Editorial: Why VegasTripping Matters
I'm pretty bummed I'm not able to travel to Las Vegas this weekend to celebrate the 10th anniversary of VegasTripping with my fellow Trippers. Since I can't be there, I thought I'd take the opportunity to reflect a bit on what makes the VT community so important and why it's still relevant after all these years.
My love for Vegas started during a 2006 visit with my wife and friends. I'd been before in the early '90s but it didn't stick. Places change, people change. I had such a great time that year I started planning a return trip before we left.
I've always been a planner and this shit wasn't cutting it any more, so I sought travel advice on the web. I landed on the Las Vegas Advisor where I faithfully read the Question of the Day. I learned about coupons and free play from the Queen of Comps and a few video poker tricks from Bob Dancer. I even took a little advice from CheapoVegas when it was still those funny guys.
However, my background as a business journalist pushed me toward David McKee and his regular Stiffs and Georges column. The more I read, the more interested I became in the business of Vegas. The more interested I became in the business of Vegas, the more I started reading about some podcast thing called The Vegas Gang and some event called Vegas Podcast-A-Palooza. I started reading Jeff Simpson's column in the Sun's business weekly.
A name kept popping up as I read: Chuckmonster. Chuckmonster of the blog, VegasTripping, said this. Chuckmonster of the blog, VegasTripping, said that. Who the hell is Chuckmonster?
In one Google search, I found VT and a group of kindred souls. Holy shit. Who are these guys, I wondered.
There's this MikeE guy who just posted an insane video of some freaking unbelievable suite at Wynn. And that Blackjacker is like a real architect who knows all this architecture stuff. And JohnH, he counted the columns in the renderings at Aria. And RockChick, she went to the Hooters casino hotel and posted a video of the rattling window unit air conditioner. And Vespajet, he knows everything. And Hunter, he writes apps whatever those are. I love these people.
But mostly, there's this Chuckmonster guy. Wow, what journalistic panache. He has it. He calls bullshit the second he sniffs it and goes straight to the source to ask someone about it. He asks important questions. He pays attention to details. Then he packages it with humor and a style that you can't get away with in print journalism. He's as close to Raoul Duke as you get these days.
I waded in slowly. It was a time when you could tell yourself that anonymity on the Internet existed. So I picked the name BigG when I was setting up my VT account. But BigG was taken. Years ago, when I worked at the Vista Haus in Breckenridge, Colo., our baker, Dan the Baker, called me Big Hoss the Great American. Since BigG was taken, I figured BigHoss would work.
I commented some, started a few threads on The Board. But mostly, I started to get to know the individuals I was communicating with on VegasTripping. I chit-chatted with FiveHundy enough to figure out what the hell a podcast was. Thankfully, AnitaMartini was there when I finally arrived.
After I discovered podcasts, I learned about VegasGang and more about Hunter and Chuck and Dr. Dave and Jeff. I was still seeking out ancillary Vegas websites and found my old friend Misnomer over at VegasVerses.com in the days before he came over to VT full time.
Then came the morning when I photographed a turd in the Wynn pool. At that point, I figured I was all-in on this Internet hoohah. I started contributing more frequently and even signed up for that Twitter thing. I had to add an extra "s" to BigHoss since BigHoss was already taken, a fact that endlessly amused the late Jeff Simpson.
Next thing I know, all of my best friends are in California or New York or Vegas or Canada or Atlanta or traveling around the world for a year or so.
So why does VegasTripping matter? The people.
On the surface, it's the ultimate Vegas enabler. But, spend the time and effort to look a little deeper and it's about the people, the community, the friends.
Thanks to VegasTripping, I have:
- Gone to Jackie Gaughan's 91st birthday party (that is me reaching for a napkin) with Dr. Dave, even sitting in on an interview with El Cortez's Mike Nolan before the cake and punch;
- Banged my head at a Judas Priest concert with Misnomer, Chuck, Hunter, MissMonkay, Goon and Megan;
- Enjoyed gravy at DuPar's with Misnomer, Vespajet, DonnyMac, Spyder and Mrs. Hoss;
- Offended a stranded driver in front of TI while in a limo/Escalade with Mike_E, John_H, Misnomer and Mrs. Hoss on the way to Bouchon;
- Had one or more too many 18A cocktails during brunch at Comme Ca with Vajohna after Blackjacker and John_H left;
- Just in time to face JeffInOKC during VT MatchGame at the inaugural #VIMFP followed by voguing with RobbieNomi and BriGee in my new Harrah's winter gear, courtesy of Scott Roeben, Maria Roncal, Eric Peterson and Jay Fenster;
- Started curating Hunter's Flipboard mag called Viva Vegas with Mr. Ferret himself, Mac78130;
- Hung out with Level42 and Goon at one of the coolest places not on Fremont;
- Enjoyed a few cocktails at my home in Western North Carolina with MiddleClassBuzz;
- Looked to my left in the tram between Excalibur and Mandalay Bay to see Minton;
- Unexpectedly run into AnitaMartini while leaving McCarran with Mrs. Hoss, then sharing a limo ride and some bubbly with her on the way to meet up with FiveHundy; and
- Witnessed FiveHundy's reaction to pizza with a raw egg cracked on it with Blackjacker and AnitaMartini.
I'm sure there's more, a lot more. Sorry if I left anyone out. My point is that VegasTripping has created a real community, a tangible group of friends whom I love and enjoy.
Thanks to everyone who has been a part of it, mostly to the head tripper Chuckmonster. Thanks for all your time and passion in bringing this bunch together. Selah.
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