By Mike Henle
LAUGHLIN — As the story goes in this part of the country, legendary real estate mastermind Don Laughlin saw a gold mine from the air back in the 1960s when he spotted a broken-down fishing village during an airplane ride over the Colorado River.
Located some 100 miles south of Las Vegas, Laughlin purchased the land and turned it into another adult playground that also turned into the home an off-road race each December when the Southern Nevada Off Road Enthusiasts bring a record field to town for the annual McKenzie’s Rage at the River to the city.
SNORE’s 2017 Rage at the River is scheduled for Dec. 8-10 and like Don Laughlin many years ago, SNORE found promise in this city by landing its Patrick’s Signs/McKenzie’s Championship Series in this city.
Key to SNORE’s presence is that the group brings with it more than 400 race cars and hundreds of support members who fill hotel rooms and patronize various tourist-oriented venues for several days. The idea was turned into reality about nine years ago when SNORE officers went hunting for a new home and as luck would have it, the marketing geniuses of Laughlin were looking for more business during what can be a slower time of year.
Indeed, the McKenzie’s Rage at the River is a win-win for all involved.
Historically, the second week in December was the second-slowest time of the year with regards to gaming and occupancy. However, SNORE’s invasion of the city changed those numbers and you won’t find an employee anywhere in Laughlin who isn’t tickled to death since the roar of auto racing equipment equates to more hours for the employees of the city.
“We love coming to Laughlin each year for several reasons,” said SNORE past president and competitor Kenny Freeman, whose parents were among the founding members of SNORE. “First off, it’s a fun way to end another season and also, the people of Laughlin are very appreciative that we bring our show to the city.
“Ranging from the proximity of Las Vegas to the race course and the rest, it’s the perfect venue.”
Tech director Bill Shapley he has been a part of SNORE for many years, and he’s amazed at the total amount of entries for the Laughlin event.
“I have never seen this many cars for this race,” said Shapley, who has been tech director for the past 20 years. “There are strong fields in each class. Everyone loves Laughlin and the amount of entries is proof of that. It’s going to be a madhouse with race cars everywhere.”
Among those who are ecstatic about the response to the amount of entries for the race is 32 year-old Matt Laughlin, the grandson of Don Laughlin and the chief operating officer of the Riverside Hotel Casino.
“We’re very excited about it,” said Matt Laughlin, who will drive a 6100 truck in the event. “This is normally kind of a slow time of the year for us and anytime a big event comes to Laughlin, it’s good for everyone.”
The awards ceremony is set for 8 p.m. Sunday at Harrah’s Laughlin.
SNORE will honor its top competitors of the Patrick’s Signs/McKenzie’s Championship Series in its awards ceremony Jan. 13 at the Primadonna in Primm.
Further information can be found by visiting www.snoreracing.net