Calling all runners, Death Valley is calling!!

Maybe not ALL runners.  You have to be a pretty baddass type of a runner to survive this race.  It’s called the “STYR Labs Badwater 135″ as in it starts at Badwater in Death Valley. The lowest point in the western hemisphere and you run for the next 135 miles (48 hours) non-stop until you reach Mt Whitney Summit in California. The highest point in the contiguous United States! Did we mention its in the middle of July??

For those who finish in less than forty-eight hours, their reward is the coveted Badwater 135 belt buckle.  It’s all about the bling, not the money!


Death Valley, CA:  On July 18-20, AdventureCORPS presents its legendary STYR Labs BADWATER® 135. Now in its 39th year, the world-renowned event pits up to 100 of the world’s toughest athletes against one another and the elements. In scorching temperatures and at altitudes as high as 8,300 feet, runners, triathletes, adventure racers, and mountaineers from 21 countries and 27 American states will face off in a grueling 135-mile non-stop run from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney, CA. Widely recognized as “the world’s toughest foot race, “ it is the most demanding and extreme running race on the planet.

(Checkout Detours Death Valley Tour and save 10% with promo code “TVT”)

The start line is at Badwater, Death Valley, which marks the lowest elevation in North America at 280’ (85m) below sea level. The race finishes at Whitney Portal at 8,300’ (2530m). The course covers three mountain ranges for a total of 14,600’ (4450m) of cumulative vertical ascent and 6,100’ (1859m) of cumulative descent. Whitney Portal is the trailhead to the Mt. Whitney summit, the highest point in the contiguous United States. Competitors travel through places with names like Mushroom Rock, Furnace Creek, Salt Creek, Devil’s Cornfield, Devil’s Golf Course, Stovepipe Wells, Panamint Springs, Keeler, Alabama Hills, and Lone Pine.

Running thru Death Valley in July for a belt buckle!

PC: chris kostman/ ©AdventureCORPS

A true “challenge of the champions,” the 2016 STYR Labs Badwater 135 features 51 Badwater veterans and 46 rookies: die hard “ultra-runners” of every speed and ability, as well as athletes who have the necessary running credentials, but are primarily known for their exploits as adventure racers, mountaineers, triathletes, or in other extreme pursuits. With one of the most international fields in race history, the athletes represent twenty-one countries by citizenship or residence: Australia, Barbados, Brazil, Canada, Cayman Islands, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Philippines, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, and United States of America (with 27 different American states represented).

While runners began running the course in the 1970s, the race itself has been part of the fabric of life in Inyo County since 1987. A recent study indicated an annual economic impact of 1.2 million dollars, half of it spent in Death Valley National Park and surrounding gateway communities such as Lone Pine, CA. The race is supported by U.S. Congressman Col. Paul Cook (Ret.) of California’s 8th District, the Inyo County Board of Supervisors, the Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce, and a wide panorama of businesses and charities which are positively impacted.

There are 25 women and 72 men. The youngest male runner is 25 (rookie entrant Sam Weir of Australia) and the youngest female entrant is 29 (rookie entrant Kayla Delk of the USA). The oldest male is 69 (five-time finisher Mark K. Olson of California) and the oldest female is 60 (rookie entrant Pamela Chapman-Markle of Texas). The overall average age is 46. Full roster details are available here:

The men’s course record is held by Valmir Nunez of Brazil with a time of 22:51:29 set in 2007, while the women’s course record of 26:16:12 was set in 2010 by Jamie Donaldson of Littleton, CO. It is expected that the winners of the 2016 STYR Labs Badwater 135 will finish in near record time for both men’s and women’s divisions. The average finishing time is approximately 40 hours, while the overall time limit is 48 hours. For those who finish in less than forty-eight hours, their reward is the coveted Badwater 135 belt buckle. There is no prize money.

