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October 31, 2014

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Strip Scribbles: Red Bull Signature races; Hot Chicks vs. Hot Wings; UFC Fight Week

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Tom Donoghue / DonoghuePhotography.com

UFC stars Forrest Griffin, Vanessa Hanson and Johny Hendricks host a World Cup viewing party at Lagasse’s Stadium on Tuesday, July 1, 2014, in Palazzo. Griffin and Hanson are pictured here with a fan.

Mint 400 Off-Road Race

An entrant in the Mint 400 prepares for the start of the race, held Saturday, March 23, 2013, near Las Vegas. The race was first held in 1967 and has drawn several celebrity racers over the years, including Steve McQueen and James Garner. Launch slideshow »

Red Bull Signature Series

B.J. Baldwin

It’s known as the oldest, largest and most prestigious desert off-road race in America for the toughest and roughest of challenges: 400 miles of brutal, dangerous driving held annually here since 1967.

Now global viewers will get to see for the first time on television 2 hours of the high-speed-action thrills this Fourth of July Weekend when NBC and Fox Sports air its Red Bull Signature Series on Sunday.

Sixty thousand spectators, fans, drivers and crews turned up for the three days of racing here in March. Producers had cameras mounted in helicopters and chase vehicles to capture the madhouse excitement. Of the 330 starters, 163 finished the four circuits of the 100-mile racecourse loop. The organizers have signed a new five-year deal for the race to continue here.

Listen to Las Vegas driver B.J. “Ballistic” Baldwin, one of the heroes and legends of the Mint 400, talk about the trophy truck race and how he trains with jujitsu for the punishment of 72 hours of driving.

This year’s race attracted the largest group of unlimited trick trucks ever assembled along with the biggest names in the sport, including 2013 champion Bryce Menzies, 2012 winner Robby Gordon, 2011 champion B.J., 2009 winner Andy McMillan and X Games gold medalist Travis Pastrana.

TV producer Matt Martelli said: “We have produced the best showcase of high-speed, bone-rattling, heart-pounding off-road racing action on the planet. This is the Super Bowl of off-road racing. There’s no better weekend than the Fourth of July to showcase this great race.”

Hot Chicks vs. Hot Wings at Diablo’s Cantina

Hot Chicks vs. Hot Wings at Diablo's Cantina on Tuesday, July 1, 2014, at Monte Carlo. Launch slideshow »

HOT CHICKS & HOT WINGS: World Cup soccer between the USA and Belgium wasn’t the only highly anticipated match Tuesday. Diablo’s Cantina at the Monte Carlo presented its fourth-annual Hot Chicks vs. Hot Wings food-challenge competition. Twenty-one glamour girls battled it out for cash prizes as they devoured chef Brian Massie’s notorious hot wings and scorching-hot death wings.

Incredibly, Mindy Wegschied, who used plastic gloves to avoid stinging her hands and arms, ate 16 wings in 2 minutes and 47 seconds and walked away with the first-place prize of $3,000. She told me afterward: “Hot doesn’t even begin to describe this. I’m on fire. Not just my mouth, throat and stomach, but my face, my lips, my cheeks. I’m going to drink milk for the next three days to put out the burning sensation.”

Second-place winner Crystal Schriefer walked away with $1,500, and Melissa Waage placed third for $500. Diablo’s also gave guys in the audience the opportunity to flex their wing-eating muscles. Ten men battled it out, with Forrester Leuta claiming the death-wing king title and $2,000.

I watched in amazement as the contestants stuffed their mouths with hot wings, some even eating bones in addition to meat. You could feel the heat coming off that sauce from 10 feet away, it was so hot. One contestant said it takes about five days to get over the effects of the death wing sauce.

What makes Diablo’s death wings so hot? Chef Brian uses a fiery combination of Mexican ghost peppers, Jamaican jerk spice and Scotch Bonnet chiles from the Caribbean. Contestants signed five-page legal waivers absolving organizers of any complaints and reaction to the heat.

