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‘You Know You’re A Nevadan’ if you know Guy Clifton

By John Trent

In his typical modest, unassuming fashion, Reno Gazette-Journal writer and columnist Guy Clifton has deflected much of the praise pointed his direction recently.

Clifton, a former Sagebrush editor and Nevada alum, has earned the praise of both "old" and "new" Reno with the publication of his excellent new book, You Know You're A Nevadan If ... (Nevada Humanities Committee, 2002).

Based on a series of columns published in the Gazette-Journal, You know You're A Nevadan If ... is a stroll down memory lane for longtime residents of northern Nevada, as well as an informative primer of the area's history for newer residents. In addition to Clifton's copious lists (many of which were created through the help of the loyal readers of Clifton's successful Saturday column), another notable Nevadan, Marilyn Melton, widow of the legendary Gazette columnist Rollan Melton, has lent dozens of illustrations of landmarks and individuals from northern Nevada's past.

Melton's illustrations include drawings of Nevada basketball coach Jake Lawlor, Gov. Mike O'Callaghan, Reno Mayor Barbara Bennett, writer Robert Laxalt and longtime News Channel 8 anchor Tad Dunbar.

Not surprisingly, the book, already in its second printing, has struck a chord throughout Nevada. An example is Gov. Kenny Guinn, who writes in the book's foreword: "There is much more to being a Nevadan than working in one of the world-class resorts on the Strip or skiing on a mountain with a breathtaking view of Lake Tahoe that Mark Twain once described as the fairest picture the whole earth affords ... I thoroughly enjoyed this book, which has brought back many memories while at the same time taught me some new trivia about Nevada. By the time you finish, I'm sure you'll have a fresh list of definitions of your own about what it truly means to be a Nevadan."

Indeed, the book is as pleasing as one of former afternoon movie host Betty Stoddard's warm smiles, as satisfying as an Awful Awful hamburger at the Nugget (without the obvious caloric boom), as pleasant as the memory of Boomtown before it was Boomtown and was instead Bill and Effie's (all of these items, by the way are in the book).

Clifton, whose award-winning career at the Gazette has more often than not focused on things Nevadan, can only smile at the success his book has had.

"It's been beyond what I could have imagined," he says.

Signs you've attended the University of Nevada (not UNR)

In addition to knowing if you are a Nevadan, author Guy Clifton has compiled a special list for Nevada Silver & Blue regarding whether or not your blood is silver and blue or some other less loyal color. Guy's list:

• You've had to leave Nye Hall at 2 a.m. because some knucklehead pulled a fire alarm.

• You've read a letter to the Sagebrush written by Bill Hamma.

• You've helped paint the N.

• You've walked around the Quad and had a picnic in the Bowl.

• If someone cries "Wolf," you say "Pack."

• You've seen Gary Powers chew out an umpire.

• You lived through a Joe Crowley State of the University speech.

• You've seen some inappropriate clothing placed on the Mackay Statue.

• You remember the Frisbee Guys and saw them perform once at halftime of a Wolf Pack basketball game.

• You've heckled a UNLV fan.

• You've jumped the ditch between the Bowl and Manzanita Lake.

• You remember when the boxing team trained in the basement of the Old Gym.

• You know all the drink specials at the Wal, Beer Barrel and Pub ‘n' Sub.

• You've rappelled off the chemistry building for Military Science class.

• You've received a parking ticket from Parking Services.

• You went to a dance at the Armory.

• Jim Hulse taught you history.

• Frank Krajewski was your favorite education teacher.

• Bob Gorrell taught you proper grammar.

• After your freshman year, you never scheduled another 8 a.m. class if you could help it.

• You took Theory of Football from Chris Ault.

• You were excited to take Human Sexuality until you realized it wasn't an easy class.

• You blew a student loan on beer, a bicycle or something else you cursed about years later while paying it off.

Pete Cladianos Jr. memoir tells story of gaming innovator

By John Trent

Anyone who has ever met Pete Cladianos Jr. knows that this is a person who has seen everything there is to see in the world of gaming. Cladianos' new memoir, published by the University of Nevada Oral History Program, My Father's Son: A Gaming Memoir, is notable not only for its excellent history of the development of gaming in Reno, but in its honest depiction of the life Pete Cladianos Jr. has led.

The Sands Regency Hotel Casino is a reflection of the personalities of the two Petes who built and ran it, Cladianos Sr. and Jr. Greek immigrant Pete Cladianos Sr. built a family enterprise centered on gaming that began not long after the legalization of casino gambling in Nevada in 1931.

Cladianos Jr., like his father, was an innovator. The 1953 Nevada graduate played an instrumental role in a local milestone — the establishment in the 1960s of a casino, the Sands, that was located outside the invisible but inescapable "red line" that had limited all gaming efforts to downtown.

Throughout his book, which is drawn from interviews by oral historian Dwayne Kling, Cladianos' insight into his family's philosophy of expansion outside the casino core holds great currency in today's diversified gaming world. "If you don't expand, you die," he says. "If you look around Reno, you see that. That's one of the things that happened to the Mapes. They weren't able to expand the Mapes, so eventually it died. Riverside, the same thing. If you haven't got the land to expand, you're going to die. If you look at all the other operations around here that are doing well, they were all able to expand."

Together, father and son make for an interesting study. Cladianos Jr., as has always been his custom, doesn't mince words. His story is one of vision, honesty, toughness and accountability. He has been a community leader for close to 50 years due to his unflinching ability to make the tough decision. "I consider myself extremely lucky," he says at one point. "I am my father's son. ... I'm proud that I had a hand in building what my family has now."

The words of the former Sands executive, Jon Bengtson, in the foreword are apt: "Pete Cladianos is someone that made a difference in Reno."


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