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Wife of former UNLV coach dies, leaves behind pet menagerie

The obituary said Vicki Jean Spoonhour was 63 when she died, that she was the former wife of UNLV basketball coach Charlie Spoonhour. And that the two shared a love for music, the St. Louis Cardinals and rescuing injured, neglected and mistreated animals.

When Vicki died April 30, she left behind years of memories with Spoon, who preceded her in death in 2012 after being diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis.

She also left behind four dogs and seven cats.

Talk about a deep bench.

The pets are being cared for by Cynthia Bruce (and her friend Sue Sandoval), who babysat the menagerie when the Spoonhours traveled on vacation and to Cardinals spring training — they were friends with St. Louis manager Tony La Russa, himself an animal rescuer and advocate — and when Charlie had lung transplant surgery at Duke University Medical Center.

One of the dogs, a mini Poodle named Lewis, is blind and hard of hearing. But he still gets around well with his brother Pancake, and the other little dogs named Wylie and Little. The seven cats are Coco and Chanel; Benny and Jett; Trumper, Rainbow and Priscilla.

“Every pet they had, they rescued,” Bruce said of the Spoonhours’ devotion to animals. “I’m taking care of them the way Vicki would have done it — trying to find the best homes, the best situation, trying to honor her wishes.”

She is hoping to find a few Rebels fans or pet lovers to honor the coach and his wife by adopting one (or more) of their “babies.” She can be reached via email at cyrblv@gmail.com.

Around the horn

— More from Las Vegas’ Kurt Busch about NASCAR’s Sunday reboot at Darlington, South Carolina: “It will be exciting to say the least. When I ran the Indianapolis 500 a few years ago, everybody was hyped up and going three-wide into turn one. This will be the same thing for us.”

— To which his younger brother Kyle promptly disagreed during remarks to NBCSN: “For me, I’m going to fire off the race around 50 percent at turn one. When the first caution flies around lap 30 … I think that will be firing off time and (everyone will be) ready to go after it.”

— The NFL Films series “NFL 100: Greatest” continues on NBC this weekend with the greatest games, game changers and plays. The Raiders will be featured in two: Former owner, general manager and coach Al Davis was ranked the No. 3 Game Changer; Franco Harris’ “Immaculate Reception” touchdown catch and run for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1972 AFC Divisional Playoffs against the Raiders was tabbed the NFL’s Greatest Play of all time.

—- The annual American Motorcycle Association Supercross event — which packed them in at Sam Boyd Stadium before social distancing — officially has been canceled. Originally scheduled April 25, the Las Vegas race will not be made up this year as the series will conclude with seven made-for-TV races at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City beginning May 31. The races will air on NBCSN Sunday and Wednesday through June 21.

— An aerial photo of Allegiant Stadium has social media users comparing the spectacular new home of the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders to a Roomba. For those not domestically inclined, a Roomba is a robotic vacuum cleaner that doesn’t work nearly as well as a Hoover pushed by hand.


The running of the Preakness was supposed to be Saturday, so Las Vegas based pro sports bettor — and former Pimlico Race Course oddsmaker and analyst — Frank Carulli shared Preakness anecdotes via email. One was about when Stephen A. Smith appliying for press box credentials for the 2004 running after the deadline.

This was before he went to ESPN and become both famous and somewhat irritating. The bombastic Smith received a surprise that (nearly) rendered him speechless.

“You’re in the auxiliary press box on the second floor,” he was told.

Carulli said Smith was sent to the musty receptacle, whose primary features were moldy folding tables and chairs, a musty odor and a view of the Pimlico backstretch far removed from the 124,351 spectators.

Contact Ron Kantowski at rkantowski@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0352. Follow @ronkantowski on Twitter.

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