St. Patrick’s Day is a big deal in Henderson, Nevada’s second most populous city (you may have thought Reno was the Silver State’s runner-up, but it’s Henderson, where some 300,000 people live on the hillside overlooking Las Vegas and The Strip).
Henderson has been an incorporated city for only 53 years, and for 50 of them, the Southern Nevada Sons & Daughters of Erin have staged their three-day celebration of all-things Irish on and along Water Street, Henderson’s historic main drag. Activities last weekend included a carnival, live entertainment, various Irish-oriented activities, a parade and a car show.
The car show was the 14th staged by the reorganized Hustlers Las Vegas car club, the first seven just over the hill in Boulder City as part of Octoberfest.
The Hustlers trace their roots to 1964 and the Cruisers Car Club of Las Vegas, which had as many as 150 members. The club staged weekly dances at a local National Guard armory and used to the proceeds to fund a 1932 Ford-based drag-racing program.
But members got married and in some cases moved away and the club split into four smaller clubs. Three of them survive, including the Hustlers.
“We have 25 members,” said club president Gary “Lumpy” Kirby, who explained that “with 25 you get stuff done but with 50 members you have 25 who watch the other 25 work.”
The club stages a series of cruises but only one car show per year, the St. Patrick’s event in Henderson. The show used to be held in Boulder City, but for the past seven years has been in Henderson. Proceeds from the show and parade benefit the St. Baldrick’s Foundation in its battle against children’s cancer.
Photos by Larry Edsall