Big One for One Drop Final Table

Daniel Colman holds up his bracelet after winning the final table of the Big One for One Drop tournament at the World Series of Poker on Tuesday, July 1, 2014, at the Rio. Colman is joined by Caesars Acquisitions CEO Mitch Garber, One Drop CEO Catherine B. Bachand and second-place winner Daniel Negreanu. Colman took home first place and $15,306,668 in prize money. Launch slideshow »

POKER PRINCES: Antonio Esfandiari believed that he’d win but didn’t. Daniel Negreanu thought he could pull off a victory but wound up in second with an $8.2 million payday. Pamela Anderson’s husband Rick Salomon, who almost didn’t get to play in Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte’s Big Drop for One Drop charity tournament for WSOP but scrambled in at the last minute and placed seventh from the starting field of 41.

“I didn’t even know if I’d make it in time,” he told me while scurrying to come up with his $1 million buy-in. The last-minute dash paid off, though, in fourth place with a $2.8 million payday, his largest-ever win. In the end, as our Las Vegas Sun Sports colleague Case Keefer reported, the victory and first-place $15.3 million purse went to Daniel Colman from Massachusetts.

Daniel didn’t endear himself to many, refusing to do an ESPN victory interview, other media chats, turning down every request and bolting from the Amazon Room’s final table at the Rio before winner photos had been taken. He had to be dragged back and persuaded to pose with his winnings.

UFC Stars Host 2014 World Cup Party

UFC stars Forrest Griffin, Johny Hendricks and Vanessa Hanson host a World Cup viewing party at Lagasse's Stadium on Tuesday, July 1, 2014, in Palazzo. Launch slideshow »

UFC FIGHT WEEK: The big international UFC Fight Week continues today with UFC stars of the Octagon having open workouts on the runway at Fashion Show mall, charity bowling at Brooklyn Bowl in the Linq and the nighttime takeover of the nearby High Roller observation wheel.

More than 50 fighters and UFC celebrities are taking part in the events. Contributing photographer Tom Donoghue was on duty Tuesday at Lagasse’s Stadium in Palazzo as champions Forrest Griffin and Johny Hendricks teamed with Octagon beauty Vanessa Hanson to greet fans also watching the World Cup.

They held a Q+A with fans and afterward posed for photographs. Octagon model Brittney Palmer showed up at a later session with UFC women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate and UFC flyweight Joseph Benavidez. UFC 175 features Chris Weidman vs. Lyoto Machida on Saturday, with Fight Week wrapping Sunday with “The Ultimate Fighter” reality-TV show finale pitting Frankie Edgar and B.J. Penn.

GOTTA DANCE: A spectacular stage extravaganza celebrating dance through the years gets a world premiere showcase tonight and Thursday at the Smith Center in a journey from Hollywood to Broadway. It covers everything from jazz to tap to Latin to ballet, ballroom and even pole dancing. Choreography is set to Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” Lee Ann Womack’s “ I Hope You Dance” and “Dance My Pain Away” by Wye Oak, among many others.

The show is presented by the Hand Company, directed and choreographed by Giulio Scatola, with design by our pal Emmy Award winner Andy Walmsley. The creative team has collaborated with Jay Z, Beyonce, Gloria Estefan and Emilio Estefan and features several of the best dancers in Las Vegas. The plan after these two days of showcases is for the production to land on the Strip with an eventual national and global tour.

DB Brasserie Grand Opening at Venetian

Buddy Valastro and Daniel Boulud attend the grand opening of DB Brasserie by chef Boulud on Thursday, May 8, 2014, at the Venetian. Launch slideshow »

CHAMPAGNE TASTES: Celebrity chef Daniel Boulud flies in for an extraordinary evening of Dom Perignon bubbles to go with his four-course tasting menu at his new DB Brasserie in the Venetian tonight. Forty well-heeled guests have shelled out $250 per person for the gastronomic treat.

TONIGHT’S TIPS

Widespread Panic is at the Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel.

Sammy Hagar kicks off the nearby Soundwaves poolside concert series.

Mothership is at downtown’s Backstage Bar & Billiards.

And Leftover Salmon and Bill Payne have a midnight show at Brooklyn Bowl.

TOMORROW’S TEASE

We’re getting ready for the Fourth of July fireworks with a preview of all the events, shows and attractions, plus the owner of Giada’s Italian Cucina in Henderson says he’s willing to sit with the same-name TV celebrity chef to break bread, drink wine and offer an olive (oil) branch to find a solution to the same-name confusion.

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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