AP NEWS

Latin Flavor

September 27, 2018

Polished chrome and metal beauties, vendors, live music, well-known DJs, wrestling — all with a Latin flavor — combine for one monster block party when the 11th “Viva Tropicana Celebration and Car Show” returns to the Tropicana Laughlin Friday-Sunday, Sept. 28-30.

What started as a way for southern California car enthusiasts to gather and show off tricked out muscle cars, classic low riders and painstakingly restored cars and trucks has become a tradition in Laughlin.

This annual show at the Tropicana has gotten bigger and bigger with each year because San Bernardino show promoters Cynthia and Louie Rojas of Happy Time Events go the distance to get the word out about their event.

The couple also produces two other car show/events at the Tropicana — the “Fiesta Car Show” in January, and their popular “Cinco de Mayo Car Show” in May. And these car shows have morphed into a whole lot more than showing off cars.

The headquarters of the “Viva Tropicana Car Show” is in the North Parking Lot of the Tropicana Laughlin (behind In-N-Out Burger). The site will overflow with low riders, muscle cars and more on display while DJs spin music and vendors offer a variety of merchandise on display and for sale.

“I think this year is gonna be great because the ‘Cinco de Mayo’ show was off the hook,” said Louis Rojas. “It was like the biggest one ever. What I’m getting at is people at Cinco, they come and they like it. They like everything about it, now they’re coming to Viva to try that one out, too.”

Late September’s milder weather is an additional attractant.

“We’ve got the biggest block party in Laughlin already,” he said. “That’s status already right there.”

The car show is free to the public to attend and view the cars.

“We’re expecting more than 100 cars and then we’re having great bands again, like always, inside and outside the Tropicana and quite a few vendors,” Rojas said.

Rojas doesn’t take all the credit for the car shows success.

“I’d like to send another big shout out to my wife, Cynthia, always, because without her it’s hard to do all this,” he said. “You know, I’m the one that does all the talking, but she’s in the background and she gives me the ideas. We’re already on the same page, we think the same after 40 years of marriage.”

Rojas has no plans to stop growing until he runs out of room.

“We’re glad to be a part of the Tropicana and hope we can hit our 20th year of doing this,” he said. “We keep doing our thing and keep growing and they say, ‘we’re out of room,’ and I say, ‘let us take care of it.’ Give me more room and we’ll fill it. You can quote me on that.”

The couple also wanted to say thanks to their “official” photographer, Larry Armenta, who is on hand at every car show supplying media outlets like the Laughlin entertainer with photos of the events.

Inside the Tropicana, the main entertainment event — Lucha Libre Voz returns for the second year.

Lucha Libre Voz is a different kind of wrestling. It’s not MMA, but more old-school freestyle from the days of WWF, for those who remember back that far. The event takes place both Friday and Saturday in the Pavilion Theater (8 p.m.). Tickets are $20. There’s also a Family Ticket Package — four tickets at $60 + tax & fees and these may only be purchased by visiting the Box Office or calling the Box Office at 888-888-8695.

The stars, however, of this show are the cars, which the public can view Friday and Saturday (9 a.m.-5 p.m.).

Official judging in the “Show ‘n’ Shine” takes place on Saturday, Sept. 29 (noon) with the awards presentation the same day (4 p.m.). More than 40 trophies will be awarded in classes such as “Classic Car,” “Classic Low Rider,” “Classic Muscle Car” and “American Made Motorcycle.”

There is no pre-registration necessary to participate in the car show. Participants can register when they get there, however, last minute entries are accepted no later than Saturday, Sept. 29 (before noon). Friday registration is (9 a.m.-5 p.m.). The entry fee is $25 per car and comes with 24-hour security.

“The parking lot gets closed at 5:30 p.m., and then reopens the next morning at 9 a.m.,” Rojas said. “Because there’s 24-hour security, no one is allowed in that area after 5:30 p.m… no one. Even if someone says, ‘I forgot my keys,’ it doesn’t matter who it is, no one is allowed in the area.”

