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October 24, 2014

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Executive Director John Saccenti: Why locals should love the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl

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L.E. Baskow

John Saccenti, the new executive director of the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl, kicks back at Sam Boyd Stadium on Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014. He’s been working in sports in Las Vegas for the past 16 years, starting out as the mascot for the Las Vegas Thunder hockey team and working his way up.

Click to enlarge photo

John Saccenti, the new executive director of the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl, kicks back at Sam Boyd Stadium on Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014. He's been working in sports in Las Vegas for the past 16 years, starting out as the mascot for the Las Vegas Thunder hockey team and working his way up.

Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl

The USC marching band performs before the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl game against Fresno State Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013 at Sam Boyd Stadium. USC won the game 45-20. Launch slideshow »

Las Vegas Bowl-BYU vs OSU

Max Hall (left) and Manase Tonga celebrate after a BYU touchdown during the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas Tuesday at Sam Boyd Stadium.  BYU dominated Oregon St. with a 44-20 win. Launch slideshow »

Robin Leach has finished his annual summer vacation under the Tuscan sun in Italy, and many of our Strip personalities again stepped forward in his absence to pen their own words of wisdom. As Robin enjoys the final birthday week of his working vacation with his family, we continue today with our popular guest columns. Here is John Saccenti, executive director of the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl.

For more than two decades, the Las Vegas Bowl has been an integral part of the postseason college football landscape. Our hometown bowl game has seen many changes over the years, but one constant remains: Las Vegas.

The Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl returns once again on Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014, so here are five great reasons to love the Las Vegas Bowl and win the interest of Mr. Leach’s devoted readers.

1. College football fans + Las Vegas = the perfect atmosphere. Have you ever celebrated with a devoted college football fan/alumnus? Do yourself a favor and make that a priority for this year’s game; you won’t be disappointed by the passion and revelry these fans bring to our town.

This is a chance for devoted collegiate fan bases to descend on Las Vegas in the spirit of competition during the holiday season. It’s their last taste of college football until the following August. We welcome that spirit at the Las Vegas Bowl, and it has remained a pillar of our event’s success over the years.

2. Postseason college football. It’s that simple. There’s no comparison to a school playing their hearts out for this one game that’s the culmination of their entire season and for some their entire collegiate careers. This is their last chance to send the seniors out as winners and a chance for the freshmen class to start a legacy of postseason success.

3. Top NCAA football talent. Past Las Vegas Bowl MVPs include Oregon State running back (and Las Vegas local) Steven Jackson and UC Berkeley running back Marshawn Lynch, both of whom are now NFL stars.

The winningest quarterback in FBS history, Kellen Moore of Boise State, played his final game in the Las Vegas Bowl and gave an MVP performance. These are just a few of the NFL-caliber players who have played in the Las Vegas Bowl.

4. Our local bowl game has quite a history. Founded in 1992, the Las Vegas Bowl is now the 16th oldest game out of the 35 licensed NCAA bowl games. Did you also know the first ever FBS (Division I) overtime game was played during the 1995 Las Vegas Bowl between Toledo and Nevada?

In its first 20 years of existence, the bowl has hosted teams from the Pac-12, Mountain West, Western Athletic, Atlantic Coast, Southeastern, Mid-American and Big West conferences; attracted more than 380,000 out-of-town visitors; and pumped nearly $206 million into the local economy in nongaming revenue.

5. The 2014 Las Vegas Bowl will be our best yet. Our game has grown quite a bit in 22 years, and we have some huge plans for this year’s game. We know that two great schools from the Mountain West and PAC-12 will end up competing, and the initial plans our team has for this year’s game will take the fan experience to new levels.

Our game comes around only once a year, but our team is on the ground in Las Vegas year round. We live here, have families here and devote our lives to the Las Vegas community that has supported the Las Vegas Bowl for more than two decades.

There are so many reasons to love the Las Vegas Bowl, and a big part is the local fans who support the game each year. We thank you all for that support and hope to see some new faces for the 2014 Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 20 at Sam Boyd Stadium.

Be sure to check out our other guest columnist today, Charlyne Corvino, entertainment manager at the Riviera. On Wednesday, meet Mark Brandenburg of downtown’s Golden Gate, and we’ll kiss the Blarney Stone with Ri Ra Irish Pub ambassador Cyril Kenny on his Craic tour of Ireland.

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.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.

Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

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