Super stunt shows she's still the one


Shania Twain and her team kept a big secret under their hats since April.

The idea popped up at a brainstorming session by members of a Caesars Palace public relations team.

"We were sitting on the Margaritaville patio," recalled Kelly Frey, "when someone wondered if we could shut down the Strip and have a horse stampede."

And that is how one of the city's biggest publicity stunts in decades took off.

Frey described JGS Group owner Judy Gilday-Shaffer as the "queen bee" of the event.

It's one thing to close Las Vegas Boulevard for NASCAR's best drivers and their racecars. It's a whole different animal to herd 40-some horses down the Strip, with Twain taking part in the grand entrance.

"It took a village," Frey said.

And a team of rodeo veterans.

Several of the wranglers will work the upcoming National Finals Rodeo as pickup men. Most of the horses came from the Growney Brothers Rodeo Company in Red Bluff, Calif.

Almost all of the horses were mares heavy with foal because mustangs would have been a nightmare, said California cowboy Pat Russell, in charge of bringing in the horses.

South Point casino owner Michael Gaughan let the horses and wranglers stay there.

Among the lead wranglers was South Point general manager Ryan Growney, no relation to the rodeo stock contractors. It was one of those epic Vegas moments Growney said he will never forget.

"To turn around and see this herd of bucking horses coming at you against the backdrop of the Eiffel Tower, the Bally's video board and the Bellagio, that's just surreal."

Equally unforgettable, Growney said, was seeing awestruck patio diners at Guy Savoy's tony restaurant watch the improbable scene unfold on Las Vegas Boulevard.

Morale was high among the wranglers, said Russell, still a horseman at 71.

"Every one of 'em wanted to help boost (Twain) on her horse," he said.

A rehearsal was held Tuesday at the South Point arena, but without Twain. Word has it she didn't want to be spotted and let the secret get out. 

Wednesday she followed the herd down the Strip before circling back and riding her horse, El Alcazar, onto a red carpet in front of the famous fountains at Caesars.

Stay tuned: There are rumblings that a half-dozen horses will be part of her show, which starts Dec. 1. 

References to "The Electric Horseman" already have begun. Much of the 1979 film, starring Robert Redford, Jane Fonda and Willie Nelson, was filmed at Caesars.

THE SCENE AND HEARD

Longtime Las Vegas restaurateur Bobby Capozzoli, who befriended the Rat Pack, Liberace, Joe Pesci and Tom Jones, died Tuesday, a day after his 71st birthday. Capozzoli's son, Bobby Jr., said his father arrived in Las Vegas in 1972 and worked at the Tower of Pizza, a hangout for many colorful characters. He later worked at the family-operated Capozzoli's on Maryland Parkway, where Jones partied and sang until sunrise . Capozzoli also was involved in Casa Di Amore and De Stefano's.

THE PUNCH LINE

"News from the world of auction houses: Christie's last night auctioned off a 76-carat diamond. I believe it was purchased by General (David) Petraeus for his wife." - David Letterman

Norm Clarke can be reached at 702-383-0244 or norm@reviewjournal.com. Find additional sightings and more online at www.normclarke.com. Follow Norm on Twitter @Norm_Clarke. His weekly segment, "Norm Clarke's Vegas," airs during the "Morning Blend" on KTNV-TV, Channel 13 every Thursday.

 

Rules for posting comments

Comments posted below are from readers. In no way do they represent the view of Stephens Media LLC or this newspaper. This is a public forum. Read our guidelines for posting. If you believe that a commenter has not followed these guidelines, please click the FLAG icon next to the comment.