John Ascuaga’s Nugget’s 50th Anniversary

Family Owned and Operated Casino Reaches a Milestone

SPARKS, Nev., March 17 /PRNewswire/ — On March 17, 2005, John Ascuaga’s Nugget, one of the casino industries only family owned and operated business, will celebrate 50 years with a special fireworks celebration.

The Nugget opened on March 17, 1955 in the little railroad town of Sparks, Nevada. The owner at the time, Dick Graves, had recently moved from Idaho, which had outlawed gaming. Graves moved his interests to northern Nevada and along for the move was a young John Ascuaga. Ascuaga had met Graves in Idaho while working as a bellman at one of Graves’ hotels. Graves was impressed with Ascuaga’s tenacity, never stand-still business philosophy and integrity. Ascuaga was charged with managing the Nugget which at the time was only a small 60 seat cafe with a couple of slot machines. Together they opened the small restaurant and over the next few years opened Trader Dick’s, the Round House Steakhouse, a larger gaming area and ultimately needed to move the operation from B Street to its current location on Victorian Square.

Five short years later Graves decided to retire and sold his interests in the Sparks Nugget to Ascuaga on a handshake. Since then Ascuaga has worked tirelessly to grow the Nugget into a premiere resort with 1,600 rooms, eight restaurants and well-known and respected special events. The Nugget is home to the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off and Star Spangled Sparks northern Nevada’s largest fireworks celebration. Known in the region for great food and entertainment the Nugget has hosted performing legends including Wayne Newton, Liberace and countless others over the years.

On March 17 the Nugget will celebrate this milestone with a street festival and fireworks show by Lantis Fireworks on Victorian Square. A video news release of the festivities and the Ascuaga family will also be available at Satellite IA6 from 11:00 to 11:15 p.m. pacific standard time.

Related Articles