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Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all our loyal readers. You’re forgiven if you hold off for a day or two to digest our messages. We understand that eggnog can clog your powers of concentration as well as your digestive system and that the five NBA games on the tube today might occupy much of your time once the presents are exchanged.

I’m always thankful to have made it to another holiday season, as we golfers say, on the right side of the divot. There are several other things I’m also grateful for as Las Vegas cruises into the next decade.

First, let’s hope in the next 10 years we will imitate a century ago and be able to refer to the upcoming ten-spot as the new Roaring 20s.

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I’ll start with the good stuff: The Golden Knights are here and thriving, and the Raiders are coming. No one I knew when I arrived in Nevada in the mid-70s would ever have believed we’d have two major professional sports franchises here in our lifetime. The only sports story that had a pulse was Runnin’ Rebel basketball. Oh, there was the occasional pro tennis tournament and some exciting boxing cards, but any minor league team that came to town withered and died within two or three years. The prevailing theory was that if hockey and soccer and C-League basketball couldn’t draw flies in Las Vegas, there was no chance the city would ever support the big leagues. But then who knew the city would sextuple in population over the next 40 years?

The PGA Tour, which had held two important events here for years, the Tournament of Champions and the Sahara Invitational, split town in 1976 and wouldn’t return for seven years. The widely held assumption around the nation was that Las Vegans were too busy gambling and socializing and filling showrooms to ever embrace team sports in a big way. 

That theory as we enter 2020 has been imploded like the Dunes, the Landmark, the Hacienda, the Stardust, and the many other hotels that are deemed passé.

While I miss the old haunts on the Strip. I’m grateful for the great architecture and elegant design of the resorts that have risen up over the last 30 years. You no longer hear the adjectives ‘tacky’ or ‘faux’ when describing our hotel-casinos.

The Bellagio, Aria, Wynn, Encore, and Venetian are classy by any national or international measure, and Resorts World, the Drew, and others should keep that bar high in the next few years.

Although no one should hold his or her breath on this, the likelihood is that a bullet train from Las Vegas to Victorville will start construction sometime next year. It is expected to take at least three years to complete, and should transport passengers to and from the city in less than 90 minutes.

Excuse my caution on doing the Macarena over this news, as I’ve been hearing about a bullet train happening any year now since Bill Briare was the mayor of Las Vegas in the mid-1970s.

If in fact that train is completed, it might spark a revival of the Roy Rogers Museum, which was a popular attraction in Victorville from 1967 to 2003, before it moved to Branson, Missouri. I remember stopping there one day when “the Singing Cowboy” was on the property. His horse Trigger was also on display, but the attendant on duty wouldn’t tell me whether it was just a model of the gallant steed, or whether it was the work of a skilled taxidermist.

My last hope for this holiday and beyond is that once all the impeachment bickering has subsided sometime in the next few weeks, the mindset in Washington and across the land will be to put more emphasis on the word “United” in the name of our country. The word “compromise” has been totally eradicated from the vocabulary of politicians, and until everyone can take a deep breath and listen to reasonable arguments on both sides of the table, discord and anger will continue to rule the day.

One last thing: Go Ducks in the Rose Bowl.

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About the Author

Jack Sheehan

Vegas Vibe columnist Jack Sheehan has lived in Las Vegas since 1976 and writes about the city for Gaming Today. He is the author of 28 books, over 1,000 magazine articles, and has sold four screenplays.

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