CES 2021 Launches Virtually


Normally, the first part of January is one of the busiest for those who work on the Las Vegas Strip.  The annual tech convention, CES is normally in town and filling the hotels up with over 150,000 attendees.  Most of the cities largest convention spaces are filled with booths where companies from all over the world display their latest and greatest technologies to the “Industry Only” participants. For the more well-heeled exhibitors, The resort’s best suites and fanciest restaurants are turned into smaller, private showrooms. Many of them are “invite-only”.

CES, is where we get to see what’s on the horizon for the consumer electronics makers.  Here is how I describe CES: if it has a computer chip in it and it is sold to you, the consumer, it’s probably here.  Just not this year.  Because of the virus panic and the shutdowns, this year it went virtual.

CES Goes Virtual

The first-ever, all-digital CES® 2021 made history as the largest digital tech event. Almost 2000 companies unveiled next-gen innovation for a better future. Owned and produced by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)®, the all-digital CES 2021 featured product launches from startups to tech giants, keynotes from global industry leaders, live entertainment from Hollywood and more than 100 hours of conference programming.

“The all-digital CES 2021 engaged the global tech community to experience innovation, make connections and conduct business,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CTA. “CES showed how the pandemic accelerated the arc of innovation and illustrated the resilience and innovative spirit of our industry. From the latest innovations for the home and entertainment, and advances in 5G, vehicle technology, AI and digital health, the technologies at CES 2021 will pave the way for a brighter tomorrow.”

CES 2021 kicked off on Jan. 11 with Media Day, featuring 19 press conferences with companies including Bosch, Canon, Caterpillar, Hisense, Intel, LG Electronics, Mercedes-Benz, Panasonic, Samsung Electronics and Sony breaking news and launching products. Trends from Media Day focused on “the home” with innovation that personalizes work, health and entertainment at home, as well as advancements.

Key Themes at CES 2021

The all-digital CES 2021 featured groundbreaking innovation that will improve our world, from health to safety, sustainability, and accessibility.

  • Tech Innovation Accelerated by COVID-19
    • Tech companies innovated during the pandemic, with companies at CES 2021 featuring smart masks, disinfecting robots, body sensors that detect COVID-19 symptoms and smart air filtration systems.
  • Consumer Privacy and Trust
    • The heads of privacy at Amazon, Google and Twitter discussed new privacy regulations and the need to increase consumer trust, stating that tech companies must give users more control over their data.
  • Global Tech Challenge
    • The Global Tech Challenge, launched at CES 2020, in partnership with the World Bank and CTA, rewards tech solutions in three areas: digital health in East Africa, resilience in India and gender equality around the world. The selected winners were announced this week from more than 1000 applications, with three winners selected for gender equality, 10 for resilience and 17 for digital health.
  • Space Tech
    • NASA was joined by leaders from Lockheed Martin and Space Tango to discuss technology’s role in accelerating space research and breakthroughs that will benefit all of humanity.

CES 2021 Wraps up today. I will have an overview of events along with some product launches over the next week.

It looks like CES 2022 will be back in Las Vegas in a hybrid format(?) January 5 to January 8, 2022

NFR Moving to Texas for 2020

NFR Las Vegas
Nevada Governor Sisolack’s politically motivated closure of Nevada’s economy claims another major event.  The National Finals Rodeo (NFR) announced its decision to hold the 2020 event in Texas.

The annual ten-day event is contracted to take place in Las Vegas until 2025.  In exchange for this move, one year has been added to the Las Vegas contract.

The governor’s restrictions limiting seating and ticket sales to live events amid the coronavirus pandemic made it impossible to hold the event here. (Exceptions are made for BLM and Anti-Police protests and riots, of course)

“The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) on Wednesday announced that the event is moving to Texas in December 2020. It will be held at Arlington’s Globe Life Field, marking the first non-baseball event to be held at the park.”

The NFR 2020 will be held at Globe Life Field, which has a retractable roof and seats 40,300 people, is the new home stadium of the Rangers MLB team.

The annual event got its start inTexas in 1959. before it moved to Los Angeles, Oklahoma City.  Finally, the boosters of Las Vegas resorts got together and brought there in 1985, and its been here ever since.

The event has an economic impact of an estimated $200 million every year and jobs for hundreds of Las Vegas residents.  Small business owners and tour related freelancers see this as the last big event of the year and the final time to make any money before we go into hibernation for the rest of the year. Tour season usually starts back up in late March, early April.

