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July 29, 2014

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Strip Scribbles: Super trucks, super bagger, super chefs and Santana’s super gift

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Darrin Bush/Las Vegas News Bureau

The 2013 World Food Championships in downtown Las Vegas on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013.

It’s a one-day-only event and a Las Vegas first. As part of the automotive trade show SEMA, a seven-turn asphalt track has been constructed at Caesars Palace for today’s Stadium Super Truck challenge.

Reminiscent of when Evel Knievel flew over the fountains there, these Stadium Super Trucks deliberately drift the course and then fly over specially constructed metal ramps.

SST Series President Robby Gordon has brought the off-road racing to the mainstream in an attempt to revive its popularity 20 years ago. He said: “It’s unheard of to present a race like this at Caesars and the Forum Shops, but it has always been my dream.

“To race SST trucks here on the Strip are something phenomenal. It’s a whole new level of exciting entertainment for Caesars.”

In addition to the SST lineup, there will be modified trophy kart and USA Pro SuperMoto race events on the track, but only for today.

GROCERY-BAGGING CHAMP: Every year since 1987, the National Grocers Association has sponsored a national competition to find the best bagger in America, and the new winner will be crowned during the finals at the Mirage on Feb. 11. Each state selects its winner, and 20 of the best make it to Las Vegas.

Last year’s winner among 23 finalists was Andrew Borracchini of Washington state, who walked away with a $10,000 prize that he’s using for his first-year tuition at Seattle University. His best advice: “Never squish the eggs. They always go on top with the bread, and cans always go on the bottom.”

Judging is based on speed, skill and personability. “It’s a fun event, but the importance to us is that the bagger is probably the most important person in a store, the last person a shopper sees before he leaves,” said association spokeswoman Eileen Munster.

Cabins Attached to High Roller

The final cabin is attached to the High Roller on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013. Launch slideshow »

MORE CABINS: Another four passenger cabins made the 10-mile journey to the Linq’s High Roller observation wheel through the darkness under Nevada Highway Patrol escort early this morning. The first High Roller cab, each of which holds 40 passengers, was delivered Monday to the $550 million outdoor entertainment district with retail stores and restaurants.

It has already been positioned at the mid-center point of the rim. Another 23 cabins will be shipped in for attachment to the wheel for the next two months, and then it will be ready to ride.

2013 World Food Championships

Competitors Michael Poyiadjis, left, and Sarel Van Sabie, both from South Africa, sample some chicken and chat with Elliot Aquila from the Texas Social Club during the World Food Championships on Fremont Street Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013. The competitions continue through the weekend. Launch slideshow »

Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert at Pearl

Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert during Launch slideshow »

BUSY FOOD WEEKEND: Four days of the 2013 World Food Championships get underway today for $300,000 in prizes for the seven food category winners. Then those seven will all meet for just one to be crowned World Champion. The categories are barbecue, chili, burger, dessert, sandwich, recipe and bacon, all of America’s top comfort foods, and more than 400 chefs are taking part.

I will be one of the Final Table judges on Sunday afternoon for three hours on Fremont Street. The events are being videotaped for an A&E special next year hosted by Food Network star Ben Vaughn. Preliminary judges include Claire Sinclair, Ricardo Laguna, Tracey Gittins, Steve Benjamin, Dave Anderson and Ben Ford, whose father is Harrison Ford.

Then I’ll join chef Anthony Bourdain for his live one-hour season finale of “Parts Unknown” on CNN from Atomic Liquors at 7 p.m. PT /10 p.m. ET. The retrospective episode will feature Wendell Pierce, Marcus Samuelsson, Roy Choi, Bonnie McFarlane and Don Lemon.

We’re expecting a lively debate on food sustainability, the obesity epidemic and guns in America as Anthony roams the bar. He will start shooting Season 3 of his eight-episode series with a tour of Brazil, an African safari and a secret Las Vegas visit. He selected Atomic because patrons used to watch the Nevada Test Site nuclear explosions from its rooftop patio.

Carlos Santana at Las Vegas Rescue Mission

Carlos Santana at the Las Vegas Rescue Mission on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013. Launch slideshow »

Stars at Vince Neil’s Tatuado, Eat, Drink, Party

D.J. Ashba, Vince Neil, Michael Godard and Carrot Top at Vince Neil’s Tatuado, Eat, Drink, Party on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013, at Circus Circus. Launch slideshow »

STAR SURVEILLANCE

Guitar guru and House of Blues at Mandalay Bay resident headliner Carlos Santana visited Las Vegas Rescue Mission and gave the evening meal blessing for the residents of the shelter and its recovery program. He talked to many of them, posed for photos, and, before leaving, his foundation made a gift to the mission. Executives there asked me to post this item so people knew of Santana’s generosity with his time and money.

Celebrities partying at the new Vince Neil Tatudo, Eat, Drink, Party in Circus Circus already include D.J. Ashba, Coolio, Michael Godard, Carrot Top, Vinnie Paul, Chuck McCann, Murray Sawchuck, Sin City Sinners, “Raiding the Rock Vault” stars and yours truly.

Mario Andretti, known by fans and media alike as the greatest racecar driver in history, enjoyed a Campari and orange juice at Luxe Bar in the Hard Rock Hotel on Wednesday night. On Tuesday night, he dined at Golden Steer Steakhouse and happily posed for photographs with fans.

Opportunity Village's 2011 Magical Forest

Robin Leach and Angel Porrino at Opportunity Village's Magical Forest on Dec. 19, 2011. Launch slideshow »

CAMELOT AFFAIR: Opportunity Village’s annual dazzling holiday display the Magical Forest is unveiled tonight with a salute to Barrick Gold Corp. for its contributions and efforts to helping O.V.’s clients with disabilities. Bally’s headliner Veronic DiCaire and The Dueling Pianos from New York-New York will entertain, among others, Gov. Brian Sandoval, Bill Walters and MGM President Scott Sibella. I’ll be part of the black-tie affair under a tented area for cocktails, a five-star dinner and silent and live auctions. It’s a very special night for a very special cause.

TONIGHT’S TIPS

Husband-and-wife Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis headline the 5th annual cabaret benefitting Aid for AIDS of Nevada at Cabaret Jazz in Smith Center. I’ve worked several TV productions with the former 5th Dimension members when we produced “Solid Gold” in the 1980s.

They are two of the nicest showbiz people you could ever meet and have won seven Grammy Awards and racked up 15 gold and platinum albums. Married for 44 years, they will perform their hits, including “Up, Up & Away,” “One Less Bell” and “Let the Sunshine In/Aquarius.” It’s an evening not to miss, and proceeds go to AFAN.

Producer David Saxe mixes the walking dead with retro burlesque for his new “Zombie Burlesque” opening at his V Theater in Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood.

The Mob Museum hosts a panel discussion taking a look at the assassination of President John F. Kennedy 50 year ago.

Sage the Gemini is at Tao in the Venetian.

Nervo is at Hakkasan at MGM Grand.

DJ Jus-Ske is at Surrender in Steve Wynn’s Encore.

TOMORROW’S TEASE

It’s a weekend of super events up and down the Strip with World Food Championships downtown, the Big Smoke for cigar aficionados at the Mirage and a comedy showdown between Tim Allen and Lewis Black as Tim McGraw and Faith Hill return to the Venetian. Cirque du Soleil celebrates 20 years in Las Vegas with its fourth-annual Cirque Week, and we get ready for 11/12/13 weddings and the opening of the downtown Grand Hotel.

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.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.

Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

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