Owner of Tonopah’s Clown Motel touts happy clowns, brisk business

While police departments and school administrators deal with the creepy clown craze, the owner of the famous Clown Motel in Tonopah said business has never been better.

“We have had no effect with that whatsoever,” said Bob Perchetti, owner of the motel for 35 years. “If nothing else, business has improved. People are fascinated by clowns, and we have had no problems at all. In fact, we have been full every night as of late. A lot of that is because of our rates because our rates are very low too.”

Perchetti also said that his motel promotes what he calls ‘happy clowns,’ of the Ronald McDonald and Bozo the Clown variety.

He did admit that some children of families who stay at the Clown Motel are a bit apprehensive when they first come in.

“When children come in they are holding on to their dad’s pant leg and looking around at the clowns,” he said. “I talk to them and let them know that we just have happy clowns. We have no ugly clowns or no mean or scary clowns. That is what we have done from the start; we have always promoted happy clowns. After a while, the kids get over it, and pretty soon they are looking at all the clowns.”

Perchetti said there are many times visitors arrive at the motel dressed as clowns.

“People come through here all the time dressed as clowns, but we haven’t had any ugly things happen, like clowns jumping out from the cemetery next door and trying to scare people,” he said. “I really haven’t had a problem, and the Clown Motel is doing better than it ever has.”

As evidence of the motel’s popularity, Perchetti said he is hosting something akin to a clown convention at his business later this month.

“We have an event coming up (Oct. 22) … and it will be a clown night,” he said. “We’re going to have about 150 people and we’re going to give them some refreshments and everybody’s going to put clown noses on and we will take a big group picture of them.”

The Clown Motel has even spurred interest with the Travel Channel. Perchetti recalled a visit from the producers of the channel’s “Ghost Adventures” nearly two years ago.

There is also renewed interest among a few media outlets in Southern Nevada.

“The Travel Channel “Ghost Adventures” did a three-day shoot here about a year and a half ago, and we were part of that shoot,” he recalled. “Somebody from the Las Vegas Review-Journal is going to come up here on Friday or Saturday to do a story, and Fox 5 News in Las Vegas canceled their trip here because of this whole thing going on across the United States.”

Perchetti provided his thoughts on the apparent hysteria among some people regarding the clown controversy.

“I can almost understand some of the hysteria,” he said. “I kind of knew it was coming because all of all of the weird movies they had about killer clowns years ago. I think it kind of caught up with the people watching those movies. I think it’s mostly young people who are doing that. I think if they scare somebody or do something out of the ordinary, they should be arrested.”

For guests who are fearful of clowns, Perchetti said he makes a special effort to assuage their concerns.

“There have been some people who have anxiety coming into the office to check in,” he said. “There have been times where they take a registration card and fill it out in their vehicle, and I have actually taken towels and covered up the clown pictures in their rooms if they ask me to do it, but that only happens once in awhile.”

The Clown Motel is at 521 N. Main St., in Tonopah. For additional information on the popular roadside destination, call 775-482-5920.

Pahrump hasn’t been without its own creepy clown incident. The Nye County Sheriff’s Office had to issue a release regarding possible threats during Pahrump Valley High School’s homecoming events. The threat, posted on Facebook, referenced “clown activity,” the sheriff’s office said.

Detectives interviewed a juvenile who explained the comments were made as a hoax. But there was an increased presence by the Sheriff’s Office at the football game.

Though the incidents have rattled some nerves, there are no reports of anyone being injured by such activity in Pahrump.

Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at sharris@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @pvtimes