heard they didn’t get back to the hotel till 6:30, and then were up again at 7:45 for breakfast.

Wednesday night we met up with some customers at Todd English P.U.B. at the City Center, where I was once again a dinnertime sideshow with my gigantic 1/2 yard beer. Everyone loved the appetizers but few were thrilled with the main courses. I wowed the table with my sports trivia knowledge, somehow correctly answering questions about the New York Islanders front office personnel. Everyone went pretty much straight to bed that night, having gone all day on basically zero sleep.

Thursday, the show ended at 2 and we took down the booth and were back to Harrah’s by 3. The rest of the company went to a high-speed go-kart track, but I stayed behind and met up with old friend Dusty Hovde for a large number of drinks. Several hours later we reunited with the company and went back out on the town. When Dusty left to go home, I split up from the company again and took a $17 cab ride down to the World Pinball Hall of Fame and Museum. While I certainly was interested in playing the 250+ classic games, I was mostly there to make pinball enthusiast Jeff LaPlant jealous.

And now I’m back. From 80’s and sun to 40’s and snow, it is quite the disappointment to come back to. But I was happy to see Lauren and sleep in a familiar bed and celebrate my return with a trip to Biryani for dinner. Here are some pictures from the trip (straight from my camera, no chance to edit from home).

Dan Lahti and Aaron Pratt, Microboards booth at NAB Show
The company booth on the first morning of the show, ready for action!The view from a customer's suite on the top floor of NYNY.
The Strip, Las Vegas
The view from a customer's suite on the top floor of NYNY.
Caesar's Palace, Las Vegas
Mitch, me, Inui-san, and Brian at Caesar's Palace
Craps at Bill's Gamblin Hall
Mitch and Brian teach Inui-san the game of craps at Bill's Gamblin' Hall. All won big money!
Meeting up with Dusty Hovde at Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill, Las Vegas
Dusty Hovde and I met up for a few drinks.
Mitch Ackmann, Brian Towey, Ryan Bartholic, Dusty Hovde
The Big 4, united at last! That's the company president, our sales manager, a customer, and Dusty enjoying a cocktail.
Pinball Hall of Fame, Las Vegas
A sampling of a few games at the Pinball Hall of Fame.
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