LAS VEGAS – Vegas Vickie, the 20-foot-tall neon kicking cowgirl, has moved into her new home.
The famous Old Vegas character in a 10-gallon hat will kick again at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, when Circa Resort & Casino opens for the first time, reports the Reno Gazette Journal, which is part of the USA TODAY Network.
Totally refurbished since her downtown debut in 1980, the 20-by-25-foot cowgirl with a motorized leg will be stationed near the hotel lobby.
Created by late Ad Art designer Charles “Chuck” Barnard, Vegas Vickie quickly became one of Las Vegas’s most beloved neon signs. She made worldwide headlines in 1994 when she married her neon partner, Vegas Vic.
Vegas Vickie, this gambling capital’s beloved neon kicking cowgirl, has moved into her new home. (Photo: Ed Komenda / Reno Gazette Journal)
The journey of Vegas Vickie
In 2017, Circa owner Derek Stevens needed room to build Circa on Fremont Street. That meant Vegas Vickie had to leave for a while. Crews disassembled the sign and packed the pieces into crates.
She soon landed in the workshop of YESCO – the company behind the most iconic signs in Las Vegas and Reno.
“It started with reviewing a lot of historical photography, looking for color photos and everything we could to get all the details on her,” said Rick Juleen, YESCO’s vice president of business development. “All the lines and the designs that you see were there – albeit they were faded out and dented.”
Next came a scaled, painted mock-up YESCO showed to Circa ownership for approval. With the OK, the refurbishing began.
“We set her up, put her all together and started working on her,” Juleen said.
The signature of Charles “Chuck” Barnard, the designer who drew up Vegas Vickie. (Photo: Ed Komenda / Reno Gazette Journal)
A makeover and a move-in date
Workers sanded down metal, smoothed out dents, laid down primer and sprayed fresh coats of paint.
At the same time, YESCO’s glass shop made new neon lights. Mechanics rebuilt her leg motor to allow the cowgirl to kick.
After a few structural tweaks to meet code requirements, including dimmers to control brightness, Vegas Vickie’s first makeover in four decades was done.
With the exception of her kicking leg, Vegas Vickie moved into the casino in one piece.
“We had to a real large piece of structural steel beam above and lift her up into position,” Juleen said. “We put her leg on, got everything wired up and ready to go and then wrapped her up and let her sit there.”
Closer to opening, the resort flipped on the power, lighting Vegas Vickie for the first time in a long time.
“She is stunning,” Juleen said.
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