Tuesday, July 10, 2012 | 12:24 p.m.
Editor’s Note: While Robin Leach takes his traditional summer vacation under the Tuscan sun in Italy, many of our Strip and Las Vegas personalities have stepped forward in his absence to pen their own words of wisdom. We kick off today with “Pawn Stars” hero Rick Harrison.
Three years in for “Pawn Stars.” And I thought it would only last maybe a season, if we were lucky. I have been fortunate enough to be on David Letterman, Jay Leno and soon Jimmy Kimmel, as well as most of the national morning shows. It has been and continues to be a journey.
Some of the highlights for me this year: Getting engaged to an amazing lady and getting three almost stepdaughters (I have three sons, so we are the modern-day Brady Bunch). I have never had daughters -- this is all new to me -- but I am loving it. Nothing like a little girl making you feel like a hero. I took my youngest son Jake to meet Big Time Rush a few times; he is a huge fan, and that was a preview for me.
Arranging for the girls to meet Justin Bieber and the cast of “iCarly” was an over-the-top experience. And let’s not forget taking them to “Dancing With the Stars” the night before “iCarly.” Being able to see the smiles on their faces and how awestruck they were was really awesome.
For me, maybe meeting the Rolling Stones would be comparable, but I am not sure meeting anyone for me would come close to their Bieber moment. The really cool thing was we knew Justin was supporting Whitney Elementary here in town through an Ellen DeGeneres introduction, and one of the girls gave him a $5,000 check to give to the school, which gave her a very special moment with him.
Our new charitable giving initiative (where the Bieber donation dollars came from) is one of the things we are really enjoying at Gold & Silver Pawn. We allocate funds each month to one or more charities here in Las Vegas and support everyone from Opportunity Village to military charities, from Help of Southern Nevada to JDRF, from Susan G. Komen to the Justin Timberlake Shriner’s Open, from Tiger Jam to Three Square, from St. Baldrick’s to the Girl Scouts, from Speedway Children’s Charities to the American Heart Association, and everyone in between, including the Clark County Museum (Mark Hall Patton -- our expert’s workplace!), gets a little help because of our success and our wanting to pay it back, if you will.
We even found out through our Facebook fans that they had charities they needed help with, and now we are giving to charities our Facebook fans suggest each month, too (these are anywhere in the U.S.). Friend us on Facebook at GSPawn.com to get your charity on our radar, and help us reach our goal of 1 million Facebook fans -- we have a long way to go (we just reached our immediate goal of 100,000!).
Life and business are good -- what more could we ask for at the pawnshop? We just signed on for another 80 episodes, got to be the grand marshals at a NASCAR race, saw “The Old Man” get a key to the city where he was born (trivia question -- do you know where that is? -- see the end of the story), and I have a new home and blended family and a wedding somewhere in the future.
All of us are losing weight -- I think the Harrisons (Old Man, Corey and I) have lost more than 200 pounds combined at this writing), the pawn store has more than 5,000 customers a day, we sell more than $3 million in T-shirts each year, and we have a staff of more than 50, which gets better every day.
Speaking of our staff, they are the true heroes behind “Pawn Stars.” Without them, the whole place would fall apart. And even with so much more business, fun is still the most important part of every day in our dysfunctional world.
Thanks to all of our fans and everyone in Las Vegas for embracing and supporting our success. By the way, Lexington, N.C., is where Richard Benjamin (“The Old Man”) Harrison was born.
Check out our other guest column later today from nightclub czar Jesse Waits of Tryst and XS at Steve Wynn’s hotels and Wednesday look for our guest columns from Donny Osmond and Myron Martin.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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