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Sunday, December 25, 2005 PRIOR ISSUE   -   ARCHIVES
Funniest Professor' Carl Hurley Headlines, Cloud's Jamboree Brightens Up January, Ring In 2006, Watch Guru Resides In Laughlin, More...

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Jackie Brett
by
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"America's funniest professor" Carl Hurley will headline at Don Laughlin's Riverside, Jan. 9-14, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20, call 1-800-227-3849.

Hurley was born in 1941 in a two-room cabin built by his father on a three-acre hillside farm in the Appalachian mountains of Laurel County, Ky., near the Rockcastle River.

Coming from a family of "talkers," Hurley spent endless hour's listening to aunts, uncles and cousins swapping yarns and stories that were richly embellished after years of telling. The idea of "making people laugh" was a fascination but far-flung idea for the young Hurley. Little did he realize that a career in education would eventually lead to a career in public speaking and entertainment, and garner him the title of "America's Funniest Professor."

In 1972, Hurley was selected by the United States Jaycees as one of the "Outstanding Young Men in America," and Hurley seemed destined to a successful career as an educator. For eight years he was a professor at Eastern Kentucky University and coordinator of secondary education programs.

Hurley's speaking career began, quite by accident, in 1971, when he decided to "liven up " an otherwise boring school conference by telling a few jokes and stories when it came time to give his report. One of the men attending the conference, impressed by Hurley's ability to wrap humor around a message, invited the young professor to speak for his company.

Other invitations followed. Faced with more than 200 engagements annually, Hurley decided to pursue speaking and entertaining on a full-time basis in 1982.

The 5th Annual Cloud's Jamboree is scheduled at the Avi Resort, Jan. 6-Feb. 5 and at the Riverside Resort, Jan. 13-22. This event features a large collection of vendors displaying and selling all manner of rocks, minerals, gems, lapidary equipment, jewelry, and it's free to browse the booths. For information, call 866-558-7719.

For decades, Cloud's Jamboree has been an important stop of every precious and semi-precious stone purveyor's travel schedule. Promoter Dick Cloud is a second-generation producer of rock and gem shows. Cloud's father started the original Jamboree in the mid-1960s in Quartzsite, Ariz. The Cloud's Jamboree in Quartzsite was arguably the largest independently owned and operated show in the country. A few years ago, a highway was built through the middle of the event site, forcing the show to relocate. This has proven to be a blessing in disguise by the extraordinary growth the event has witnessed at its new location.

On New Year's Eve at Harrah's on the casino floor, guests will be showered by a balloon drop at the stroke of midnight. Minutes prior to midnight, guests will receive party hats, horns, noisemakers and serpentines to help kick off the celebration.

Add to the festivities by dining at the award-winning Range Steakhouse, the 24-hour Cabo Café, or Baja Blue Restaurant & Cantina on Dec. 31, 2005. The Fresh Market Square, voted best buffet in Laughlin, will feature a New Years Day Champagne Brunch on Jan. 1, 2006. For information on the holiday specials, call 702-298-4600.

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"The Watch Man" is Ray Lindstrom and he owns and operates a unique retail outlet inside the Riverside Resort. Lindstrom touts the 3,000-square-foot store filled with all things ticking as "the world's largest watch store." Each watch goes for under $20 making his place a Christmas bonanza for shopping for stocking stuffers.

Lindstrom has been surrounded by time pieces and watches of every description for more than 13 years. He sells a lot of watches in over-the-top ways. From his early days of donning blue tights, aka Superman, and the use of a singing Vietnamese Elvis impersonator; to coverage by the National Enquirer, the bark of a "pitch dog" named Bucky and a photo op where he took a bath in watches, Lindstrom has tried it all. He never takes himself too seriously when it comes to bringing attention to the store that has become a Laughlin attraction. Every inch of the place is filled with watches and clocks of every design.

Lindstrom manages to change the store hourly by constantly putting merchandise on the shelves to replace items sold. "We sell more watches on any given day than any other single outlet anywhere. All the Wal-Mart stores in the nation might sell as many or Tiffany's might sell more in a day in terms of dollars, but as a single outlet, we're number one." explains Lindstrom.

The Watch Man Store and Lindstrom have been written up by the National Enquirer, Forbes and People magazines. The store has also been covered in live stints on the "NBC Today Show" twice, and CBS news with Dan Rather.

Lindstrom sells a vast array of themed watches: dog breeds, sports, cartoon characters, occupations, singers, actors, politicians and sparkly ones. Right now the Harry Potter watches are in. He boasts selling Elgin watches for $19.97 that go for over $100 any place else.

Lindstrom says, "We have 'alternative lifestyle' watches, watches for those in 12-step recovery programs, political watches, retired people watches and religious watches of every persuasion." He continues, "We've got watches you can eat, watches that can be worn around the neck and watches you can pin on. Our biggest selling watch is the 'jumbo' watch with the big numbers."

In addition, the store is filled with novelty items...calendars, gizmos and gadgets, jewelry boxes, holiday ornaments, tool sets, toys, model cars, music boxes, flashlights, and free stuff (buy a battery for 97 cents and get the item it goes into at no charge).

A service desk in the store offers customers battery replacement while they shop. The store is open 365 days a year including Christmas Day from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. The store is famous for featuring watch giveaways every hour and every day, and is home to a most enticing promotion in which a customer may buy a genuine Rolex watch for $19.97. On occasion, Lindstrom slips a real $3,400 Rolex out among the 20,000 or so watches in his store. Should a customer see the watch and bring it to the cashier to purchase, it is theirs for the under $20 price tag

The Riverside Resort also houses other Lindstrom retail stores that are open daily, including: Ring-O-Rama (all rings $9.97 each), Watch Man Deluxe (top brand name watches at bargain prices), Sunglass Store (sunglasses under $10, jewelry and novelty items), The Perfume Shoppe (name brand perfumes at discount prices), and Time 4 Fun (all kinds of clocks, electronic games, sculptures, gifts).

The Discount Gift Center and T-Shirt Mania are other Laughlin Lindstrom-partner retail stores located outside of the Riverside Resort at the corner of Casino Drive and Bruce Woodbury Drive, next to the Horizon Outlet Center mall.

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