Laughlin Buzz

Jun 3, 2014

Sue Lowden for Lieutenant Governor?

**Update:  Sue Lowden lost her bid for Lt. Gov on Tuesday, June 10th**
Perhaps now she can focus on FIXING up her Casino

Laughlin, Nevada

If we can't trust you to care for your own company, how can we trust you with our state?

When are you going to fix the lights and the River Rick sign at your Casino?

These are two questions for Sue Lowden.  One of her answers and lack of action on fixing the lights may surprise you. 

Sue Lowden is running for Lt. Governor of the State of Nevada.

Lowden and Hutchinson
(Las Vegas Review Journal picture)
She is in a heated battle for the Republican nomination with state senator Mark Hutchison, who has been endorsed by GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval. Early voting already started and the primary is June 10, 2014.

Among other things, Sue Lowden is the former president of the Pioneer Hotel and Gambling Hall and currently serves as a member of the board of directors and secretary-treasurer of Archon Corporation (the owner of the Pioneer). Her husband Paul Lowden is the Chairman and CEO of Archon. Between the two of them they basically own and control about 90 percent of the company. Chris Lowden is the general manager of the Pioneer.

Back to the first question:

If we can't trust you to care for your own company, how can we trust you with our state?

Although this may seem like a minor issue in the bigger political arena, the look and aesthetics of her hotel and casino does reflect on the image and pride of Laughlin, Nevada. It reflects on the tourism. It reflects on the economy. It also reflects on Sue Lowden. If she can't (or won't) take care of her own company, what does that say about her ability to perform a similar role on a even bigger platform for the state of Nevada?  Tourism and visitors are of vital importance to the economy of Laughlin. We would love to see her be the catalyst for change in her very visible property in Laughlin.

If you have been to Laughlin over the past two or three years you may have noticed the lights and signs are in a bad state of disrepair.  There seems to be no pride in basic maintenance and clean up on the Riverwalk side of the Casino.  Even though the old West Cowboy look and theme masks some of the problems, a walk around shows the place is in rough shape. Paint, picking up trash, changing light bulbs and other little things do matter.
The weathered old west look is fine, but a little paint and touch up is much needed. 

Yet, even with all the little things, ihe biggest glaring problem is the large cowboy sign, known as River Rick. That brings us to the second question:

When are you going to fix the lights and the River Rick sign at your Casino?

This was asked of Sue Lowden by a student during a visit she made to Laughlin High School in the spring.

image from Sue Lowden's Facebook Page

The student said that Sue Lowden was seemingly irritated at the question and bluntly responded by saying fixing the sign is very expensive. She explained that someone from Las Vegas has to come to do the work. She said they had to wait until other similar work needs to be done in Laughlin and then do their signs at the same time. Apparently to save money?  We have seen photos as far back as 2010 showing the same issue.  We would welcome a response or clarification of this answer from the Pioneer or Sue Lowden.  

Why isn't the sign being fixed and when will it be? 

This sign is a highly visible feature and part of the brand of the business  River Rick images are on their logos, signage, even in the grass in front of the Casino.  Yet, there is no urgency to dedicate the resources to fix the actual sign?

Half burned out

   The Pioneer was once proud of River Rick and had the following text on the website.

The Pioneer Hotel & Gambling Hall is located in the heart of the Casino Drive strip in Laughlin, Nevada.  Laughlin is noted for it's relaxed atmosphere, and the Pioneer is famous for offering the best down-home hospitality in town.  The property is easily recognizable by our icon River Rick, towering nearly 100 feet above the Colorado River.  Rick's first cousin, Vegas Vic, is perhaps the most recognizable icon associated with Las Vegas, Nevada style gambling, and adult fun.  Many motion pictures, both classics and current releases, have relied upon this universal recognition to tell the viewer where the scene is set.  Visitors cannot arrive in Laughlin from any direction without seeing River Rick looming above the town, waving a welcome to all.  These welcome waves epitomize the warm Pioneer Family spirit that has made this facility a favorite of both locals and out of town visitors, and earned the reputation of "The Friendliest House on the River".  

River Rick now resembles an embarrassing eyesore instead of an icon proudly looking over Casino Drive and the Riverwalk.

As far as the neon, there is neon all over Laughlin and none of the signs at other properties are in this state of neglect.  Even the small bar and restaurant directly across the street from the Pioneer have neon that is always working.  One time it was out briefly for a short time but was quickly fixed.

