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Today's word on journalism

Friday, September 1, 2006

"[F]ew things are as much a part of our lives as the news. With the advent of sophisticated mass communication, the news has become a sort
of instant historical record of the pace, progress, problems, and the hopes of society. On the other hand--and here's the puzzle -- the news provides, at best, a superficial and distorted image of society. . . . The puzzle, simply put, is this: How can anything so superficial be so central to our lives?"

--W. Lance Bennett, political science professor, 1988

Three bills down on a Wendover weekend

Photos and text by Robert McDaniel

Editor's note: McDaniel, a native of South Carolina, got his first exposure to the wonders of Wendover. He files this report.

May 2, 2006 | It is often said after we leave "I never want to come back to this place," but then we forget.

Another Saturday in Logan with nothing to do except the same lame parties with the same people.

One of my roommates had the great idea to ride the party bus to Wendover. Fifteen dollars for a bus ride, $7 back from my $15 to gamble, and a free meal. I was in.

The bus ride is a whole other story in itself. Every walk of life was on the bus: homeless, young couples, elderly and college kids.

To make the two-hour bus ride more enjoyable, the operators provide refreshments and bingo for money. The elderly widow who sat next to me was so into the bingo game it reminded me of a lab rat pressing the lever to get a little food pelt from the videos in psych class.

Then I found myself acting pretty intense when I was one number away from black-out on my card. No better then a red-eyed rat that night.

So we get there and it's an awe-inspiring place, let me tell you. It looked like a neon skid mark on the underpants of mother earth.

I will say this buffet at the Nugget is pretty good for where it's at. It was steak night at the buffet Saturday, so our crew went on the Atkins diet for about an hour. We ate till we could not eat anymore. That's when you know it is time to gamble.

So we went for a walk to one end of the neon skid mark and worked our way down to the other end. It started at the Red Garter. We affectingly call it the "the red gutter." It's the low end of the casino world in Wendover. We stayed long enough to try to win a Peterbilt semi-truck and, well, no one did.

We gambled at every casino in Wendover that night. The Nugget was where we always ended up. The wheel of fortune slot machine is a favorite for many. If you bet the max credit of three you get the chance to spin the wheel. So we gather around as a group and when one of us gets a spin we all scream "Spin, boy!" in hopes of winning it big.

This night in Wendover not of us left winners monetarily, but way up in life experience. Some of us left three bills down, and that became a new nickname. The trip was worth it in stories alone.

The last guy on the bus yelled as he was finding his seat, "I am nine dollars up and free drunk! F-- yea."

These are stories you will never tell your kid but you will never forget either. Thanks, Wendover. . . . Thanks.


Playing the State Line Game -- Utah, Nevada, Utah, Nevada.

Wendover Bill says welcome.

Spin, Boy!

The face of defeat

The author, with all that's left.



Copyright 1997-2005 Utah State University Department of Journalism & Communication, Logan UT 84322, (435) 797-1000
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