The 2016 race field is particularly competitive. Veteran contenders include 2015 men’s champion Pete Kostelnick of Nebraska, 2014 champion Harvey Lewis of Ohio, 2013 men’s champion Carlos Sa of Portugal, 2011 men’s champion Oswaldo Lopez of Madera, CA (Mexico citizenship), two-time men’s runner-up Grant Maughan of Australia, and other notable contenders such as Marathon des Sables champion Mohamad Ahansal of Morocco, Grand Union Canal champion Dan Lawson of the UK, 2016 Badwater Cape Fear and 2016 Badwater Salton Sea champion Jared Fetterolf of Texas, among others. Also competing is Marshall Ulrich, 65, of Evergreen, CO, a twenty-time Badwater 135 finisher and four-time winner in 1991, 1992, 1993, and 1996, along with David Jones, 64, of Murfreesboro, TN, the 1997 Badwater 135 race champion, seven-time finisher, and 60+ age group record holder. For a  full preview of the top men’s field, click

The women’s field, with 25 entrants, includes 12 rookies and 13 veterans. Notable contenders include the 2015 women’s champion, Nikki Wynd of Australia, 2014 women’s champion, Alyson Venti of Barbados, Badwater 135 veteran Brenda Guajardo who is a three-time winner of the Nove Colli ultramarathon in Italy, 2016 Brazil 135+ women’s champion Sada Crawford of Cayman Islands, and others. For a full preview of the top women’s field, click

Every year is a new year at the Badwater 135, with rookies and “previously unknown” athletes surprising the contenders with top performances. New stars will shine as the race unfolds.

The STYR Labs Badwater 135 is the final event in the Badwater® Ultra Cup, a three-race series which began with the 51-mile Badwater® Cape Fear in March, continued with the 81-mile Badwater® Salton Sea in May, and now concludes with the STYR Labs Badwater 135 in July. Those runners who complete all three events in the same calendar year are featured on the website and their virtues are extolled throughout the Internet and in future editions of BADWATER Magazine. In 2014, seven remarkable athletes completed the entire Badwater Ultra Cup, nine completed the 2015 Badwater Ultra Cup, while seventeen racers completed the first two Badwater races this year and will toe the line at the third and final Badwater race on July 18.

Now in its seventeenth year producing this race, AdventureCORPS is pleased to welcome our title sponsor, STYR Labs – an innovative nutrition customization and tracking platform delivering cutting-edge supplements to connected athletes and health and fitness consumers worldwide. The advanced ecosystem includes an activity tracker, wireless scale, and free app that collects health and fitness data to create personalized multivitamins or protein blends specific to the user’s health and fitness goals and needs. Sergio Radovcic, founder of STYR Labs, is no stranger to this race with three consecutive Badwater 135 finishes. More info at

AdventureCORPS  also greatly appreciates the support of Farm to Feet Socks, Fisher Space Pen, Caring House Project Foundation, ZZYXXZ, Goal Zero, 2XU, and, plus the local support of Furnace Creek Ranch, Stovepipe Wells Resort, Panamint Springs Resort, Dow Villa, Pizza Factory, the community of Lone Pine, CA, the people of Inyo County, and other generous companies and individuals. More info:

Official Charities of the Badwater 135 include the Challenged Athletes Foundation. As one of the very few charities that provides grants directly to athletes with a physical disability, the Challenged Athletes Foundation has raised over thirty million dollars and directly assisted thousands of challenged athletes world-wide. AdventureCORPS also supports the Bald Head Island Conservancy, Death Valley Natural History Association, Conservation Alliance, and One Percent For The Planet. One of the goals of the Badwater 135 is to raise funds for, and awareness of, these organizations. More info:

This year, over 50 of the race entrants are competing on behalf of a charity of their choice. Some of those include 100 Mile Club, Break the Stigma Project, Caring House Project Foundation, Challenged Athletes Foundation, Death Valley Natural History Association, Homes for our Troops, Hope So Bright, The Herren Project, and others.

