FLASHBACKS: THE ARRIVAL OF NFR, GARTH AND ELVIS’ LAST SHOW
December 7, 1985: The National Finals Rodeo, the Super Bowl of rodeo, opens at the Thomas & Mack Center. Benny Binion and other Vegas luminaries lured the event from Oklahoma City with bigger purses and more perks, and it has remained there ever since.
December 8, 2011: Irish singer Sinead O’Connor marries Barry Herridge in a pink Cadillac at the Little White Chapel’s drive-thru window. She announces 16 days later they’re getting divorced because of family pressure on him and her passion for marijuana.
December 9, 2009: Jaimee Grubbs, one of several women involved in Las Vegas trysts with Tiger Woods in his burgeoning sex scandal, apologizes to his wife and children in an interview with the TV show Extra. But she adds, “If it wasn’t me, it was going to be other girls.”
December 10, 1992: Wolfgang Puck opens Spago at The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace. It’s an immediate hit in the land of big buffets, ushering in the age of celebrity chefs establishing beachheads in Las Vegas and making the city a fine dining destination.
December 11, 2009: Country star Garth Brooks comes out of semi-retirement with a series of blockbuster concerts at the Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas. He returns to the hotel frequently.
December 12, 1976: Elvis Presley performs his last show in Las Vegas, a midnight concert at the Hilton. He never returns to the city, and dies in Memphis eight months later.
December 13, 2007: Pamela Anderson and Rick Salomon (best known for his role in the Paris Hilton sex tape), separate two months after they got hitched at The Mirage. “I paid off a poker debt with sexual favors, and I fell in love,” she explained at the time. The union is annulled three months later.
December 14, 1995: The Fremont Street Experience, a massive overhead sound and light show aimed at revitalizing downtown Las Vegas, opens. A 2004 upgrade installs 12 million LED lamps and 220 speakers in the 1,500-foot-long canopy suspended 90 feet above the street.
—Researched and written by Mike Precker