Lions and tigers and bears and — llamas.
One might say llamas are Lights FC owner/CEO Brett Lashbrook’s best friend.
He arrived in the late afternoon earlier this month. He went to the fifth floor of the Plaza, in the heart of downtown Las Vegas, toting a brown and white-coated stuffed llama while walking to the poolside on this hot day.
This was a big night for the second-year owner. Then again, he lives large and this night provided a behind-the-scenes glimpse into Lashbrook’s life.
Lashbrook, 41, prepared for a special Lights team photo, which followed a day of organizing props and securing celebrity impersonators at Cashman Field. He has seen his 20-plus years of soccer endeavors come to fruition. His team ranks as one of the United Soccer League’s attendance leaders.
Known to push the limits for promotions, Lashbrook called this one “the most epic sports team photo in all-time history.” Then he delivered.
“Last year, we said we wanted to do something that was different than a typical boring team photo, which is guys in front, hands on the knees, guys in the back standing up,” Lashbrook said. “Then there is a riser, and everyone looks so serious, and like no one is having any fun, then you got some guys in suits in a stadium with empty seats.
“Uh, boring. Oh, my God. That’s so boring.”
The vision came after dinner with Plaza officials, meeting at the rooftop pool. He saw the skyline, mountains, decorations and neon lights.
“Let’s put another layer of the cake on. We’ve got to have the mayor (Carolyn Goodman),” Lashbrook said. “If you have the mayor, you have to have Oscar (former Mayor Goodman). If you have to have Oscar, you have to have showgirls. If you’re going to have showgirls, you might as well have Elvis.
“If you’re going to have Elvis, you need Marilyn. One thing led to another, and next thing you know Flavor Flav’s on the line, and next thing you know, this is what we’re doing!”
Roll out the red carpet
Hip-hop artist Flavor Flav, best known as a member of “Public Enemy,” was the first to make an appearance, showcasing his famous clock necklace.
“To me, this is kind of exciting,” he said. “I’m kind of honored that the Lights would want me to come down to take a picture with them.
“My man Brett (Lashbrook) wanted me to come down. But the most exciting thing about this is just being around the team …”
Next, attorney Ed Bernstein showed up at the team photo shoot.
“This is so typical of the Las Vegas Lights,” he said. “They are the coolest, edgiest, soccer team in the universe.
“… This photograph will be a collector’s item.”
The Goodmans then made their way to the photo shoot party — on what was election night for Carolyn Goodman.
In his signature move, Oscar Goodman raised a martini glass as the bulbs went off.
“Las Vegas is the greatest city in the history of the world, and we do things differently than any other city that ever existed,” he said. “And tonight’s another example of that. It’s as cool as it gets.”
Carolyn Goodman then lauded Lashbrook.
“He’s probably one of the best ambassadors for the city of Las Vegas, more than anybody I know — almost including my husband,” she said.
Jonathan Eskin covers the Lights for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Who: OKC Energy FC (5-5-7) at Lights FC (6-6-4)
What: United Soccer League match
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Cashman Field
TV: KVCW-12; streaming: ESPN Plus
Radio: Spanish only, KENO-AM (1460)
Tickets: Starting at $10 at LightsFC.com/Tix or at La Bonita Supermarkets for $9