This year’s race celebrates the 39th anniversary of Al Arnold’s original trek from Badwater to Mt. Whitney in 1977. Arnold, an ultrarunning pioneer and human potential guru, competed in a solo effort: it was just Arnold and his support crew against the elements and the clock. The official head-to-head race began ten years after Arnold’s pioneer trek, in 1987, and has been held annually without serious incident, fatality, or any citations issued by any branch of law enforcement. For more info about Al Arnold and also the original race click these links:

1977 Al Arnold:

1987 Race:

Talking with a Park Ranger About Lake Mead [Video]


With all the recent media talk about the lack of water in Lake Mead, I thought it was time to go talk to someone about Lake Mead and let people know the other side of the story about the big lake we created when we built Hoover Dam.  Why is it there? is it a National Park?  Why was it needing protection and what can tourists do out there?

Just as a reminder, not far from the shining lights of the Las Vegas Strip sits one of the most popular National Recreation Areas in America. Lake Mead National Recreation Area (LMNRA). Lake Mead is the 16th largest manmade lake in the world as well as the first in America to be designated as a recreational area.  It may be a lake, but there is more than just a small puddle of water out there to go see!

LMNRA Public Affairs Officer Christie Vanover agreed to meet with me and talk a little about our famous lake.  It just happened to be a very windy day when we met at Lake Mead Over Look!  What makes Lake Mead special, what does it offer the tourists and just what is it really?  Plus she hinted at what awaits the tourist at the other, newest National Monument in Nevada: Tule Springs Fossil Bed National Monument.

So Lake Mead was created by the plugging up of the Colorado River when we built Hoover Dam.  As the lake filled up, it submerged a lot of “cultural Artifacts” from the construction of the dam.  Trains, equipment, shanty towns where some of the workers lived, cold war spy planes, etc. A popular place for divers!  It’s also a great fishing spot, fun for boating as well as swimming and jet skiing.  But the lake is just a small park of the area.

Lake Mead

The area surrounding Lake Mead was established as the Boulder Dam Recreation Area in 1936. In 1964, the area was expanded to include Lake Mohave and its surrounding area and became the first National Recreation Area to be designated as such by the U.S. Congress.

When people hear the words “Lake Mead”, they think just about the body of water. Not realizing that the actual park is 3 times more land than water.  The area surrounding the actual lake is popular for hiking, camping and wildlife viewing. At the north end, it connects with Valley Fire State Park as well as into the Grand Canyon

Christie Vanover and her bubbly personality, as well as her genuine love for the area, has made her the perfect face for Lake Mead on social media.  She has started to make twitter videos promoting the recreational opportunities within the lake  (Lake Mead on Twitter) Plus her favorite Vegas movie is Con-Air, so I like her!



Links to Tours in Lake Mead

The WSOP Goes Really High-Tech this Year

Nothing says summer in Las Vegas more than news releases for the upcoming World Series of Poker (WSOP)! The 47th Annual WSOP Begins May 31 and Runs Through July 18 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, right here in beautiful Las Vegas. And this year they are really going High-Tech and social friendly!

According to their recent news release. the WSOP is delving deeper into the digital arena to deliver plenty of new options for players and fans alike to follow, watch and participate in all the action and excitement of poker’s biggest annual event.

Here is an overview of the new or enhanced offerings:

