It’s Game On! with the UNLV Oral History Research Center's new sports-themed project

A billboard advertising the Vegas Golden Knights Hockey team looms over the Allegiant Stadium construction site.
A billboard advertising the Vegas Golden Knights Hockey team looms over the Allegiant Stadium construction site on May 29, 2019. Photo by Aaron Mayes, Special Collections & Archives.

In the past year, Las Vegas has seen the Las Vegas Aces claim a second consecutive WNBA title, the Vegas Golden Knights win the Stanley Cup, a Super Bowl at Allegiant Stadium, and the Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix race down the Strip. Professional athletics are having a moment in the Entertainment Capital of the World, and UNLV’s Oral History Research Center wants to capture the story of how we got here.

Under the direction of Claytee White and project manager Stefani Evans, the OHRC is launching a new two-year project, Game On! The Oral History of Las Vegas Sports

“The national spotlight is shining on Las Vegas, but it’s important to remember that sports didn’t start here with the construction of Allegiant Stadium,” said White, who is the founding director of the OHRC, which is part of Special Collections & Archives in the University Libraries. “We have a long history of athletes and sports teams, professional, college, high school, amateur and everything in between. This is the perfect time to document these stories for future generations.”

Game On! will collect oral histories from the people who shaped sports in Las Vegas, from the earliest teams and dreamers to the champion teams and the proliferation of professional sports teams in the city.

“Our goal is to collect around 140 oral histories over the course of the project,” said Sarah Quigley, director of UNLV Special Collections & Archives. “These first-hand accounts will enhance our extensive oral history collection, which includes nearly 5,000 interviews with individuals who have called Las Vegas and Southern Nevada home.”

The center plans to conduct interviews covering hockey, football, baseball, softball, mixed martial arts, motorsports, tennis, basketball, rugby, soccer, lacrosse, swimming, poker, boxing, rodeo, golf, running, rodeo, esports, and more.

“The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, the American Gladiators, American Ninja Warrior, and so many more sports entertainment franchises have competed in Las Vegas,” said Evans. “Collectively they are part of our city’s history and this project will ensure these stories that show off the different parts of our culture are preserved in Special Collections & Archives.”

Game On! oral histories will be transcribed, digitized and made available to researchers and interested parties around the world through the UNLV Special Collections & Archives Portal. Any additional donated documents, manuscript collections, or photographs will also be made available to the public through Special Collections and Archives in Lied Library.

The project is launching with an initial $30,000 gift from a private donor. The Center is seeking additional funding to support the project over the next two years. Gifts to the project will be used to hire additional staff to support logistics and editing, transcribe and print copies of the oral histories, and process and make the interviews available and findable online.

If you’re interested in making a tax deductible donation to support the Game On! project, visit the UNLV Foundation website and direct your gift to the Oral History Research Center. If you have any questions about making a donation, you can also contact Michael Beiler, Director of Development for UNLV Libraries, at or 702-895-2239. 

White and Evans have begun scheduling interviews, but are seeking suggestions on individuals to interview. Do you know someone whose story should be included in the project? Nominate them using our online form or contact the Oral History Research Center at 702-895-2222.

If you’re interested in learning more about the project, or follow updates on the work, visit the Game On! webpage

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