Preamble: I spoke with Aengus at great length about this incident with the Camel Races and he wanted to re-emphasize that the Storey County Deputies handled their interaction with him with exceptional professionalism. This situation could have ended very differently. Thankfully, the Deputies were careful to deal with things in exactly the right way. Aengus wants to pass along his gratitude for the conduct of the professionals in the Storey County Sheriff’s Office.
Based on his experience, this very serious matter needs to be addressed with the VCTC board, Deny Dotson and Liquid Blue. All residents have to deal with the visitors on some level, but this level is approching beast mode and is not what we should have to endure. Time to implement solutions to prevent this from happening again.
Issue With The Virginia City Camel Race Event
Because of the Virginia City Camel Race event and the ineptitude of Liquid Blue Staff, I experienced one of the worst days since I moved to Virginia City. This includes being lied to by staff, insulted and harassed by tourists on my personal property, a filing of a false report of brandishing, G Street being partially blocked as a fire lane, fire hydrants being blocked, and having to remove a dead baby deer that tourists just walked by while it was dying. Liquid Blue, the Virginia City Camel Race promotors, are responsible for these issues and should take note to resolve them.
Trespassing and Insults by Tourists:
I was outside in a tank top and shorts on my property taking care of my yard and animals when I see someone trying to park directly in my driveway, on my property. I go up and respectfully tell the driver that it is personal property, they are trespassing, and that they cannot park their large truck in my driveway. The passenger, a woman, began to apologize and told me that the parking attendant up the road told them that they can park anywhere down G street. When I told them that the parking attendant was incorrect and they cannot park in my driveway and block my vehicles and garage, the driver, a man, interrupted her started yelling at the top of his lungs at me, insulting me, making rude gestures with his hands, and seemingly getting angrier and angrier before peeling out of my driveway, showering me in dirt and rocks from my property. I did not get his license plate number, but I did note it was an out of state license plate (California, to be specific).
Lies by the Camel Races Parking Attendant at the End of G Street At The Fairground Entrance at F Street:
After the truck peeled out of my driveway, I walked up towards the end of G Street to talk to the Liquid Blue parking attendant. At the end of my driveway is a fire hydrant that is being blocked by a car with out of state license plates (once again, Californian). Walking up G Street towards the end and the intersection of F Street and the Fairgrounds entrance, I note that cars are parked on both sides of the road, some of them trucks that are pulled up sideways on private property, digging holes and ruts into the dirt.
At this point, G Street is almost entirely blocked enough so that cars have difficulty getting down it. I have difficulty walking up G Street because of the drivers and myriad of bad parking, and more people are driving down G Street and just parking wherever they want to. There is no possible way for an ambulance or fire truck to get anywhere on G Street. G Street is a Fire Lane and is supposed to be clear enough to get down with emergency vehicles, but there was no possible way to do so at that time.
Nearing the parking lot attendant’s tent, I hear him tell a couple in a car to “Just go down this road and find an empty space to park in” as he points down G Street. I politely advise the attendant that G Street is supposed to be a Fire Lane, and should be clear enough to get emergency vehicles down, and he should not be advising people to park down it. The attendant advises me that he wasn’t telling people that they can park on G Street, even though I had just witnessed him saying exactly that. I called him on his boldfaced lie by telling him I just heard him tell the last driver to go down G Street, find an empty spot, and park anywhere on it. The parking attendant again lied to me, telling me that he did not tell people to park on G Street, even though he clearly did. I decided to let it go because you cannot argue with someone who lies to be right and walked back down to my driveway.
Harassment and False Charges by a Tourist:
Upon walking down the hill towards my driveway, I see two of our local Sherriff cars roll up and park in my driveway. They get out and as I walk up, they immediately ask me to not put my hands in my pockets and to put my hands behind my back. They frisk me, on my property in my driveway, and find nothing (as I was still wearing just shorts and a tank top). Confused, I asked why was I frisked and the Sheriff Deputies tell me that someone had called 911 and reported me waving around a gun!