  • eQueue Payout Process – As a player who has won some cash, you can be texted when your money is ready.  If excessive lines begin to form when a patron attempts to collect their payouts (remember, the WSOP is paying out 15% of fields this year), a new e-Queueing system will be utilized. This will give the patron the option to be added to the payout list if they have the necessary payout information already on file. Once added to the list, the patron leaves the payout area and is alerted by text message when their payout is ready for pickup.  The patron then returns at the designated time to complete the process and receive their payout, all completed within minutes in a scheduled and controlled environment.
  • Good News for Headphone Wearers – We received approval to allow participants to keep wearing headphones up until the final table. So for all WSOP events, instead of having to remove them when the money was reached, participants can now keep their headphones on until they reach the final table. A kind reminder however, participants aren’t excused from rules or responsibility when wearing their headphones. Verbal commands from dealers, floor staff and other players are part of the game, and headphone wearers are responsible for paying attention to action when in a hand or when events dictate.
  • WSOP ChipIn – A new live reporting chip counting tool for players to socialize their chip counts during WSOP Gold Bracelet events.  From their table/seat, players can add their chip count to the official WSOP chip count list on, all from their smartphone or tablet. (
  • New Twitter Czar – The WSOP has hired Kevin Mathers, aka Kevmath, to run the Twitter accounts @WSOP and @WSOPcom throughout this year’s tournament series, as well as assist with @WSOPTD and @WSOPChipIn as well. ( &
  • ‘Live at the WSOP’ Web Streaming – Once again, the WSOP will provide final table streaming at the 2016 WSOP with David Tuchman and Tatjana Pasalic.  New this year, will be a more free-flowing format, attempting to bring viewers inside all that is happening at the venue on a particular day, not just at the final table.  One final table will be selected to be the stream of the day. (
  • Online Poker in Nevada – The ability to play real-money online poker in Nevada has been around for a couple years, but the 2016 WSOP marks the first time players truly have an online schedule crafted based on their known poker playing habits while in Las Vegas during the WSOP.  More than 500 events, featuring $2 million in guarantees, have been scheduled on between May 25 and July 10 with the most affordable way to win your seats into live WSOP events at the Rio, and the only way to do so online in Nevada.

In addition to the above, the WSOP team will again be handling live reporting in-house of official WSOP gold bracelet events, exclusively on  Those following at home will be able to view the hand update blog, the chip counting leaderboard, plus results and prize pool information all from the same tournament portal page on

Below is more detail on each of the above initiatives.

eQueue Payout Process

The goal of the new eQueue process is to allow participants who cash in WSOP events to schedule their payout pickup time.  The WSOP Payout Office remains open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week throughout the WSOP, and if there is no line or a small line, patrons are encouraged to pick up their winnings right then and there.  Or of course they can return at any “off-hour” to more swiftly receive their funds. But if they happen to receive a payout slip at a time when the payout office is busier, they can visit the pre-payout clerk, confirm they have the necessary payout information already on file and then provide their mobile phone number. The Payout Office can then text the patron when their payout is ready for pick up.  There are two “catches” as part of this system.  1) A patron must already have payout information on file, as that is the only way the Payout Office can handle some of the paperwork in patron’s absence.  And 2) Patron must return to Payout Office at designated time to receive priority processing.  It is also worth noting that payouts in general can be picked up at any time.  As long as the participant has his/her payout slip, they can go to the Payout Office at any time of day or night over the course of the WSOP to collect.

In addition, specifically for Event #2 (Colossus II), the Payout Office will be taking appointments for Flights D, E & F. Visiting the Pre-Payout Desk, a patron who cashes in Flight D, E or F can make an appointment if they don’t want to wait for their payout.  Dedicated appointment windows will be staffed from 8am Sunday morning (June 5) until Midnight, and again on Monday, where patrons come at their scheduled time to receive a 15-minute or less completion of payout.

WSOP ChipIn – Update Your Own Chip Count!

Want to find a family member/significant other/friend/horse in the official chip count list?

We’re happy to announce that this year players will be able to update their own stack size on, so you just have to encourage your family member/significant other/friend/horse to start “chipping in” by using the WSOP ChipIn tool! The process to register is simple and straightforward (and encrypted). Participants must provide their name, Total Rewards number and their date of birth to register for a ChipIn account.  Only your name is ever displayed publicly (along with your chip count), and those details are sent encrypted to the back-end to verify the user is indeed who they say they are (so for example, you can’t pretend to be Phil Hellmuth. Why would you want to be Phil?)


