Monday, July 13, 2015 | 7:58 p.m.
Editor’s Note: As Robin Leach ends his trip to Costa Esmeralda on Sardinia to spend a week outside Rome in Santa Marinella on the coast before moving onto his traditional summer vacation under the Tuscan sun in Italy, many of our Strip personalities have stepped forward in his absence to pen their words of wisdom.
We continue today with “Pawn Stars” reality-TV hero Rick Harrison and one of only 180 sake sommeliers in the world, Melissa Nguyen of Andrea’s at Steve Wynn’s Encore. Here is the History Channel’s top-rated star Rick, who is about to open his retail-shopping venue Pawn Plaza downtown.
One of the great perks of celebrity is getting a chance to use your voice for good and sometimes just for what you care about because you can. I have been very lucky during these “Pawn Stars” years to be able to set up an annual charity fund that gives more than $100,000 each year to causes we find worthy.
It’s amazing that a $500 gift to one nonprofit can be legitimizing and empowering and move them to the next level, while a $10,000 check to another one doesn’t even merit a thank-you note. We are happy to give to as many groups as possible each year as much as we can, but we find that the smaller gifts to the lesser-known charities are perhaps the most rewarding.
That being said, I am the national spokesman for the Epilepsy Foundation, and our second-annual Pawn Stars Poker Run is in October. If you ride or are looking for a great group for engagement, consider our Epilepsy Foundation local chapter. I had this often-debilitating disease all of my childhood. I want to see it end and am happy to lend my voice to their fight.
Pawn Plaza opens this summer downtown, and what an amazing adventure it has been and continues to be. It takes forever to get a sign approved, but we are past that hurdle now and can’t wait for Smoke’s Poutinerie to open, as well as Rick’s Rollin’ Smoke BBQ, Rita’s Italian Ice, Vegas Flip Flops and So-Cal Speed Shop, among others, giving our visitors somewhere besides a hotline to spend their time before visiting us at World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop.
I even passed my test and can serve drinks and food at Rick’s Rollin’ Smoke BBQ. Come and tell me a joke while I tend bar or maybe try to negotiate your drink price, right? The rooftop bar will be a great place to view the lights of downtown and the Strip, and the live music will keep everyone rockin’.
Now that there are more than a dozen hats in the ring on the Republican side of the election and several lining up on the other side, I have chosen my favorite: Marco Rubio.
I learned a long time ago that you don’t need to agree with a candidate 100 percent of the time, but if you find one you agree with most of the time who speaks well, has knowledge and is for business, genuine and electable, you may have found just the person you’d like to see run the USA and take us to a better place.
That guy is Marco Rubio for me. He is my guy, and I hope to see him get the Republican nod and make it past Hillary Clinton or whoever is on the other side and invite me to stay in Lincoln’s bedroom. For a history nut like me, how awesome would that be?
Robin Leach was kind enough to give me a soapbox and a way to reach some folks, so I hope that I gave you something to think about. Whatever you do, give to those less fortunate, whoever they may be, make sure you always vote (people died to give us this right) and, very optional, come and visit Pawn Plaza when we open this summer and let me serve you a beer or cocktail.
I might even get Chumlee to come over and hang out with us!
Check out our other guest column today from Melissa Nguyen from Andrea’s at Steve Wynn’s Encore — she is one of the world’s few Level II sake sommeliers. On Tuesday, look for our guest columns from magician Nathan Burton and Terry Fator’s beautiful onstage sidekick and ex-wife Taylor Makakoa.
Robin Leach of “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous” fame has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past 15 years 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 Las Vegas Sun Entertainment + Luxury Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.