It turns out that the angry person that I had told not to park in my driveway had called 911 and reported me as “waving around a gun”. Obviously, I was not carrying a weapon, nor was I “waving a gun around”, but the tourist decided to call it in as such, which could have easily got me in big trouble or even shot. After the deputies and I talk a bit, they end up apologizing and putting cones in my driveway to block people from parking there. They do nothing about the cars parked on both sides of our street blocking the whole road and parked on private property, nor do they ticket the car that is blocking the fire hydrant at the end of my driveway.
Dead Baby Deer:
After the police put up the cones and drove away, my neighbor drives up on her quad and tells me that one of the twin baby deer that has been hanging around our houses is stuck in a fence a half a block up G Street, dead. I went to go help take the baby down, and it looks like the baby got stuck on a short picket fence while trying to jump over it and had died. On taking it down to dispose of, it looks like it may not have been dead very long, so I ask myself: Which one of the tourists scared the baby deer enough to cause it to try to jump over the fence and get stuck? How many of those same tourists that lined and blocked our road walked right by that baby deer and didn’t help it as it died, nor take the baby down and just walked by, leaving it for everyone (including children) to see?
Insulting Tourist Thief:
Walking down G Street after getting the dead baby deer off of the fence, I saw some tourist grab one of the V&T Railway sandwich board signs and start walking away with it, obviously stealing it. I yell at him to put it back, that he is a guest and he is disrespecting our town. Of course, I get cussed out, called fat, told I need to “go on a treadmill” and some excuse about someone else telling the adult tourist to take the sign. I tell the tourist that I don’t care who told him to take it, and for him to put it back. The tourist cusses and insults me more while the tourist just tosses the sign back near where he stole it from. Since he was one street up and had put the sign back, I ignored the rest.
Tourist Garbage Everywhere:
Of course, now that the event is over and all the illegally parked people are gone from G Street, there are mounds of garbage up and down G Street. It seems as if most of it is garbage just tossed out of people’s cars where they had parked, but a lot of it is garbage from the actual Liquid Blue event. It seems like the disrespectful tourists that are drawn by the Liquid Blue events can’t even throw their garbage away in the few garbage cans that were provided by Liquid Blue, forcing the residents of Virginia City to clean up after them.
Something needs to be done by the event promotors, Liquid Blue, and the Virginia City Event and Tourism Board. I am cursed out and insulted on my own property when I am forced to tell people to get off of it. I have a false report of brandishing filed on me that could have easily gotten me in serious trouble or even shot because a tourist didn’t like me telling them that they cannot park on my driveway. G Street, the fire lane, and fire hydrants are completely blocked for emergency vehicle use because parking lot attendants hired by Liquid Blue are telling people to park anywhere down G Street then lying about it when confronted. I have to retrieve a dead baby deer off of a fence because neither the same tourists that park illegally nor the event promoters can be bothered to help a dying animal and they don’t even have enough respect to take the dead baby deer off the fence so other people, including children, don’t have to see it. I have to stand there and take insults and body-shaming tourists that are caught stealing.
All of this happened to one person, on one day, around one part of one event, in a matter of hours. This leads me to ask: If one lone person is having such a bad time with an event put on by Liquid Blue/Virginia City Event and Tourism Board, how much trouble are others in my beloved little town having?
Liquid Blue and the Virginia City Event and Tourism Board needs to be held accountable for these issues. They absolutely need to hire more event staff, such as parking, security, and cleanup. The parking staff needs to be educated on the proper places to tell people to park or not to park. The roads that people should not park on should have actual security, blocking ropes, cones, and large signs that tell people that there is absolutely no parking, that it is Fire Lane or private property, etc. There should roving security and tow trucks standing by to tow people that ignore the laws and trespass. There should be more roving security to stop the disrespect, the thieves, and the drunks from harassing the people who actually live here as well as roving cleanup crews to pick up the piles of trash that these tourists are throwing everywhere.
I personally believe that all the issues and harassment that I experienced today was caused directly by Liquid Blue, the Virginia City Event and Tourism Board, and the Virginia City Camel Races staff because they are the ones that lured all of these tourists into the event without enough educated staff to handle the parking problems, the insulting and stealing tourists, and the cleanup issues.
Ryan Aengus Luker