The ChipIn sign up process:  Go to and get verified.  You can do this now from any phone, tablet or computer.  If doing this on a mobile device, you can easily save this link as an app on your Home Screen. For Android devices, tap the menu button and then tap Add to Home Screen.  For iOS users, tap the share button (the one that looks like a rectangle with an arrow pointing upward), and then hit the Add to Home Screen button (the one with the + sign).  This will save the ChipIn to your phone or device’s home screen, you will have your account all registered, and then you can simply open and close this app to add your chip count to the event at the WSOP you are playing.


Once at the WSOP, update your chip counts as frequently as you like (at least every level!) and from ChipIn, you will be able to see your chip count, as well as the Top 10 in the tournament.  And everyone you know will be able to follow along on without texting you a hundred times for updates!  Get Chippin’!


‘Live at the WSOP’ Web Streaming

The popular David Tuchman returns as the WSOP Lead Commentator again for 2016, joined by the talented Tatjana Pasalic, whose role will expand to include more on-air time, in addition to her duties lining up players to join Tuchman in the booth during final table play.  This year, instead of having multiple final table streams to choose from, the WSOP will focus all efforts and eyes on one final table at once, while bringing viewers inside the WSOP ropes like never before, by peering in on other final tables in action, as well as scan the Amazon Room for activity and interview opportunities.  This “Live at the WSOP” approach brings viewers all the action and excitement at the Rio for those that can’t be there in person.


All the video coverage begins on June 2, 2016, and will be housed exclusively on  An added enhancement being introduced this year will be “condensed games”.  The WSOP will take the previous day’s final table, and pare it down for viewers to get the highlights of the event in a quick format.  The goal is to start our “Live at the WSOP” coverage each day at 12 noon in Las Vegas, and come on air with a condensed game replay of the previous day, while we await the 30-minute delay required to stream final tables with hole cards.


There will be no video coverage on June 3, June 4, June 5, June 12, June 22, June 30 or July 3 as there are either no final tables taking place that day, or the production staff will be receiving the day off.  The final day of “Live at the WSOP” streaming will be on Monday, July 11. The experienced ShareHand production team returns to produce all the video coverage throughout the summer.  The production team will review the potential final tables each day, and pick one to feature.  Hole cards and graphics will be included anytime Hold’em or Omaha is the featured game, on a 30-minute delay.  If the format is any other game variant, the stream will be without hole cards, on a 5-minute delay.


New Twitter Czar

Who is best equipped to serve the poker community on social media on all things poker?  We asked ourselves that question as we looked to better communicate with players during our busiest time of the year.  We were fortunate that our friends at PocketFives were able to loan us Kevin Mathers for the duration of the summer to manage our Twitter accounts.  Kevmath, as his Twitter handle reads, won’t be abandoning his own account.  However, if your question or concern is WSOP-related, we encourage you to Tweet directly to @WSOP or @WSOPcom to get assistance.  Instead of responding on @Kevmath, Mr. Mathers will have ownership of the WSOP-run Twitter accounts, and serve up information there, to best serve the entire WSOP audience, whether that is for Rio-based WSOP events or those being held online on Nevada.  Kevin will also assist Jack Effel, aka @WSOPTD, by trying to provide information asked of Jack, since Kevin will be more available throughout than Jack can be during WSOP events.  Lastly, Kevin will also monitor the @WSOPChipIn account, the new way players can add their own chip counts to  We are very excited to have Mr. Mathers out in Las Vegas for the entire WSOP, and you will be able to find him in the WSOP Media Center if you want to say hello or buy him a drink.  We should also mention that Kevin won’t be on the accounts 100% of the time.  We have to give him some days off and manageable hours, so if you get some smarmy response, rest-assured, Kevin is off duty getting some rest. Online Poker in Nevada with $2 million in Tournament Guarantees

The truth of the matter is the WSOP’s real-money online poker offering,, did more business during last year’s WSOP, than the entire Nevada online poker market did in the 2014 calendar year combined.  There’s no doubt that prize pools swell online too during the WSOP, when Las Vegas becomes the epicenter of the game.  While the mobile app version of the online poker platform was the new wrinkle last year, allowing players to both play live at the Rio while they were playing online poker, this year, the online poker team at WSOP has come up with a huge assortment of offerings sure to whet every poker player’s appetite, regardless of your device of choice.


