Sunday, February 10, 2008

I wish I could afford to spend every weekend in Vegas

I'm not gonna bother running down what I saw at SHOT. Better info than I could share is all over the Intardweb already, so there's no point in rehashing it here. I can't really delve into details of what we did, either. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Here's the broad strokes, I guess.

My flight was delayed about an hour, so I got to Vegas a full hour and a half later than I was supposed to. That wouldn't have been such a big deal, except that my friend Mark was waiting to pick me up. I owe that man greatly. I stayed at his house that night with a couple other friends, and we rolled to SHOT the next morning. We stopped at one of the Station casinos for the breakfast buffet. Tons of sausage and bacon later, we rolled to the show.

The show...meh. Cool stuff, but no real break out products this year. Gemtech has a whole bunch of new suppressors, and Magpul has some cool new stuff, as you'd expect from Magpul. ATS had a booth at the show for the first time, and by all accounts did very well.

After kickin' it at the show all day, we went to our luxury condo suite at Wyndam Suites Resort. That was our base of operations for the rest of the weekend. Mark, Mike, Darren, myself, and Jeromy went to meet the rest of the Lightfighter mods at Hoffbrau House, which was excellent. Two liters of dark German beer and jaegershnitzel later, I was a happy guy. The only drawback was that it was louder than loud in there, and we were unable to really talk. Jeromy got progressively more drunk and increasingly funny. After dinner, we met up with more LF'ers at BJ's, who has Newcastle on tap. Nice! Saw some friends from Cali that I haven't seen in quite a while, which was great. Met some new folks, saw some people I'd met before, and had a great time. Got to bed late.

After SHOT on Sunday, back to the Suite for the Super Bowl and a gathering of about 20 for my birthday. Great time! After the Super Bowl and some other shenanigans, it was off to The Stratosphere for the Gemtech/LaRue party. Again, very successful operations at draining the open bar were undertaken. Great times again! After that party was closed down, it was off to the Hooters casino to continue the shenanigans. Got back late. Loved every minute of it.

Monday, we were pretty whiped out, so we went back to the suite, decided we were hungry, and headed off to the casino who's name I can't recall; I think it was the Monte Carlo. Good buffet, even though the prime rib was dry. Awesome little mousse cake things. I almost ate too much, but pulled back just at the right moment. Extreme Gear Labs paid for dinner. Go buy gear from them; Darren is a great dude and has some unique ideas on gear.

Tuesday was the last day of the show. I was fortunate enough to wander the show with Jeromy, who's a hell of a guy and a real American hero. He was blown up about a year ago, and is finally back on his feet. My man is healing nicely, and is really hoping to get back in the fight. We met a lot of people, because Jeromy is pretty well known. Spent a little more time with one of my favorite guys, Bill Harsey, and Jeromy bought a cool Sebenza from Chris Reeve. Chris liked my "Hadji Don't Surf" patch, so at Jeromy's prompting, I gave it to him. He gave me one of the very coveted CRK "think twice, cut once" shirts, this one written in Swahili. Hell of a trade, I thought.

Most of our crew left us Tuesday night, so that left Jeromy, myself, and Mike to hit Ellis Island for barbecue. After we successfully made a big mess of the table and got pork stuffed, we headed over to The Freakin' Frog, and proceeded to clean them out of 1554. We met up with Matrix (one of the few people in the world who's screen name is easier to use than his real name) his friend who's name I can't recall, author Erick Gelhaus, and the dudes from Ashley Outdoors sights. We were able to use the members only section upstairs because Matrix has been spending money there forever. We eventually closed the bar, and headed back to the Suite again.

The cab driver deserves special mention. First, he said he had been an executive at...some Strip casino, like the MGM or whatever. He cashed in and retired. He asked us what we were doing in Vegas, and we said "SHOT show". He asked if anybody was military, because he'd been an 18E and...something else. 91W or something. He said he spent 18 of his 20 years in Special Forces. Jeromy made a comment about hookers, so he said "Yeah, I can hook that up for you. I took care of Peyton Manning's friends while they were here. They called me to thank me for the great time they had", and he hands Jeromy a little catalog thing. Dude was a Son Tay Raider, weilder of corporate power, and now Vegas' premier cab driving pimp. We were chuckling at that guy for quite a while afterward.

Unfortunately I had to leave on Wednesday, but it was good to be home and sleeping in my own bed. The show...meh. The after show activities...hells yeah!!!

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