By making even small steps to restore the look of the Pioneer, Sue Lowden would show her commitment to caring about what goes on in and around the community. The Pioneer recently upgraded their restaurant and apparently have plans to revamp their snack bar. In our opinion, they need to take some of their revenue and FIX their signs, especially River Rick. This is the largest problem, but the entire lighting and maintenance of the area on the Riverwalk needs attention.  The clocks on the Riverwalk shows the wrong and different times on both sides. With burned out bulbs.

Pictures taken seconds apart 
Wrong time and burned out lights

Changing the light bulbs in the light globes lining the Riverwalk is simple. As is dusting, sweeping, or cleaning the dirt, webs and stains on them.  Why isn't this done?

Undo a couple of screws and change the bulbs.  Clean the globes too.

And just how hard, and expensive is it, to have an employee do a sweep once or twice a day to pick up litter? One can walk down the area over a period of days and still see the same trash, bottles, or glasses left lying in places like the gazebo or on the grass. Why can't Pioneer management make clean up a normal daily duty of someone on their staff instead of letting it go. 

By the Riverwalk entrance of the Pioneer Casino

Trash sitting in the Gazebo for days, no one bothers to clean up.

Other properties in Laughlin have more pride in their appearance and the reflection of it on the community. For example, Marnell Gaming, the owners of the Colorado Belle and Edgewater Hotel and Casinos have stepped up and shown desire to invest in and help tourism and Laughlin with their building of the new Laughlin Event Center and other projects. When other Casinos have burned out signs or lights, they fix them fairly promptly. Other ones routinely wash down, clear debris, and do better maintenance.  You will often see workers at the Colorado Belle and Edgewater hosing down, sweeping, and cleaning the Riverwalk area between their properties.

Burned out neon everywhere

 The following excerpt comes from Sue Lowden's own website.  It is an explanation of what the Lieutenant Governor does for Nevada and how she believes she is qualified for the job.

from SueLowden.Com

If she wants to serve Nevada, ensure economic development and says she intends to work full time promoting Nevada as a tourism destination---shouldn't she be already doing that right in her own company in Laughlin?

We hope Sue Lowden will look into this at her Hotel and Casino. After all, if she wants to help run the state of Nevada, she certainly can and should be able to manage an issue like this at her own company.  She should be an advocate for tourism and the economics of what we have heard her call "her hometown".

We are not supporting or endorsing Sue Lowden or Mark Hutchinson.  We only calling on Sue Lowden show some pride and do the job she wants to be elected for.  Starting right here in Laughlin, Nevada.

* We do give credit where it is due. The Pioneer at one point in February of this year had a crane and workers at the sign. They did fix a couple letters on the sign, and painted the posts.

The burned out letters on the sign went from reading HO BLING to the current HOTE BLING
Then the crane and workers disappeared and it has been left as is to date.

September of 2013 through February 2014 the sign read HO BLING  See More Pictures Here

A worker at the sign in February of 2014

Below is how it looks after the work was done and how it still looks as of June 2014.

At one point a sign that ripped during an August monsoon stood hanging until January.  A worker could not have taken this down within a day or so after the storm? It looked like this for over 5 months. This was right at the entrance to the Riverwalk by the Colorado Belle.

The top picture above showshow it looked form August to January.
The bottom picture finally shows it taken down and rolled up (five months later).  

Sue Lowden advertisements/signs are in front of the Pioneer Casino

We are also happy to say that the front of the Pioneer and the tall Pioneer signs currently have no problems. This is a recent development, for months those signs also have had burned out letters and lights. See pictures here from earlier this year. Perhaps this is a sign of things to come? We can only hope.

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*All information, pictures, editorials herein are presented for informational and entertainment purposes only. Laughlin Buzz has no affiliation with and receives no compensation of any kind from or with the people, properties, and entities mentioned and receives no compensation.


  1. The river walk gets trashed because of the high winds here in Laughlin and The Pioneer is one of the nicest and classiest casinos here not to mention the friendliest. Why are they acting like it is a mess when all of the other casinos are in much more need of restoration? There is one casino that has buckets everywhere to catch water and debris whenever it rains and some casinos that have broken escalators and elevators. All of the casinos here are in need of repair but none of which can be so easily fixed by replacing some light bulbs. This is clearly an act of hate to hurt her in her election. If you live in Laughlin, you know exactly what I mean.

  2. We appreciate your comment. And yes the winds do cause some issues but none that having staff do regular rounds and maintenance can't handle. And after seeing some of the pictures we are not sure how it can be (at this time) be considered one of the nicest and classiest Casinos.

    Also we would of loved to see Sue Lowden do well in the election. However, if her commitment to tourism and the economy is one of her goals as she stated, why not start right where she has the most authority to do so--at her own business and property.