As well as the actual rodeo, Cowboy Christmas, the annual western shopping extravaganza, is also moving to Fort Worth for the 2020 event. Cowboy Christmas for Las Vegas is a 440,000-square-foot shopping and interactive experience that takes over the Las Vegas Convention Center.

With more than 350 exhibitors from across the United States, Cowboy Christmas caters to the Western lifestyle and includes live entertainment, specialty food and beverage, and Western exhibits.  Meaning a lot of extra sales tax revenue is gone as well.

Organizers for the Texas 2020 event said that seats will be sold in groups of four with proper separation between the groups. Contact-limiting measures, such as mobile tickets, have also been implemented throughout the event. Plus, there will be a mask requirement at all times while inside Globe Life Field. Additional handwashing and sanitizing stations placed throughout the building, officials said.

Dates: Wrangler NFR is scheduled to return to Las Vegas, December 2-11, 2021
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Editors Note:
If I sound Pissed Off, I am. There is no reason, other than his usual desire to play politics, for this and other events to not happen in Nevada. His desire to hurt the Las Vegas economy strictly for political points is hurting families and killing jobs. Fourteen days to flatten the curve ended five months ago and the curve is so flat now it’s bending the other way!

Official Name of Event: Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (WNFR)

Photo: Tom Donoghue

The Riviera Demolition Begins

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How time flies! It’s been almost a year since we last stepped into the historic Riviera Casino Resort to say our Good Byes.  Once closed, it followed a Las Vegas tradition of being brought back to life momentarily to be used for a major scene in some new Hollywood blockbuster movie (Jason Bourne). Now that the usual hoopla is over, they can get down to the real business at hand: Preparing for the Demolition!  Turning the towers and the casino structures all into rubble, landfill, and recycled material.
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We stopped by there today, as we were leaving the NAB Convention.  Watched them move some bobcats into the various floors.  Another crew was busy removing the parking structures and outer buildings and yet another crew were up in the penthouse suites getting ready to gut the place.  They also have to remove the dangerous asbestos found in the older Monte Carlo Tower.  That means the tower will be wrapped tight like a sandwich in a ziplock bag while they gut it!

Once all that has been done, the two big towers will be blown up in two separate events.  The first in June, the second probably in August. After all the land has been cleared and graded, the open space will be utilized almost immediately for the annual Con-Ag Expo.  Then as time goes on, more convention and meeting space will be built from the Strip back with more parking and much needed open space for larger exhibits.

Having seen the preliminary drawings, I can say it looks impressive and totally workable.  Plus it is badly needed as more conventions are seeking more space to expand outward or even relocate to Las Vegas. Of course, that means jobs, money, and tourist!  We like all of those!

The last great implosion was the New Frontier in November of 2007

The best implosion of recent memory was of the Stardust in March of 2007

We will keep you posted as the doom dates get closer.

Saturday is for Lepre*cons

That’s Correct.  This Saturday, tomorrow, is the day for Lepre*cons.  Don’t know what a Lepre*con is?  Come out, join us and find out.   It’s at Town Square and is being put together to break the world’s record for most Leprecons in one photo while helping bring awareness to St Baldrick’s Foundation and their fight to conquer childhood cancers.  Yes, plural.  A very worthy event!

It’s going to be a big deal and there will be alcohol involved for those that need a little shot to get going…   Not to mention people dancing the Jig, running a 5k or 1 mile or just watching all the other Leprecons do the running…



Here’s The Breakdown

Currently, that record is at 1,263 Leprecons in one photo.  That’s a pretty pathetic number in our books.  We think Las Vegas can do much better than that.

So, on Saturday February 13 at 8am at Town Square, we want to gather 3-5,000 properly attired Leprecons for one photo.  Then challenge other communities to try and break that record so we can do it all again in 2017.  This is Vegas and we don’t just break a record.  We bust them up and leave them in the dust while having a fun time in the process.  Get your friends, get registered and come down for fun, frolic (a free beer) and watch everyone do the Irish Jig afterward.

This event is designed to break a record and to help bring more awareness and attention to St Baldrick’s Foundation and their struggle to conquer childhood cancers.

Two of the biggest champions of this are my friends Lynn and Brian McMullan.  Proprietors of McMullans Irish Pub in Las Vegas. They are wanting… (maybe to better say Determined) to break the record as well as break the fundraising milestone of $5 million for the head-shaving events later.  Head shaving will be on March 5th at their pub as well as other locations around Las Vegas. That’s’ what the video is about…

St. Baldrick’s head-shaving events began as a challenge between businessmen and have grown from one event in 2000 to over 1,300 events in 2013, raising critical funds for childhood cancer research. Events take place in pubs, restaurants, schools, churches, parks, malls, military bases, firehouses and any other place you can imagine.

