..:: The Mint 400 Desert Rally ::..



A Fremont Street parade marking the kickoff of the Mint 400.


The Mint 400 was an annual desert off road race for both motorcycles and four wheel vehicles (buggies, cars and trucks) sponsored by Del Webbs Mint Hotel and Casino. Del Webb was owner of the famous Mint Hotel in downtown Las Vegas before the strip was king and downtown was a outdoor mall. The Mint sponsored this event from 1970 through the sale of the hotel and casino in the late 1980's. For the first few years of the event Jim Beam put out special commemorative decanters.


The casino/hotel as it was back in the 60's.


Norm Johnson, off-road racer, publicist, sculptor, and journalist, founded the albeit extinct, Mint 400 Off-Road Race. He has raced off-road for 14 years, winning many awards. Norm initiated the race while working in public relations for Del Webb's Mint Hotel in downtown Las Vegas. The race grew in popularity for over 20 years. Norm served as a consultant on "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" while it was being filmed in Southern Nevada.

     
Left: Norm Johnson -- Right: Del Webb


The Mint 400 as it was known (now the Nevada Primm 300) a crazy casino promotion that exploded from 98 entries the first year to more than 500 entries every year and millions of dollars to the Las Vegas business community.
None could question the Mintís claim to being the roughest, biggest, richest and toughest-to-win off-road race anywhere!

   
Left; a race competitor during the Mint 400 of 1971 -- Right; Guy Cooper at his best.


Entrants in this event were world wide and included some of the biggest names from all venues of racing as well as the television and motion picture industry.
Pre-race activities included the closing of a portion of Fremont Street in order to conduct and carry out the vehicle technical inspection and race car impound.
Each year the Mint racing committee chose a contingent of lovely ladies to reign over the events activities. Known as the Mint 400 girls this group includes such names as Lynda Carter (Wonder Woman) and Vanna White.

   
Vanna White.


And last but not least!; some newspaper cuts about the Mint 400.

 





A bourbon decanter filled with Jim Bean specially made
for the 1971 (4th) Del Webb's Mint 400 Desert Rally.