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'Events Network’ rebirth?
by Harry Spencer
Jun 18, 2010 | 1002 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Interesting reading was on the front page of Thursday’s edition of the Sparks Tribune. It concerned a meeting of special events people and businessmen at the Grand Sierra Resort to discuss the impact the events have on the local economy.

For a number of years, up until several years ago, there was an organization in the area that was called The Events Network of Northern Nevada (TENNN).

TENNN was open to special events managers and the group met on a regular basis to exchange ideas, set some policy and to work to promote each others’ events. Since none of the special events represented at TENNN were in competition with one another, the meetings were cordial and friendly.

In addition to featuring a comprehensive report on the next upcoming special event, the meeting usually was held at the site of that particular event. Places such as the Reno Rodeo fairgrounds, the Reno Air Races Offices, the Washoe County Fairgrounds offices and the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts were particularly popular.

TENNN’s objective was to provide an opportunity to neophyte special events managers to get together with veterans in the field in order to pick up tips on the ins and outs of producing such events.

The so-called charitable phase of TENNN was to fund a special events class at the college level and to award diplomas to the successful participants.

A few of the leaders in the old TENNN organizations were the late Amy Bennett, Skip Lipman and Jim Webster. The organization fell apart when its treasury was depleted in order to help the struggling Great Reno Balloon Races. Some of the directors of TENNN felt it was not the organization’s duty to “fund” any particular event at the expense of all the other events and its scholarship college course.

Since that time, there has been no serious effort made to organize event producers until the public report published on Thursday. However, that meeting might have reawakened the desire to get something like TENNN going again.

Tuesday’s meeting came at a most propitious time in that this weekend marks the kick-off of the 2010 special events season in northern Nevada. Leading the charge is the 91st edition of the area’s oldest event, the Reno Rodeo.

It is significant that the rodeo starts things off since, in addition to the many attractive sessions it offers, it is symbolic of a very significant part of the history of this area — ranches and cowboys. Even the TV rodeo commercials this year hearken back to the roots of the rodeo.

Joining the Reno Rodeo this weekend are some other major special events such as the Tour de Nez bicycle race, the Lake Tahoe Concours d'Elegance, a new extreme motocross and off-road race at the Grand Sierra Resort, several classic car shows — most notably at the Atlantis and the Bonanza casinos — plus a full schedule of activities at the now popular Sparks Marina.

Traditionally, the local special events season kicks off with the rodeo and ends in October with the tried and true Eldorado Italian Festival in downtown Reno. Along the way this year, we have Star Spangled Sparks, the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, the Reno Tahoe Open, Hot August Nights, the renamed state fair, the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off, the Great Reno Balloon Races, the Virginia City Camel Races, the National Championship Air Races, Street Vibrations and the Italian festival.

A relatively new special event, the Reno River Festival, takes its chances, weather-wise, in May and is proving to grow each year.

Not receiving the attention of or coverage by the press are the numerous runs that are held for charitable causes throughout the year. The granddaddy of those events is the famous Journal Jog, which has been around for decades.

Probably no other place in the world is better suited than northern Nevada for the diversity of special events that can be held here. There really is something for everyone and having been involved in the inception of the air races and the camel races, I am eagerly awaiting the next “major” event to come down the pike.

Celebrity Corner

Watching old TV regular Western programs on the cable channel, one gets to see some relatively famous stars in the early stages of their careers.

Most notably, they seem to have appeared in segments of "Gunsmoke," "Paladin" and "Cimarron Strip." Sometimes you have to wait for the credits to make sure that you correctly identified the blossoming headliners. Such was the case the other night when, after an especially well-crafted "Paladin" episode, I chanced to spot the name of a later-to-be famous screenwriter’s credit along with the performers. His name was Gene Roddenberry, who later shot to the A-list in Hollywood when he created "Star Trek."

At first, the outer space franchise was shot on a shoestring budget with mostly cardboard sets and it looked like it was doomed to a short run. Then, it became a cult classic and the eventual TV and movie spinoffs made Roddenberry a very wealthy man.

Harry Spencer is a freelance writer in Reno. His column about the past and present of northern Nevada appears weekly in the Tribune.

Editor's note: Opinions expressed in Harry Spencer's column are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Tribune.

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