LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) – Las Vegas has long been known as the entertainment capital of the world, but most recently it’s also taken its place as a major market for major sporting events.

“At one time we couldn’t even get a major team here, because of our gambling. We were the gambling Mecca of the world, and they were afraid of that combination, but now that doesn’t make any difference anymore,” says Claytee White, Director of UNLV’s Oral History Research Center.

The Center looking to hear the story of sports here in the Las Vegas Valley through the anecdotes of those who call it home.

“You’re probably thinking about just the major sports. You’re probably thinking about the Raiders, hockey, the Aces, you’re probably thinking about those sports. Yes, we’re very, very interested in that,” says White. “But we’re not just going to do those types of sports, we’re not just going to do tennis, Andre Agassi and Stephi Graff, we’re not just doing that – we’re doing that in addition to the sports that have been here for eons, decades.”

White’s talking about “Game On!,” the center’s latest project.

“We’re going to do boxing and golf, and sports like the corporate challenges. We used to have a corporate challenge team here at the library, where we were the best at ping pong, so we’re doing all of that. We’re going to do Helldorado, we’re going to look at the rodeo, early rodeos in the town,” she shares. “It is going to be a major effort to include all the sports. Racing, we have the Speedway, so we’re going to do all of that.”

But researchers also want to hear about the games people play in neighborhood parks, and in their backyards.

“It’s not just going to be the biggies getting all of the headlines, we’re doing everybody. And then it’s going to be a cross-section. We want to look at all communities and see which sports have been…community builders for all of our communities throughout the city.”

White says it’ll take more than two years to complete all the interviews the project wants and needs, and she shares, the list is already getting long.

“We already have a list of about 60 people that we’d like to interview and now people are starting to send us all kinds of additional names.”

And they want even more! The center is actively seeking nominees through its website.

“It’s going to be a lot, and we’re going to have a lot of fun, and we’re going to learn a lot.”

White believes what we’ll learn most, is how much progress we’ve made over the decades.

“We have just come so far in this city being the entertainment capital of the world, so not just on stage now, but we’re talking about on the fields as well. So it’s going to be, it’s a renaissance and we’re going to capture what that renaissance looks like.”


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