Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame Enshrines Class of 2017
Four individuals and the Las Vegas Bowl are honored
At a ceremony this evening at the Orleans Arena, the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame enshrined the five inductees that make up the Class of 2017. This diverse class includes Overton Curtis, Butch Harmon, Floyd Mayweather, Sam Schmidt and the Las Vegas Bowl. Including this induction class, the Hall of Fame now consists of 98 members.
Of the 98 current members, the SNSHOF has enshrined two events (National Finals Rodeo and Las Vegas Bowl), two organizations (Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and Las Vegas Founders), four families (Cashman, Boyd, Fertitta and Herbst), five teams (1976-77 UNLV Basketball, 1989-90 UNLV Basketball, 1983 Las Vegas Stars, 1944 Las Vegas High School Football, 1997-98 UNLV Golf) and 85 accomplished individuals.
“The class of 2017 is accomplished in so many different ways,” said Hall of Fame Executive Director Dan Dolby. “We have an outstanding group of athletes who have contributed both in the competitive arena and in the community, as well as one of most iconic and longest-lasting sporting events in our city. This class again represents the best attributes of our community, and we are thrilled to bestow upon them the state’s highest sports honor in welcoming them to the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame.”
One of the best all-around athletes from his era, Curtis was actively engaged in a number of sports in Las Vegas. He was a standout performer in football, basketball, baseball and track at Las Vegas High School. After a stellar football career at the Utah State University, he signed a professional contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was also a well-respected coach, with stints at both Valley and Rancho High Schools. He was involved in a variety of sports, including football, basketball, soccer and boys and girls track.
Harmon has been involved in the golf arena for more than 50 years. His father, Claude Harmon, a renowned club and teaching professional and 1948 Masters Champion, introduced him to the game. Harmon followed in his father’s footsteps by playing on the PGA TOUR from 1969-71. In his final year on the PGA TOUR, Harmon won the B.C. Open. Currently, he serves as the President of the Butch Harmon School of Golf, headquartered in Henderson, Nev. and has golf schools in Dubai and Florida. He has served a teaching instructor to a long and distinguished list, currently and most notably including Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler, Natalie Gulbis. Previously, he has worked with Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Justin Leonard, Stewart Cink, Mark Calcavecchia and Ernie Els.
“Money” Mayweather is considered one of the greatest fighters of all time. Without question he is the best and most talented fighter of his generation. Throughout his illustrious career Mayweather displayed an unprecedented mix of speed, power and natural instinct every time he stepped into the ring - a combination that translated into 49 wins without a loss, 26 knockouts, and 12 world championships in five weight classes. He has received an endless list of accolades, including five ESPN ESPY Fighter of the Year awards. The Boxing Writers Association of America, Ring Magazine, BET and the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame have also honored him as Fighter of the Year.
Following in his father’s footsteps, Schmidt developed an unmeasured interest in motorsports. In 1997, he made his first IndyCar start. He raced three consecutive years in the Indianapolis 500 and netted his first victory from the pole at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 1999, finishing the year fifth in series points. During testing in preparation for the 2000 season, Schmidt suffered a horrendous crash at Walt Disney World Speedway on Jan. 6, 2000. The accident rendered him a quadriplegic. After leaving the hospital, though no longer able to drive a racecar, Schmidt was still passionate about the sport. He Founded Sam Schmidt Motorsports and continues to manage a full-time IndyCar team. In addition, Schmidt and a few close friends founded the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation, which was rebranded Conquer Paralysis Now in 2015. Their goal is to find cures and treatments for paralysis. After extensive testing, he has driven vehicles using a head array to steer and a bite plate to brake. He was able to reach 152 miles per hour at the iconic Indianapolis 500 Oval and subsequently received the first ever semi-autonomous driver’s license.
The Las Vegas Bowl has become one of the city’s most iconic and enduring sporting events. Organized by community leaders out of a need to fill hotel rooms during a traditionally slow period, the Las Vegas Bowl first kicked off in December of 1992. As the annual showcase has grown in stature, many pundits nationally consider the Las Vegas Bowl as the kickoff to the annual bowl season. Currently, the game pits teams from the Pac-12 and Mountain West conferences, with eight of the last twelve featuring sold-out crowds at Sam Boyd Stadium. Of the 39 current bowl games, the Las Vegas Bowl is now the 16th-oldest game overall and ranks No. 13 in age on a list of current bowls that have remained in one city during their entire history.
The Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization committed to recognizing the outstanding achievements by Southern Nevada athletes, both in the world of sports and the local community. Proceeds from the event will be donated to organizations committed to the support and enhancement of Southern Nevada youth through active participation in programs designed to promote leadership, values and character through sports.
Over the past 21 years, the SNSHOF has awarded 52 scholarships to Clark County students. This year, five graduating seniors are recipients of the Rich Abajian Leadership Scholarship. They are Cortney Blumenthal (Boulder City High School), Jennifer Martinez (Veteran’s Tribute Career & Technical Academy), Jonathan Sosa (Las Vegas High School) and Jaydn Nogues and Emilia Piccininni (Palo Verde High School).