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When tickets are tough in Las Vegas.

THE HIGH ROLLERS wait until the last minute: the airport fills with private jets, and limousine drivers do big business. But the real fans arrive early for major Las Vegas sports events, and their garb is a clear sign of what's happening in town. For December's National Finals Rodeo, it's all cowboy--lizardskin boots and sharp-brimmed Stetsons. For a major fight, the look is urban--flashy, lots of gold. UNLV sweatshirts? You see those all the time.

The Strip comes alive with buzz and gossip: Buster Douglas lookes fat at the weigh-in, Ty Murray got bumped around some on a bull last night, the Rebels might announce a new recruit. The excitement and speculation keep building, and just before events, arenas pulsate with the energy of sports history in the making.

Las Vegas may not have any big-league teams, but it offers a remarkable range of world-class sports events. We list upcoming competitions, with details about tickets, so you can add an event to a Las Vegas itinerary.



It's been almost 40 years since big-time sports came to Las Vegas with the 1953 golf Tournament of Champions at the Desert Inn. Since then, the city has hosted a number of notable events. Some became part of sports lore--like the time Muhammed Ali (then Cassius Clay) defended his first heavyweight title against Floyd Patterson in 1965--while Evel Knievel's 1969 motorcycle jump and the world armadillo racing championships in the early '80s blurred the line between sport and hype.

But these days, there's not much need to hype Vegas as a sports capital: in just over a month last year, Evander Holyfield won the heavyweight boxing title, Ty Murray won his second consecutive cowboy championship, and the UNLV Runnin' Rebels started their quest for a second consecutive national basketball championship.



Getting tickets for main events is difficult on short notice. Scalping is illegal in Nevada, and there are no legal ticket agencies. But if you scan the classifieds, you'll likely see tickets for sale or trade. We list some other sources under each event.

Boxing. The next scheduled championship fight here is November 8, when Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield step inside the ropes at Caesars Palace. Las Vegas has hosted some of the biggest fights in recent years, and many consider it the world's boxing capital. The issue for the championship fights is often less one of ticket availability than of price: a seat at last year's Holyfield-Douglas fight at the Mirage cost anywhere from $200 to $1,000, and the fireworks show and Wynton Marsalis's National Antham probably lasted longer than the bout itself. But even if you don't attend the fight, the host hotel is usually the place to be. Taxis and parking are at a premium, so consider walking over.

Some hotels have frequent fight cards with quality lesser-known boxers; check newspapers and guides for schedules. Tickets run $20 and up. For big fights, contenders often hold public workouts; check with the host hotel or the newspaper.

Rodeo. December 6 through 15, Las Vegas takes on a country and western twang during a veritable cowboy Super Bowl, the National Finals Rodeo. Because scoring is cumulative and each round offers prize money, you don't have to attend the final night to see high drama.

Now the bad news: tickets are already sold out for this year's rodeo. But starting December 2, you can try Miller Stockman (3200 Las Vegas Boulevard), which as a ticket exchange, or check the classifieds in Prorodeo Sports News. Tickets are $17.50 to $26. Tickets for the 1992 rodeo go on sale by mail January 2. For details, call (702) 731-2115.

During the rodeo, major country singers like George Strait and Waylon Jennings play at hotels on The Strip in one of the nation's largest annual assemblages of country and western talent.

If you can't get tickets for the finals, try the Las Vegas Helldorado Days Rodeo in late May, when college and professional cowboys compete at Thomas & Mack Center. Tickets cost $5 to $11, depending on the event; for information, call 870-1221.

UNLV basketball. About 2,000 tickets for each 1991-92 season game go on sale in late November by phone or mail. The Runnin' Rebels face a host of NCAA sanctions, as well as a rebuilding year following the departure of several stars from 1990's championship team.

While the Rebels can't contend for the national championship this year, outgoing coach Jerry Tarkanian will retire as the winningest NCAA coach in history if the team wins 20 games this season. Even so, tickets will go fast. If you send in your check ahead of time (specify the game), you'll gain priority. Tickets cost $10 and up. For orders and schedules, call 739-3900.

You might also ask about UNLV's other Division 1-A sports, including football at the Sam Boyd Silver Bowl; call 739-3207.



Minor league baseball. Cashman Field is home to the Las Vegas Stars, the San Diego Padres' Pacific Coast Leagus affiliate. The modern stadium, while intimate, has a professional luster, with a decidedly major league center field (433 feet). Tickets are $2.50 to $5, and the season runs through August. For information, call 386-7200.

Bowling. One of the Professional Bowlers Association tour's oldest events, the Showboat Invitational, comes to the Snowboat Lanes January 12 through 18. Admission is free. Seating is first come and is especially tight for Saturday's finals; lane officials say that diehards arrive around 7 A.M. for the noon start. For more information on this tournament and June's seniors tour event, call 385-9153.

Golf. The PGA Las Vegas Invitational, a descendant of the Tournament of Champions, will be heald October 9 through 13 at three courses, with the final two rounds at the Las Vegas Country Club.

The event draws big crowds, but ticket availability isn't a problem. Tickets are already on sale, and you can save by buying in advance. Season passes for all events are $40 and include clubhouse privileges; single weekday tickets are $7, single weekend ones $10 ($60, $12, and $15 at the gate). There are also special weekday two-for-one deals for seniors and free admission for ages 17 and under with a paying adult; call 382-6616 for more details.

Las Vegas also hosts a seniors tour event in May and a women's (LPGA) tournament in March; for more information on either of these events, call 733-4653.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:sports
Date:Oct 1, 1991
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