CEO Rossi Ralenkotter was a late arrival to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.
Exactly one hour late.
“I had been working at Centel phone company, where our day started at 9 o’clock in the morning,” Rallenkotter said at Sunday’s Big League Weekend game between the Cubs and Indians at Cashman Field, where he was honored with a No. 45 birthday cake to honor his 45 years with the authority. “I showed up at 9, when I thought I was supposed to be there, and they asked, ‘Where have you been?’ I thought we started everything at 9 in those days.”
Three hours later, Ralenkotter had lunch with then-ABC sportscaster and ex-NFL great Frank Gifford. That Friday, he met Dick Clark, host of “American Bandstand,” who had booked a bunch of acts at the Las Vegas Hilton’s lounge.
“That was my first week,” Ralenkotter said. “Not a bad way to start.”
Ralenkotter wore a Cincinnati Reds hat and jersey (he’s also a big backer of the Bengals) as he chatted with Las Vegas 51s President and Chief Operating Officer Don Logan, who cut in with, “Hey, I have 35 years here!”
But Logan got no cake.
Forty-five years ago, Ralenkotter was hired as a research analyst. In 2004, he took over for Manny Cortez as the authority’s president. Rallenkotter graduated from Bishop Gorman High School, attended Arizona State University and received a master’s degree from UNLV.
A favorite Ralenkotter story: When he was in high school, he attended both Beatles concerts at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Aug. 20, 1964.
“They booked the show at the Sahara, in the showroom, for one show,” Ralenkotter said. “Then they found out tickets were selling so fast they moved it to the Convention Center. Then they added a second show. It was just crazy, and a great time for the city.”