National Automobile Museum

The 1907 Thomas Flyer, shown here during the Around the World Race in 1908, will lead a ceremonial lap of the 2011 World Race in Reno on Monday.

Historic Flyer will race again for a day

Published: Sunday, Apr. 24, 2011 - 12:00 am | Page 2I
Last Modified: Sunday, Apr. 24, 2011 - 10:18 am

On Tuesday morning, Reno offers a chance to see a legend back on the road. It will be a fleeting glance, but part of history. The Thomas Flyer will once again be in the lead in a race.

The Flyer, built in 1907, was the winner of the famous World Automobile Race in 1908. It is a centerpiece of the National Automobile Museum and has often been the subject of articles. It's been gently cared for since Bill Harrah, founder of Harrah's and collector of automobiles, found what was left of it and had it fully and authentically restored.

Now, 26 vehicles in the World Race 2011 will roll into Reno, arriving Monday and heading to the collection. Jeff Mahl, great-grandson of the Flyer's original driver, George Schuster, will tell of the experiences of those early automotive pioneers.

The race teams will assemble at the National Automobile Association in Reno on Tuesday and the Flyer will lead them in a parade lap of the downtown area. It will then pull aside as the racers take off to San Francisco, Beijing, Moscow, Berlin and finally Paris.

Today's drivers will undergo trials, but the 22,000 miles covered by the hearty little Flyer encountered obstacles that are practically unbelievable – slogging through Siberian mud, requiring emergency repairs with whatever was available, and even crossing rivers and streams where no established crossing existed.

For boxing fans

On Friday, super middleweights Peter "Kid Chocolate" Quillin (23-0, 17 knockouts, from Brooklyn) and Jesse Brinkley (35-6, 22 KOs, from Yerington, Nev.) square off in the Reno Events Center. The fight is scheduled for 10 rounds and will be nationally televised on Telefutura's Solo Boxeo series.

Quillin is coming off a fourth-round KO of Dennis Sharpe in a fight in Fairfield. Brinkley fought hardily against champion Lucian Bute last October and is in a position for another title shot. First bell at 7 p.m.; $33.25, $63.25, $103.25; Ticketmaster or (800) 745-3000.

Siena reopens

Like the little engine that could, Reno's Siena is defying the current economic atmosphere and has reopened following a $4 million face-lift and under new (and encouragingly debt-free) ownership. Its whole name is the Siena Hotel Spa and Casino, and the operation has aimed for a select clientele over the nine years it was open until finally being forced to close last year. The new owners see the location as select and compare the quality to that known at Harrah's when under the stewardship of Bill Harrah.

The hotel was originally the Holiday, back in Reno's bustling days. Located along the Truckee, one block off Virginia Street, it was known for its cabaret shows, inexpensive drinks, and the only restaurant that allowed views of the river at that time. When it became the Siena, that restaurant became the upscale Lexie's, which never caught on. It has now been rebranded the DaVinci. Other venues at the hotel are the Rotunda Lounge, also overlooking the river, the River View Cafe, Sushi Saga and the Down Under basement lounge with a 1,000-bottle wine cellar.

The Siena is smaller than most other Reno resorts with 214 rooms and 30 suites. Its gaming area is equally small with 425 machines and 16 tables. The look is less old-world Tuscan than new-world bright with white Italian marble and contemporary art. Its location on what was once considered "the wrong side of the river" is next to the Pioneer Theater for the Performing Arts, a bridge's walk from the National Automobile Museum, and two blocks from the Reno Aces Ballpark.

Finally, with the competition from Indian casinos in Northern California, the Siena may just represent the new paradigm for Reno – a hotel with a casino, not a casino with a hotel, its marketing directed toward the business and leisure traveler not necessarily out to break the bank; 1 South Lake St.; $89-$150 a night, suites up to $599; (775) 337-6260.

Also new downtown

Harrah's Reno will open the doors to Hash House A Go Go on Thursday, serving what is billed as "twisted and elaborate farm food" as it does in its Las Vegas and San Diego outlets.

Around the Silver Circle

Foghat tours on with founding partner Roger Earl. The band appears at 9 p.m. Saturday at John Ascuaga's Nugget; $32; (800) 648-1177 or janugget.com.

• The concert scene this week finds Chase and Status (Saul Milton and Will Kennard) at the Knitting Factory at 8 p.m. Monday; $20 general admission, $55 reserved seating.

• A product of the once-influential MySpace but continuing on unabated, the Hollywood Undead plays the Knit at 7 p.m. Tuesday; $25 general; $50 reserved; KnittingFactory.com.

• The Devil Makes Three, with vintage blues tinged with a little punk, plays the Crystal Bay Crown Room at 9 p.m. Wednesday; $20; (775) 833-6333 or crystalbaycasino.com.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Mel Shields



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