That's right. You may have thought Terry Fator was doing his first new Las Vegas show last night at the Mirage, but he didn't. Instead, he opened at the $10 million dollar USBC Bowling Lanes at Cashman Center.
Of course he had his puppets for the performance. He was joined by 'The Lovely Emma', 'Winston The Impersonating Turtle', and 'Maynard the Elvis Impersonator". The puppets were also gracious enough to let the 2007 America's Got Talent winner to do a solo number.
OK, so you're probably wondering what's up. Terry's 'opening' was for Bowlfest, the kickoff of the United States Bowling Congress Open Bowling Championships for 2009. The 60 lane, $10 million dollar bowling center was built inside the Cashman Convention Center in downtown Las Vegas. For the next 5 months from 7 AM to 2 AM, an estimated 85,000 bowlers will bowl approximately 700,000 games while participating in the competition. The Masters are on ESPN today, February 15.
The lane construction began in mid December with a crew of 40 installing the 60 lane Brunswick bowling center, grandstands and lighting. After the 154 days of bowling, they'll tear it all down. The USBC says it is worth the effort, as it's the largest participatory sports event in the nation. It's also one of the oldest, having begun in 1901, even before there was a Las Vegas, and has missed only 1943-45 for WW II.
The USBC also estimates the event's economic impact for Las Vegas at $100 million, and 17,200 teams of 5 players have already entered. A testament to the popularity of Las Vegas as a vacation destination, that number is second only to the 17,285 entries of the 1995 Reno event, where the USBC permanent bowling stadium is now located.
The night's opening celebration crowd was all ages, from children to senior adults. Besides the always fantastic performance of Terry, there was a local media bowling challenge, and some amazing and humorous trick shots that included the Jim Cripps the 'Backwards Bowler', who when he isn't bowling is a REALTOR® from Middle Tennessee. There was also a marketplace to check out the latest bowling gear, an autograph area where you could meet with the pros, and then later they tossed T Shirts out to the crowd. Here's a variety of pictures from Bowlfest.
I've mentioned before that I've been to and really enjoyed Terry's show. He did have to run after his 'opening' performance, to his real opening tonight at Mirage Las Vegas. I plan to visit him at his new home as soon as my schedule allows. His show currently runs Tuesday - Saturday (Check for any dark days) at 7:30 PM. Preview shows have begun and run through March 13, when he will have his official premier. Tickets are available through the Mirage website, and you can find out more about Terry here at his website TerryFator.com.
He's not only a wonderful performer, he's captured that old Vegas style of turning up in the community, so it's a pleasure to have him as a neighbor here in the Las Vegas Valley. Entertainers like him, and all the community events, are part of what makes Las Vegas a great place to call home.
If you are interested in relocating to Las Vegas or would like more information on Las Vegas real estate, please email me, Roberta LaRocca, at email@example.com,
or call 702-354-8988. I look forward to hearing from