Prized Rides

Bringing the public “happy times,” is exactly what Louie and Cynthia Rojas aim to do with their car show celebrations. The pair, originally from San Bernardino, California, has been bringing car shows to Laughlin for several years under their well-known business, Happy Times Events.

They built a following with their car shows in California, and decided to expand to the Laughlin area.

“We decided to try it here and it just took off,” Louie Rojas said. “With the hospitality we show and everything we do, everybody just followed us here. People love Laughlin and coming to the river so it’s multi-fun — boat riding, casinos, car show, music, entertainment, everything — it’s the place to be. So we have a lot of people that support us from out of town — Vegas, San Bernardino, San Diego, Phoenix — they come from all over and bring their cars.”

They are back at the Tropicana for the 15th year of Viva Tropicana Celebration & Car Show, taking over the North Parking Lot Friday-Saturday, Sept. 23-24 (9 a.m.-5 p.m.). They are expecting more than 100 vehicles this year.

The show is open to every make and model of car, truck, motorcycle and show bicycles. Registration costs $35 per vehicle and $20 for peddle bikes. Early registration is open onsite from noon-5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22. Registration also will be open from 8 a.m.- 2 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m.-11 a.m. Saturday. Vendors may set up from noon-5 p.m. Thursday.

The show runs from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday-Saturday, and there will be 24-hour security on the lot, with no one allowed on the premises outside of show hours. It is free for spectators to come admire the cars.

Judging will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday to determine winners of more than 40 trophies given out at the show. Awards will be presented at 3:30 p.m.

“There’s quite a few big trophies given out and there will be some new categories added, to make it fun for everybody and give them several chances to win,” Rojas said.

Along with checking out the hot cars, there will be numerous vendors to browse at the event.

“We’ve got jewelry, T-shirts, NFL hats, car affiliated items, music box speakers and a combination of everything,” Rojas said.

One thing not sold on the lot is food and beverages. That may be purchased at one of the many outlets inside the Tropicana. If you’re looking for a quick bite, grab a fresh sub sandwich with hand-carved meat and cheese from Port of Subs or pick up a snack and a smoothie from Poolside Cafe. For pizza and pasta, swing by Passiago, open for dinner Friday-Saturday. Brew Brothers is the place to be for an elevated sports grill experience and if you can’t decide, Carnegie’s Cafe has a wide variety on its menu.

There will be lots of entertainment throughout the entire weekend. MC Angel Baby and DJ Manny will be playing tunes at the car show 11 a.m.-5 p.m. both days.

“DJ Manny and Angel Baby play out in the parking lot area and they do an excellent job out there and they have a following that comes,” Rojas said. “They get the crowd wound up and that’s what makes it fun for everybody.”

Inside the Tropicana at Tango’s Lounge, Chico will play 4:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Friday and 9 p.m.-1 a.m. Saturday. The Impulse Band will play in Tango’s from 9 p.m.-1 a.m. Friday and 4:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Saturday.

Outside at Victory Plaza, Classic All Stars with Brittany Nicole will start the night off from 4 p.m.-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Thee Midnite Cruzzers will take over from 9 p.m.-1 a.m. both nights.

“We have a whole new lineup of bands coming, most of them from the L.A. area,” Rojas said. “They play all the top hits, R&B and the old school stuff. We’re looking forward to that. We even have a band from up north, Tulare, California, that’s Brittany Nicole and the All Star Band. She’s a real good vocalist.”

Along with the long-standing partnership the Rojas have with the Tropicana, several crew members come together to make this show a success every year.

“My crew is just wonderful,” Rojas said. “It’s overwhelming what everyone does for me, from the guy that parks the cars to the guy that helps set up, the DJ, the trophy presenters — the list goes on and on. My photographer Larry Armenta has been with me forever. They all make it happen and it all comes together. I’m looking forward to the show — it’s bigger and bigger every year!”