It starts with satellite events into the next day’s live WSOP gold bracelet event, ends with a 25-seat guarantee for WSOP Main Event seats, and when you add up everything in between, means there is more than $2 million in guarantees being offered via WSOP’s online poker platform in Nevada.


In entirety, there are over 500 events to choose from.  Nightly Qualifiers are held at 6pm, awarding seats into the next day’s event. Signature Satellites return at 4pm, where a week’s worth of satellites are offered leading up to signature events like the Casino Employees Event, Millionaire Maker, Monster Stack, Seniors Championship, Crazy Eights, Ladies Championship and Little One for One Drop.  There will be a month’s worth of satellites for the Colossus starting May 1, nightly at 7pm.


The signature series, the Online Championships, return from June 10 to July 10, with a 93-event schedule (three a day for 31 days), with over $700,000 guaranteed!


Add in the Top Up Turbo single-table satellites, the Online Bracelet event on July 9, and the Nightly $10,000 Guarantee at 6:30pm, and literally there is something for every poker player in Nevada during the WSOP.


Event #66, the Online No-Limit Hold’em gold bracelet event will now feature a live final table in the Amazon Room.  The tournament will be paused once six players remain, and the final table will be contested on Monday, July 11 at 11am on the Main Stage, as the final live web stream of the summer.


The entire online poker schedule via can be found here:

To learn more about the 2016 WSOP, please visit


To view this year’s live tournament schedule, visit


To register online for either live or online WSOP events, visit or respectively.


The WSOP’s first gold bracelet event starts five weeks today!  We hope to see you soon.


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.

206 Wayne Newton, Lake Mead and the new mating call for millennials?

Looks like Wayne Newton is coming back for a show on the Strip, dumb-dumb gangsta-wannabe gets killed flashing cash he made talking about his sexcapade on the Linq Observation Wheel, we talk about Lake Mead National Recreational Area and Mark tries to understand what appears to be the new mating call for the millennials.

All of that and so much more when Mark and Debbie Anthony sit down to do The Vegas Tourist Podcast #206 

First up is the story that just gets more weird and refuses to die.  The sexcapade on the Linq Observation Wheel.  The man of the couple, Phil Panzica, gets killed flashing the money he was paid from the TMZ show for telling his version of the events. (Review-Journal)

Wayne Newton is returning to the Strip with his own show.  Thankfully we won’t have to hear him try to sing.  But the man will come fully loaded with a lot of stories and observations from his long career and his amazing Las Vegas life.  If there is anyone who would have some great Las Vegas stories worthy of the price of admission, it would have to be our very own Wayne Newton!!  Mark talks about his trip to Vegas and seeing the Wayne Newton Show when it was at the Stardust Casino.

T-Mobile Arena opens next week.  The new 20,000 seat arena will be bringing Las Vegas into the 21st century of entertainment facilities and a long list of great shows and headliners are already booked.  The paid parking that will come to MGM when the new arena opens will be a sore point for a lot of people and the experts have spoken: Paid Parking is a deal killer for vegas tourists!

The Rock n Roll Marathon brought in $226 Million in non-gaming economic impact and the 2016 version kicks off November 10-13.  (Rock N Roll Marathon Las Vegas details)

The Vegas Black Knights will be the name for the Las Vegas NHL team when (you know it will happen) Las Vegas gets its NHL team.  Meanwhile, the hockey league is losing millions by not making it official.   What Vegas tourist doesn’t want a Las Vegas NHL Hockey sweatshirt??

Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Why was Lake Mead made into a Recreational Area and what’s under the water?  That and other questions about Lake Mead National Recreational Area is answered in my interview with Public Affairs Officer for Lake Mead National Recreation Area and Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument, Ranger Christie Vanover

Links From the Interview