Article & Photos by Nick Hill
Vegas isn’t a stranger to high stakes, hot chicks, cold beer and warm weather which is why it’s the perfect place to host the final round of the Monster Energy Supercross. I was excited to witness what perhaps was the end of the most exciting and unpredictable season to date and the crowning of first time champion Ryan Villopoto. The weekend was exciting and might be one of the better times I’ve ever had in Vegas. Here is my adventure…
My friend Kyle and I set off to Vegas Friday morning. Since we are both virtually unemployed we decided on a $200 budget for the weekend with high hopes of avoiding the ATM and all the other expensive temptations that Vegas had to offer. We arrived at the Excalibur around noon and after tipping the valet, Arby’s and a tank of gas I was only down $37.50.
We unpacked our bags in a room overlooking a pool filled with mayhem and booze. Right then it hit me, I had forgotten my swim shorts and I wasn’t pleased since a $40 pair of shorts would clearly send me over my budget. Lucky for me there was an abundant supply of Bud Light to drown my sorrows in just minutes away at the hotel bar. I planned to use my method of slow playing the poker machine while milking the bar for free drinks. With this I figured I could stay under my $200 weekend budget.
Kyle and I sat at the bar to wait for Sandro and Alex of Galfer. I tossed $20 into the poker machine and asked for a drink. The bartender informed me that I had to have a minimum of $20 in the machine and bet $1 a hand in order to take advantage of the free drink policy. No problem, I am good at video poker and can stretch $20 for at least an hour. Kyle on the other hand wasn’t so lucky. After listening to my “fool proof” way to beat the roulette wheel he ended up losing about $100 within the first fifteen minutes. He was bummed and I was happy I wasn’t him. I actually turned my $20 into $75 which infuriated Kyle. It was then he informed me that he wouldn’t be splitting the gas bill with me.
Sandro and Alex finally showed up for some drinks more slots before one hell of a dinner at the casinos buffet before calling it a night. The nights tally of winnings and losing I found that I had broke even for the day which included picking up Kyle’s gas tab.
Saturday we woke early to another beautiful day. Kyle pushed the issue of checking out the Hoover Dam. The Hoover Damn was a 30min drive and I was assured that we would make it back in time to hitch a ride to Supercross with Sandro. I decided to go even though I really wanted nothing to do with the Hover Damn or even really cared to see it. It was free, it was close and Kyle really wanted to go, it made sense and I was happy we went. I didn’t realize how big it actually was and it made perfect sense why Megatron was kept there.
On the way back to the hotel we stopped at MacDonald’s for lunch then rushed back to meet with Sandro and Alex to go over to Supercross. We made it to Sam Boyd Stadium with enough time to catch the last two stunt shows outside the gates. Nick and Ernie from Team Empire put on an amazing show with KaneOne also in the mix. After the last stunt show we headed over to the Monster Energy Drink hospitality rig to relax a little before the start of the race.
We made it to our seats and watched the duration of the race standing. It was incredible, 60,000 people packed into a college stadium going absolutely ballistic was a rush. Fans partied hard in a sold out venue screaming for their favorite riders until the very end. I couldn’t begin to explain the energy I felt during that last race, it was like a drug and now I’m hooked, anxiously awaiting for the 2012 season to start.
After the race and unable to score passes to the heavily sought after Monster VIP party we headed back to the Excalibur to finish off our night. Losing $50 to video poker, then another $50 at a slot machine and unable to drink another drop of booze it was time to call it a night. I still had about $100 left from my budget so it was a good move.
Sunday we slept in as long as possible finally hitting the road around noon to be back in Orange County at a decent time. Dropping another $50 in gas I was still in the green. We hit Bob’s Big Boy in Baker, Calif. for lunch and it hit the spot. While waiting at the register Kyle noticed a post card for an abandoned health spa formed around an oasis just off the Zzyzx exit, just a few miles down the highway. Wikipedia told us that we needed to check this place out so we headed out after I made Kyle buy me lunch.
The oasis off Zzyzx was awesome. We took a couple of pictures then headed back toward the highway to explore the desert a little bit more. This proved to be a horrible mistake on my end. For one reason or another I thought it would be a good idea to take the car down a path that was clearly meant for a 4×4. It didn’t take long for that decision to bite me in the ass. I sunk the car in the loose desert sand and to top it off we were way out of sight from anyone who might drive by to notice us.
I was pleased to have cell service and was extra pleased to have an AAA Plus card. Much to my surprise AAA had a flatbed just a few miles away from us and said it was on the way. When the driver showed up he said he wasn’t able to get my car out. He claimed he would get stuck himself and since I was way off the road he would need to send a 4×4 rescue truck and that it would cost about $175 to get the car out. He also mentioned that my AAA coverage wouldn’t honor it because I was off the road. I declined so he left. 3hrs later I found someone with a 4×4 and tow rope that pulled us out back onto the harder ground. Of course I felt compelled to pay the dude for his help costing me my last $45. We eventually made it home around 7pm having to explain why the car was covered in sand and dust.
If you get the chance make sure you try to hit one of these venues for 2012 (see below). I plan to hit both Aneheim dates and make it back to Vegas for the finale.
2012 AMA Supercross Championship calendar:
7 January Angel Stadium Anaheim, Calif.
14 January Chase Field Phoenix
21 January Dodger Stadium Los Angeles
28 January Overstock.com Stadium Oakland
4 February Angel Stadium Anaheim, Calif.
11 February Qualcomm Stadium San Diego
18 February Cowboys Stadium Arlington, Texas
25 February Georgia Dome Atlanta
3 March Edward Jones Dome St. Louis
10 March Daytona Int’l Speedway Daytona, Fla.
17 March Lucas Oil Stadium Indianapolis
24 March Rogers Centre Toronto, ON
31 March Reliant Stadium Houston
14 April Louisiana Superdome New Orleans
21 April Qwest Field Seattle
28 April Rice-Eccles Stadium Salt Lake City
5 May Sam Boyd Stadium Las Vegas