See the registration area at the North Parking Lot or call 1-800-343-4533 for more details.

Angel Baby and DJ Manny, of Maciel Productions will be outside in the parking lot Friday and Saturday, playing (11 a.m.-5 p.m.).

Bands for the Victory Plaza Dance Party include Balance of Azusa Band performing (4:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.), followed by Champagne Band playing (9 p.m.-1 a.m.) on both Friday and Saturday. Must be 21 or older to attend. Cash bar available.

Tango’s Lounge hosts a dance party with Chico Band playing (4:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.), followed by Stone Soul (9 p.m.-1 a.m.), both Friday and Saturday. Must be at least 21.

A Down Home BBQ meal will be available for purchase Saturday (beginning at 4 p.m. until close).

To check on availability of vendor space, ($50) email loucyndasdream@hotmail.com

After all the partying is over, or even before it gets started, those who may need a pick-me-up can find the Latin cure via sopas (choice of menudo or pozole) served Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Carnegie’s Café (beginning 8 a.m.).

For more information, visit the Tropicana Laughlin website: TropLaughlin.com.

Unmask Lucha Libre Voz...

Old-school professional wrestling was performance art at its best. Costumed characters talked smack about their opponents and developed a following no matter whether they were the “good guys” or the “bad guys.” Matches combined athleticism with theatrics, dramatic storylines with body-slamming and bouncing off the ropes.

Mexican wrestling, a.k.a. “Lucha Libre” means “freestyle wrestling,” or a “free fight.” Since its introduction to Mexico in the early 20th century, it has developed into a unique form of the genre, characterized by colorful masks, rapid sequences of holds and maneuvers, as well as “high-flying” maneuvers, some of which have been adopted in the United States and elsewhere.

The wearing of masks has developed special significance, and in some matches the loser must permanently remove his mask, which is a wager with a high degree of weight attached. Tag team wrestling is especially prevalent in lucha libre, particularly matches with three-member teams, called trios.

The popularity of professional wrestling in the U.S. dates back to the ’70s and ’80s when guys like “Rapid” Ricky Romero and “Nature Boy” Ric Flair ruled the rings all across the Southwest. Then guys like Hulk Hogan and Shawn Michaels took their turn and the sport has enjoyed a national popularity that continues to this day.

The Tropicana Laughlin brings professional wrestling to town for the second time when Lucha Libre Voz returns to stage two title fights in the Pavilion Theater Friday and Saturday, September 28-29 (8 p.m.) as part of the “Viva Tropicana Celebration & Car Show.” Tickets are $20 per person.

These masked marauders are required to put in years and years of training, because as any fan of this sport knows, anything can happen. Their bodies endure a lot of punishment and the danger is real.

“We are very excited to be there and ready to bring a unique Lucha Libre experience to Laughlin,” said Luis J. Sanchez, founder and manager.

Lucha Libre Voz was founded in 2014, in Phoenix, Arizona by Sanchez, a.k.a. “DJ Voz,” the previous DJ for the Lucha promotion company.

“Our style is a mix of Mexican style lucha libre, American wrestling and Japanese “strong style,” which means you can expect the acrobatics of lucha, American-style power moves and the straight, direct hits of the Japanese style.

“Lucha libre is very real in all of its styles,” he added. “Luchadores know when they enter a ring, they might not make it out. Anything can happen on the ring from a bad fall to landing on the ground head-first.

“In my career, I’ve seen deaths and serious injuries in the ring,” Sanchez continued. “That’s why we train so hard daily, prepare our bodies and our minds to be safe and offer the best show we possibly can.”

The Lucha Libre Voz event will feature international Lucha superstars from Mexico and the U.S. The main event on Friday, Sept. 28 will be a championship match for the Tropicana Laughlin Official Belt Title.

The Saturday, Sept. 29 event will be the Voz Ultra Championship Match where recognized international Lucha stars compete.

Featured luchadores during these events will be King Kappa, Zagan and El Dragon. Luchadore participants subject to change.

For more ticket information, call the Tropicana Box Office at 1-888-888-8695.

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