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Aces’ celebration recalls Runnin’ Rebels’ parade

Updated September 21, 2022 - 9:39 am

It was so long ago that there was no Fremont Street Experience. But there was a Fremont Street, and also Union Plaza hotel-casino.

That was the starting point of what was, until Tuesday’s Las Vegas Aces celebration, Las Vegas’s only major sports championship parade. The UNLV Runnin’ Rebels took that route in April 1990, after beating Duke 103-73 to win the NCAA hoops title.

The merry event snaked up a pre-canopy Fremont Street, along the Strip, making a left at Tropicana Avenue and settling at a packed Thomas & Mack Center. A young Vegas broadcaster, Gary Waddell, hosted. His introduction of head coach Jerry Tarkanian brought a deafening roar.

This event was so long ago that only one Ace, guard Sydney Colson, was even born when it happened. But the Runnin’ Rebel parade is well recalled by some longtime Las Vegas residents, among them Vegas broadcast favorite Tony Cordasco.

The man known as “Dasco” in VegasVille was a member of the 1989-‘90 UNLV Runnin’ Rebels broadcast team. Cordasco also covers the Aces as for the Audacy broadcast and internet platform. He’s seen it all, between those civic tent posts.

“What I remember about that parade is the crowd was mostly on Fremont Street, and when it passed Spring Mountain on the Strip it was moving really fast,” Cordasco said Tuesday before heading to the Aces’ celebration staging site on the Strip. “Back then, it was all open-air on Fremont Street. It was crazy there. We didn’t even go downtown, because we through it was going to too tough to get in and out of there … People were right on top of the players, in the middle of the street, like they were celebrities.”

Cordasco has been involved in sports broadcasting and marketing since those days. He also covers the Raiders for CBS Radio, and also busy as a sports podcaster.

Through it all he’s become an Aces expert.

“I have been with the Aces since Day One, and as soon as I went to that first game, I was hooked on women’s basketball,” Cordasco says, giving a nod to the team’s roster, owner and head coach. “The WNBA has so much going for it. The players, Mark Davis and Becky Hammon, have taken the league to an entirely different level.”

Cordasco mentioned the Aces’ single-ticket price for regular-season games starting at $10.

“They’ve done everything right,” Cordasco says. “They created the blueprint for everyone else in the league on how to create excitement around a team.” And there is excitement in winning a championship, and why we shut down the Strip.

Miller leaves Venetian/Palazzo

Neil Miller, who spent nearly a decade at The Venetian/Palazzo as the resorts’ lead entertainment executive, has announced his departure. Miller says the “handwriting was on the wall” under the hotel’s new ownership.

Former Cosmopolitan GM Patrick Nichols has stepped in for George Markantonis as Venetian/Palazzo CEO. Michael Gruber, a former Caesars Entertainment executive, heads up all Venetian/Palazzo live entertainment and hospitality as chief content officer.

Scott’s return

Hip-hop superstar Travis Scott opened his first Las Vegas residency with an explosive set at Zouk Nightclub at Resorts World on Saturday night. “Road to Utopia” is the title and theme, as Scott leapt from the stage to the crowd for “Sicko Mode” and a show-closing “Goosebumps.” He’s back Oct. 15, with at least five additional performances to be added.

This is Scott’s first extended engagement since he headlined the tragic Astroworld music festivall in Houston last November. It’s a residency to watch.

The Osmond watch

Donny Osmond has added dates January through May to his Harrah’s Showroom residency. Those shows run Jan. 24-May 27 (tickets are on sale 10 a.m. Friday at Ticketmaster.com). If Osmond keeps this level of commitment, they’ll name the place for him.

His way

Old Blue Eyes seems to live forever. “Frankly Frank,” a tribute to Frank Sinatra, opens Nov. 6 at Alexis Park. The show runs 5:30 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays. The production joins “Carpenters Legacy,” “All Motown,” and the Elvis show “All Shook Up” at the off-Strip hotel. “We’ve definitely found a niche in ‘Classic Vegas Entertainment,’” venue operator Pete Housley says, accurately.

Who Was Where

Barry Manilow guitarist Mike Dent sat in for a spell during Santa Fe & The Fat City Horns’ set Monday night at Copa Room at Bootlegger Bistro. This is an indication that Manilow himself is back at International Theater at Westgate Las Vegas. Wave to keyboardist Joey Melotti. He loves that.

Cool Hang Alert

The amazing vocalist Sandy Knights is hosting her “Postponed Birthday” show at Kenny Davidsen’s Friday-night gig at Tuscany’s Piazza lounge. The theme is 1980s. Singing songs from that decade is required. Dressing in that era is “strongly encouraged.” It all all kicks off at 9 p.m., runs until 1 a.m. or so. You’ll recognize Kenny for his bow-tie, high vocals and the band behind him. And, no cover.

**

XXX

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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