Monday, May 7, 2012 | 6:12 p.m.
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Tourists in ever-growing numbers are discovering downtown delights thanks to the amazing global popularity of three reality TV shows now being filmed there. To take advantage of the demand, a tour bus company is even setting up a new route that will transport visitors to five stops.
With “Pawn Stars,” “Rick’s Restorations” and “Count’s Kustoms” all getting in front of TV cameras, tourists make a bee-line for what’s rapidly becoming a downtown reality TV campus. It all began with Gold & Silver Pawn owners Rick Harrison, Richard Harrison and Corey Harrison and their “Pawn Stars” on the History Channel, now in its sixth hit season.
Rick’s Restorations is owned by Rick Dale (RicksRestorations.com), the star of the History Channel’s “Rick’s Restorations.” He’s moved from Centennial Hills to a 1.5-acre, 10,000-square-foot warehouse campus with room for tourists to watch his crew’s work, now in their third season of filming. Mayor Carolyn Goodman and Las Vegas City Councilman Bob Coffin will lead an official ribbon-cutting, grand-opening ceremony of Rick’s Restorations on Wednesday.
The weekly show features the Dales and their 23-man expert crew who take old, dilapidated and often-historic items and return them to their original glory. Every project is approached as a high-stakes business venture designed to restore a valuable collectible that preserves a piece of U.S. history and/or pop culture.
Motley Crue’s Vince Neil, Tommy Lee and Nikki Sixx, along with Ozzy Osbourne and artist Michael Godard, are among the fans of Count’s Kustoms and his $20,000-plus production choppers. He’s hailed as one of the best licensed dealers and builders of custom choppers and hot rods in America.
The bus line also will make stops at Jesse’s Cowtown Guitars (CowtownGuitars.com) in the Arts District on South Main Street owned by husband and wife Jesse and Roxie Amoroso and regarded as one of the best vintage guitar shops in America. Jesse first came to notice as the music expert on “Pawn Stars,” and now there’s talk of him getting his own reality TV series.
The final stop will be at the Toy Shack (LasVegasToyShack.com) on Fremont Street Experience, another one of the History Channel’s “Pawn Stars” experts specializing in vintage toys, Red Line Hot Wheels, its rare Treasure Hunt series and Transformers. Producers have already talked about a potential TV series with the store.
Rick Harrison, who tipped me to the growing tourist phenomenon, said: “It’s fantastic. Nobody would ever have guessed we’d have so many TV shows filming in downtown and that tourists from all over the world would want to come visit us all. You could actually walk between all of us, but it’s easier and more comfortable to go by bus, and it brings in visitors from the Strip, too.”
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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