You might not know him by name but I’m sure you’ve seen his face. He’s been in movies, in ads – not to mention, he’s been a part of Las Vegas for over sixty years.
Casinos and other buildings have come and gone, but Vegas Vic and has withstood the test of time. The giant cowboy sign first took his place on the exterior of the Pioneer Club downtown in 1951, making him almost as old the Flamingo, the oldest hotel standing on the Las Vegas Strip. With his signature wink and waving arm, he was a welcoming face to the people coming to try their luck. The sign also used to talk, much to the chagrin of Lee Marvin while he filmed The Professionals. He has since stopped waving and speaking all together.
When the Fremont Street Experience began construction in 1994, Vegas Vic’s cowboy hat had to be trimmed to make room for him underneath the canopy. The Pioneer Club closed its operation the year Fremont Street opened. The main façade stays up, but only a gift shop remains.
His female counterpart, Vegas Vickie, is much younger than he is. Erected in 1980, she sat atop what was the Glitter Gulch strip club; she and Vic were “married” in 1994. She is currently retired while during renovations to what was the strip club and two neighboring casinos. She will return some time in 2020, once construction is complete.
If you didn’t know he had a wife, you also might not know he’s got a twin. You can find his doppelganger, River Rick, out in Laughlin on their own Pioneer Hotel. Both images and hotels are owned by the same company.
Las Vegas embraces the philosophy of “out with the old, in with the new”, except when it comes to this old cowboy. Casinos and hotels have come and gone, whether with demolition or re-branding but Vegas Vic stands tall. Check him out the next time you’re in town.