As the last of the motorcycles' hum fade in the distance signaling the end of the River Run for this year, the Tropicana Laughlin prepares to welcome more wheels of a different sort to the resort.
The property is hosting one of the biggest block parties in town, the Cinco de Mayo Celebration & Car Show, Friday-Sunday, May 3-5. The celebration is bursting at the seams as more entertainment options, more cars and more fun have become the norm each and every year.
With Louie and Cynthia Rojas of Happy Time Events organizing the Cinco de Mayo Car Show and outside activities in the front parking lot behind the In-N-Out Burger, the event has been in good hands since the beginning.
The Rojases know all about producing car shows because they have done just that for years in San Bernardino, California.
They first partnered with the Tropicana Laughlin to stage the "Viva Tropicana Car Show," followed by the "Fiesta Car Show," and the "Cinco de Mayo Car Show."
"It keeps getting bigger," Louie Rojas said. "I can't wait every year just to see the outcome and I'm excited about it. Pretty soon we're going to need more room. We're celebrating the eighth annual Cinco de Mayo Car Show here and we're looking to have over 250 cars at least. We already have a flock of vendors and all of those spaces are already sold out.
"We want to thank everybody for their support for Happy Times Events and the people who come from all over — L.A., San Diego, from all over California, Arizona, Las Vegas, and people up north even," he added.
"There's no doubt it's the biggest block party in Laughlin now," Rojas said. "Because we have the bands inside and outside and the car show which has grown, I see more and more people who know about it and make it a point to be here.
"Yeah, it's crazy. Everybody we talk to in California, they know about it, they talk to other people and before you know it, it's a big ol' party," he added. "People are taking vacation time to come out here to Laughlin with their families to do the show, the lake, the river, everything."
To handle some of the traffic issues, the Rojases are opening up the exhibit area a day early.
"We're letting both vendors and participants who want to register their cars come in on Thursday, May 2 (1 p.m.-5 p.m.), but we may have to cut it at a certain time. Friday morning opens up at 7 a.m. to get the registration overflow in," he said. "There's the possibility of running out of room, so early registration on Thursday is encouraged. They can check in, set up and get ready to rumble."
The public can view the cars at no charge.
"We'll have cars on display Friday and Saturday (9 a.m.-5 p.m.), and people can still register on Friday and Saturday, beginning (7 a.m.). We're just spreading it out to make it easier on people."
"It's gotten so big, we've got to do that, adding that extra day. People are traveling early to get here Friday morning, leaving on Thursday after work, so now when they get here, we're gonna let 'em in," he added. "Cynthia and I are overwhelmed at the response we get with this show. It keeps getting better and better.
"Mostly we want to thank the Tropicana for the opportunity they've given us to bring these car shows to the property and to watch them grow," Louie said. "We've enjoyed working with Robin Rudkin and Amy Carrera and for all they put into this event."
Registration is $25 per car with about 53 trophies to be awarded in categories that include “Classic Car,” “Classic Low Rider,” “Classic Muscle Car,” "Best Rockabilly Car," "Best Hot Rod" and “American Made Motorcycle.” The trophy presentation is Saturday (4 p.m.).
In addition to the car show, other events in the north parking lot include vendors, music and a unique contest, the "Grito Contest," on Saturday (2:30 p.m.). This contest is the Mexican version of "Shoot & Holler" contests staged at chili cook-offs where contestants squeal like a stuck pig. In the "Grito Contest," contestants yell out their best "Aye! Aye! Aye!" to a Vincente Fernandez song. There is no fee to enter and the contest is open to the general public with male and female categories. Both the male and female winners receive trophies, which are presented at the same time trophies are awarded for the car show (4 p.m.).
Creating the party atmosphere and keeping the fun going is DJ Manny and Emcee Angel Baby.
"They're going to be out there in the parking lot with us (11 a.m.-5 p.m.) Friday and Saturday," Louie said. "They're a favorite because they're good at what they do and they bring a lot of people with them. I chose them for our event years ago because of how they work together and how they perform and get a crowd going. DJ Manny is a crowd favorite and Angel Baby is one of the best emcees out there anywhere.
"I also want to give a shout out to Larry Armenta and his wife, Gloria, of Unique HD Photography, for the consistency of quality photos they provide us with every year," he added.
Armenta provides car show photos for the Laughlin entertainer every year as well.
The fun also spills over into Victory Plaza along Casino Drive in front of the casino, in Tango's Lounge and Pavilion Theater within the casino.
Block parties in Victory Plaza are Friday and Saturday featuring live bands — Maduros Del Norte perform (4 p.m.-8 p.m.), followed by The Midnite Cruzzers (9 p.m.-1 a.m.). Tango's Lounge provides air-conditioned comfort with dance parties featuring Thee Champagne Band (4:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.), followed by Stone Soul performing (9 p.m.-1 a.m.).
The Pavilion Theater offers two different shows on Friday and Saturday. Anyone attending these shows must be at least 21 years of age. Cannibal & the Headhunters take the stage Friday (8 p.m.). The group is known for the hit "Land of a Thousand Dances." Saturday's (8 p.m.) show features Latin Ladies Live starring Adelaide. Tickets to each show are $30 per person. For tickets or more information, call the Box Office, 888-888-8695, or purchase tickets online at TropLaughlin.com.
For those who may have partied a bit too hardy on Saturday night, a couple of "cures" will be available in Victory Plaza on Sunday (beginning 8 a.m.). These include sopas of posole and menudo with tortillas and toppings. However, you don't need a hangover to enjoy these dishes. See menu for pricing.
Louie and Cynthia also wanted to say thanks to everybody who helps them out in a variety of ways.
"From our Happy Times crew, our judges, people who stand by the gates, everyone who helps us out, we want to thank them, to. We have a lot of help and we couldn't do any of this if it wasn't for each and every one of them. We appreciate them so much."
For more information about the car show, contact Rojas via email at loucyndasdream@Hotmail.com.