Something for everyone

Rick Murdock

Reno has a love-hate relationship with Hot August Nights, but you know they love it under the arch. The classic car event isn't all that's going on downtown, though. Two weeks ago, the news broke that the Eldorado was taking full ownership of the Silver Legacy and Circus Circus. The time seemed ripe for a talk with casino management. Rick Murdock, vice president of sales and casino marketing, took up the challenge.

Let’s talk about Hot August Nights. What do you guys have planned this year?

Thank God Hot August Nights is here. It’s a great event. It also runs concurrent with the Reno-Tahoe Open. It’s two great, totally different events—a golf tournament and a car event. It’s just great to have those going on at the same time because you get a lot of critical mass of different people who are interested in different things, so we’ve got something for everybody.

Every year, it’s one of our most picked-up issues, just because so many people are in town. So what’s the Eldo planning, particularly for Hot August Nights?

The last couple of years, we went into a partnership with Hot August Nights and Barrett-Jackson. Eldorado, Silver Legacy and Circus-Circus, we went together, and we put some money in, and we came up with what’s called the Barrett-Jackson Cup.

What’s that mean?

The Barrett-Jackson Cup is a prestigious award that we give here. The cars come in from all over the world, and they compete for $100,000. And that hundred thousand dollars is some cash. Chevrolet gives a brand new engine. Ford gives pieces to the puzzle, too. But it’s a neat, neat award. So this is the third year for that. It is going to be spectacular. The cars that come in for this are like none other. As you know, the event goes on Aug. 5 through Friday, Aug. 7. They have the auction and Barrett-Jackson has that live TV show, and then at the end, the last part of the show, they bring up the five finalists that competed for the Barrett-Jackson Cup. Then they hand out the check to the winner.

How about the non-car owning public, the people like me who just like to go down and look at the cars? What’s going on for those types?

The cool thing is that the Barrett-Jackson Cup brings in some of the best. Not all the cars make it [into the finals] so you’ve got a tremendous amount of beautiful cars that don’t make it that you get to look at. So downtown Reno brings in the best cars. You’ve got to come downtown to see the best cars. There’s cruising down here and you see the cars driving. The cruise night is a fun night to come down and take the kids and the family, and see all the different hot rods—they rev the engines, it’s kind of neat to watch the parade.

How’s the bridge being out going to affect things?

It’s going to affect it a little bit. They’re just rerouting a little bit. You’ll still be able to cruise main [Virginia Street] under the arch, you just probably won’t go down as far, you’ll turn on Second, I imagine. The Show ’n’ Shine is downtown from 9 til 4. That has the prizes for the best paint, interior, engine, overall truck, overall car, Best of Show. It’s a neat deal we do downtown. That’s daily as well.

What else you got going down there? You’ve got a new show coming, too, right?

You and I can try to pronounce it together. It’s called Saltoriya [Aug. 4 through Nov. 15]. It’s like a cirque show and it’s really going to be a neat show. That’ll be in our showroom. This’ll be the new show for August.

So it will be open for Hot August Nights? You guys are going to be busy down there.

This is American and European performers. We’ve got the stunts, the acrobats, comedy. It’s exhilarating. It’s fun. Everybody loves cirque shows, and we went out and got a good one. It should be really fun. Again, it’s something for everybody. We’ve got the downtown fireworks show, Friday, August 7, and Saturday, August 8. That’s a great one for the locals. You can see a show, or you can see a show and shine. And, oh, by the way, you can eat in the buffet, and you can gamble.

Hey, what happened with the takeover? Eldo is taking over management of Silver Legacy and Circus? I was out of town, so I don’t know what happened.

What we did is we went public back in October. We were partnered with MGM Grand in the Legacy. They outright owned Circus-Circus. Eldorado Resorts went in and purchased the other half of the Legacy and Circus-Circus from MGM. And now Eldorado has the 4,000 rooms in the complex all under Eldorado management. Circus-Circus is still going to maintain itself as Circus-Circus, and the Legacy and Eldorado will be working together, so there’s a new energy to downtown now.

That’s great.

As you know, we’ve got a showroom, and we’ve got all this going on, well, Legacy has their showroom where they do the different acts. We’ve got the ballroom and the events center for when we’re doing big events. We control a lot of the rooms downtown now, and we’re excited. The Carano family has a lot of history of being local and doing the right things, so this is exciting to be able to put them all together and offer some great products to tourists and to the people in Reno. It’s a good thing for all of us.

I’m actually looking forward to this Hot August Nights more than I have for quite some time. We moved, so I’m not going to have deal with the traffic. We were over on Center, right at the on-ramp, so every time one of those loud cars or even Street Vibrations got on the freeway, it would shake the whole office. But now we’re over on Marsh Avenue, so it’s much more pleasant.

I used to live on Marsh. Whereabouts are you?

405 Marsh.

That’s a great neighborhood.

We love it. There’s about 10 eating places within walking distance, and Hillary Clinton for President just moved into the office downstairs. It’s vibrant around here.

It’s Midtown, too. Midtown’s really helped downtown as well, having all these new people, and the restaurants on the river. Downtown is getting better and better. This is fun times for Reno.

Yeah, it reminds me of the feeling before the great recession took down the whole country. It just seems like there has been a turnaround in attitude. We’ve got a lot of good stuff to look forward to.

I used to live on Marsh, and you didn’t go down there and find 20 eating establishments. All those buildings weren’t being used or they changed owners, and they’ve really done a great job over there. I think if you come into town, there’s some cool bars to go to or take them to a great dinner house. The casinos are here, and there are still some landmarks. Roxy’s a great place to have a martini. It all fits, now, and everybody’s putting a little money into the downtown and into the Midtown, the whole city is on a roll. We’ve got the flight from New York, don’t forget that.

And Boise.

And Spokane/Boise. I’m on the Airport Authority as a trustee, and I’m real excited because we’re working on a bunch of new destinations.