Register for the Lepre-Con event, then show up, get your hat, beard and shirt, (you have to be properly attired to be in the photo) pose for the photo then take off on a 5K run, a 1-mile walk or just hang out and do an Irish Jig while enjoying the free beer you get for registering.  Those who participate will get a bunch of other goodies and can say you helped set a world record while also helping to conquer childhood cancers.  You gotta come out and do the Irish Jig if nothing else!!

Las Vegas St Baldrick's Head Shaving March 5th

The thing that I like about these events, besides the great beer, fun people, and the entertainment, is that it is a grass roots effort and it really does impacts people in our community.  It was started by two guys in a pub wondering how they could give back to the community for all the successes they have had in their lives.  Shaving their heads was the obvious answer!

Some people who have their heads shaved, donate the hair to organizations that make wigs for cancer patients.  Most others do it to show solidarity for the kids who have no choice in their hair because they lost it to Chemo or other drugs.  Another cool thing is that this is not a large organization that sucks up all the money in some far away building.  Some of that money raised here stays right here to help fund a children’s clinic in Las Vegas. The rest goes to fund research that has already increased the survival rates for the most common types of childhood cancers to 90%.



Saturday, February 13, we invite you out to Town Square, get registered to be part of the largest gathering of Leprecons in the world.
Saturday, March 5th (NASCAR weekend) come to McMullans Irish Pub or one of the other sponsoring bars and get you head shaved (and donate to the cause)


See You There??

Its Almost Rodeo Time! NFR 2015

It’s that time of the year that I have to warn the readers of The Vegas Tourist about.  You may have just downed the last turkey leg and may be wondering about the kids’s Christmas list.  But around here, Christmas is about to hit early.  The end of November in Las Vegas can only mean one thing; Its Almost Rodeo Time.  2015 National Finals Rodeo to be exact. WNFR.  Cowboys. Wranglers Jeans and horses.

But wait… there’s More!!  The NFR runs December 3 to the 12.  NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champions Week will be December 2-4.  NASCAR’s top drivers will be here for autograph sessions, meet & greets as well as the ever-popular  NASCAR Victory Lap down the Las Vegas Strip on December 3.  (burnouts assured but not guaranteed!)   NASCAR Champions Week Schedule

So that means I will be very busy for ten days straight reporting on rodeo events, NASCAR events and other related events that happen at the same time. I will be doing this for other media outlets and will be posting the updates on The Vegas Tourist blog, Facebook and Instagram profiles.  So just be warned!

Vegas Goes Country

The NFR hits town as just about everything else dies off for the winter.  Most pools are closed, no major conventions, no other major concerts or sporting events.  So this is kind of like our swan song for the year.  A big, cash cow and country fest to hold us over until Christmas and New Years.  And we love it.  Well, many of us who live here like it because it is a fun time that lasts 10 days and everyone is invited.  Most of the casinos get in on the action, dealers get to get into the western attire and be a little more relaxed.  All the concert venues are filled with country superstars.  And the cowboys are natural gamblers as well as many of their supporters.  So its a big deal all the way around town.

Over at the major convention centers, they have a variety of versions of Cowboy Christmas.  The actual NFR sponsored Cowboy Christmas is taking over the south hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. It’s free and open to the public to shop, browse and be entertained.

The move to the South Halls and the partnership with the RMEF Hunter Christmas Expo provides the potential to grow the shows to more than 900,000 square feet of exhibit, retail and interactive space.

The Cowboy Christmas Gift Show and Cowboy FanFest brought record crowds to the Las Vegas Convention Center over the ten days in 2014. Total attendance reached 200,179, surpassing the previous record attendance of 196,856 set in 2013.

Shopping Beyond Imagination

The official Cowboy Christmas is just one of the shopping events held during the NFR.  Filling up the convention space at Mandalay bay is the Cowboy Marketplace.  But wait… there’s more shopping to be had during NFR!  The MGM is NSR World with shopping and events and the Sands Expo Center (The Venetian) can’t be left out so they hold  Country Christmas.

Las Vegas goes country for NFR

As with any major event that takes over Las Vegas, this is a well-oiled machine that knows how to keep people moving, entertained and engaged! We’ve been doing it for over 30 years now.


(Photos: Tom Donoghue)