Las Vegas’ hottest new celebrity has never had a hit song, been to Hollywood or performed on Broadway.
But thousands are lining up at all hours to check out the next big thing, a sure-fire long-running hit with international appeal. Caesars Entertainment appropriately christened the High Roller with Champagne gushers on Monday.
At 550-feet-high, it’s the second-tallest free-standing structure in Las Vegas, behind the 1,150-foot tall Stratosphere. The High Roller is 10 feet higher than the Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas.
The “firsts” are already rolling in on the world’s tallest observatory wheel. The first wedding is scheduled for June.
Tyson Garamendi, a 23-year-old project engineer with W.A. Richardson, the High Roller general contractor, scored the first proposal on the new attraction. Born and raised in Las Vegas, Garamendi recently bought the ring and mentioned to his boss that he was thinking of proposing on the wheel.
Garamendi said his boss “took it and ran with it.”
Garamendi told his girlfriend, Alyssa Hyams, a 22-year-old front desk receptionist at The Mirage, that they were taking one of the first rides for the soft opening. Hyams questioned why they were getting their own cabin. The wheel has 28 passenger pods attached to the rim, each with a capacity of 40 people, or 25 if a bar is installed.
Garamendi explained that the videographer was along to document their ride for the company, which has an office at the base of the wheel.
When they reached the top on the 30-minute ride, Garamendi said, he dropped to one knee and brought out the ring.
“Her first reaction was to start crying,” he added. “I don’t remember what I said, but it was a rush.”
At the end of the ride, their families greeted the engaged couple in The Linq stores with congratulatory signs before the party moved to Flour and Barley, a pizza hot spot.
“I think it’s cool,” Garamendi said. “It’s something that we’ll drive by when we have kids and grandkids and tell them how it happened.”
By the way, rides on the High Roller can be reserved at www.thelinq.com.
Sightings of country icon Willie Nelson are about as rare as Donald Trump walking past a open microphone.
Nelson, who turns 81 this month, has been intensely private over the years. He also keeps old friends close to his vest.
Nelson sent a driver on Monday to pick up longtime Las Vegas resident Don Cherry and his wife, Maxine.
They joined Nelson for dinner in one of his tour buses, which was parked at Lake Las Vegas, where Nelson performed a private concert at The Westin for Save the Children and the Cambodian Children’s Fund.
Cherry, 90, collaborated on three albums with Nelson, a multi-Grammy winner.
Cherry has the rare distinction of having a top 10 hit (“Band of Gold” in 1955) while making a name for himself on the men’s pro golf tour. As an amateur in the 1960 U.S. Open, he was in contention until Arnold Palmer roared from seven strokes back to win.
Mayor Carolyn Goodman and husband Oscar, among the special guests at Monday’s grand opening of Carlo’s Bakery Las Vegas, the latest venture by Buddy Valastro from the reality show “Cake Boss.” … Dot Marie Jones of “Glee,” receiving a tour Monday at Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at The Mirage. … Restaurateur and “Hell’s Kitchen” star Gordon Ramsay, ordering one of chef Stephen Hopcraft’s steaks at STK (Cosmopolitan) over the weekend. He was with friends and a bodyguard.
THE PUNCH LINE
“You know the 76ers don’t even have cheerleaders? They have ‘grief counselors.’” — Jimmy Fallon, after the Philadelphia 76ers tied an NBA record for losing their 26th consecutive game.
Norm Clarke’s column appears Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. He can be reached at 702-383-0244 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find more online at www.normclarke.com. Follow Norm on Twitter @Norm_Clarke. “Norm Clarke’s Vegas,” airs Thursdays on the “Morning Blend” on KTNV-TV, Channel 13.