If the hundreds of bronzed, bikini-clad young women at Rehab, the booze-fueled pool party held every summer Sunday at the Hard Rock Hotel, aren’t enough for the eyes, fret not, partygoers. Enter: the Bikini Invitational bikini competition. A beauty pageant without the trappings of the talent and interview portions, dozens of minimally clothed women spent five consecutive Sundays sauntering and kiss-blowing their way to the hearts of adoring vacationers, reality show personalities and local celebrity judges (who critiqued the women on overall appearance, personality and stage presence, according to competition creator Roni Taylor).
“Does anyone have a safety pin?” asked one contestant in the suite where the girls holed up between rounds, doubtlessly to fasten together one of the suits bearing the rhinestones, sequins or animal prints that were all but requisite. Perhaps in celebration of Independence Day, more than a few contestants donned American flag-themed getups. America may never have been so popular at the pool, as judged from the booming vocalizations of some testosterone-charged admirers.
This wasn’t your run-of-the-mill spring break bikini contest: These women are industry professionals (mostly models and dancers, though both a massage therapist and a financial adviser made good showings). Hailing from Miami to the Bay Area, these ladies came from across the country to snag a piece of the $120,000 worth of cash and prizes given away, and for the chance to join the Rehab Bikini team 2014. The overall winner, Stevie Lynn of Tampa, Fla., took home $25,000 in one fell swoop in addition to her earnings from the preliminary competitions. As has mostly been the case in Vegas, wearing a little can pay a lot.
■ jessica ebelhar/las vegas review-journal