If drinking, eating and listening to live country music are your idea of a fun time, then the Cowboy Crawl is the event for you.
The crawl takes place from 6-10 p.m. June 11 starting at the Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks. The crawl features nearly a dozen bars, saloons and restaurants in the Victorian Avenue area.
Here’s how it works: Participants buy a yellow Cowboy Crawl event cup — either here or at the event’s party tent — and take it to the establishments listed on a map. Each listed venue will offer its own specials to participants, such as free and discounted drinks, food, raffles, entertainment and other activities. Wearing western attire is encouraged.
Cups cost $6 advance and $10 the day of the event. Tickets include one beer and five raffle tickets. Prizes to be raffled include tickets to the Reno Rodeo that takes place June 16-25 and tickets to the Night in the Country music festival that takes place July 21-23 in Yerington.
“The crawl is a fun way to spend time with friends and meet new people,” said Reno resident Paul Klein, co-owner of the Cowboy Crawl with fellow northern Nevadans Adam Lapidus and Vern Taylor. “You move through the map, visit each one of the places, see the different stuff at each one and you don’t have to drive. Everything is within walking distance.”
The list includes every bar inside the Nugget — including Gilley’s Saloon — Cantina Los Tres Hombres, Great Basin Brewing Company, the Victorian Saloon, Mummers Bar, Paddy & Irene’s Irish pub, the Mr. Margarita Truck and, new to this year’s crawl, a large rodeo-style party tent outside the Nugget.
Scheduled entertainment includes DJ Roni V in the party tent, Justin Lee at Mummers, Westwind at Cantina Los Tres Hombres and Southern Cut at Paddy & Irene’s. Performers continue to be added to the schedule, Klein said.
“The outdoor party tent is like a full outdoor venue,” he said. “People have asked for that, so that’s what we did. There will be music, line-dancing, hay bales, beverages and things like that. The line dancing will be a lot of fun. You’ll see people who pride themselves on their line-dancing skills doing all kinds of really interesting moves.”
Participants start at the Nugget, Klein said, moving down to Great Basin Brewing Company before completing the circle by coming back to the party tent.
“The best way to enjoy the crawl is to visit every single bar, so you can see what each place is like and what they’re offering,” he said. “Each bar will offer something specific, and there will be live music at a majority of them; so you’re getting a full experience as opposed to one venue, one band — you’re getting 10 in a single evening.”
A Short History
The Cowboy Crawl was created over coffee — not whiskey or beer — by a group of college students at the University of Nevada, Reno.
“We’d sit and talk about creating fun events to try and bring people to the area,” Klein said. “That was about eight years ago. At the time, pub crawls had started becoming more popular throughout the United States. We saw (crawls) happening in Reno, started a few of them and really wanted to bring one to Sparks.”
And so the Cowboy Crawl arrived in 2012.
The first crawl attracted about 1,000 people, Klein said. Last year’s event was double that at about 2,000 participants, he said. It’s a win-win event for both participating guests and businesses.
“It did well right off the bat, and it’s continued to grow,” Klein said. “It’s a comfortably crowded event that’s perfectly sized for the Victorian Avenue area. It’s not like the (Reno) Santa Crawl where it’s just madness.”
A cowboy-themed crawl was a natural fit for the location.
“We have this draw to the western-country culture,” he said. “The rodeo is a constant sold-out event. Almost every music festival that happens here, every country music star that comes here sells out.”
There’s also an advantage to having a cowboy theme versus, say, a Santa crawl or a science-fiction crawl.
“I think everyone in this area has a cowboy hat and boots,” Klein said, laughing. “So, it’s easy for people to have fun and participate in the crawl, as opposed to having to make a costume. It’s just typical attire and the demeanor of the people who live here that makes this fit perfectly. Just show up and have a good time.”