Pahrump area hotels see bookings soar during weekend race

The Best in the Desert Racing Association’s Pahrump Nugget 250 off-road racing event left its mark upon Pahrump when it swept through town.

Area hotels were filled to the brim with visitors trying to catch a glimpse of the specialized cars, trucks and UTVs as they did their dirty work in the dusty desert landscape on Saturday.

“This has become one of our busiest weekends of the year and quickly becoming a signature event,” said Arlette Ledbetter, tourism director for the town of Pahrump. “We welcome the Pahrump Nugget 250 and look forward to the visitors filling our town. I don’t think there is a room available and that’s wonderful news.”

The event also filled the majority of Pahrump’s RV parks, according to Ledbetter.

In total, there are 418 hotel/motel rooms and 1,092 RV sites in the local region.

Area rooms had varying prices during the event, which started to roll into town on Nov. 30 with time trials for certain classes of vehicles. Events continued through Dec. 3, with race day occurring on Dec. 2. An awards ceremony was held the following day.

According to, the area Best Western was selling its rooms for $220 per night, which is roughly a 24 percent premium over prices shown on Expedia for Dec. 8 through Dec. 10.

“The Pahrump Nugget 250 provides a nice injection of revenue into the community for gaming and retail throughout the town,” said Jeremy Jenson, general manager of the Pahrump Nugget. “The race drives outer market traffic into Pahrump from surrounding areas, such as Beatty, Amargosa Valley and Las Vegas.”

“Best in the Desert estimates their economic impact to Nye County at $15 million … for the Pahrump Nugget 250,” Ledbetter said in an email.

Around 1,500 spectators were expected in town for the annual racing event. Between racers, crew members and other support crew members, organizers expected an additional 1,550 people in town. In total, that’s more than 3,000 tourists coming to Pahrump.

Area businesses on economic impact

Despite the large dollar amounts being estimated for Pahrump with the race coming through, some area business owners say not all events impact their basis.

Richard Candillier, who owns O Happy Bread, a French Bakery, said eventgoers typically make it to the actual event but don’t often get to his shop.

The Candilliers explained one issue they’ve been having is the number of people who say they didn’t know they were there. The shop sits north of Highway 160 at 1231 E. Basin Ave.

The couple is not the only local business that doesn’t seen an uptick in dollars being spent in their store during large events.

Zita He, who owns the Thai Coconut Bay restaurant with her husband Peter Hung, said she usually doesn’t see increased traffic due to events coming to Pahrump.

The couple purchased the restaurant, which sits behind the Walmart shopping plaza at 270 Dahlia St., in the summer.

He said she does see an increase in sales when students from Front Sight Firearm Training Institute come through.

Overall, the economic impact from tourism in Pahrump has been on the rise, in general.

The town of Pahrump tracked an economic impact of more than $84.5 million for fiscal year 2017, which ran from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017. That was an 11.7 percent increase over fiscal year 2016’s more than $75.7 million impact.

“It’s exciting for our destination,” said Arlette Ledbetter. “It’s slowed since last year, but we did continue to grow stronger than the growth in Las Vegas.”

During that period, visitor traffic to the area was on the rise as well, with 425,600 visitors estimated to have come to Pahrump during fiscal year 2016, rising to 478,756 visitors for fiscal year 2017—a 12.49 percent increase on a year-over-year basis.

Ledbetter attributes the growth to the town’s “marketing projects and partnerships with our local lodges and attractions, state of Nevada partnerships and support of our town manager and Board of County Commissioners.”

Contact reporter Jeffrey Meehan at