Former Las Vegas showgirl gets her kicks hunting | NevadaAppeal.com

Former Las Vegas showgirl gets her kicks hunting

Rhonda Costa-Landers, Appeal Staff Writer

Diedre Ritter has been dancing ballet, jazz and tap since age 4.

Born in Miami, she grew up in Hendersonville, N.C.

“My dad was an aircraft controller,” Ritter said. “Three weeks after graduating high school, the family moved to Las Vegas. One week later, I had a job.”

Ritter was hired at the Dunes at age 17 as a dancer.

“I knocked another dancer off the stage on my first night in the ‘Showgirl’ production,” Ritter said laughing.

Ritter is now a redhead, but her dancing years were spent as a blonde. Most of her costumes were colorful bikinis with lots of sparkle and glitter.

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“Showgirl” closed after one year, and Ritter was out of work about two months. She went to the Flamingo and stayed with the Hilton Corp. about 10 years, most of them with the “City Lites” production at the Flamingo.

“I met a lot of stars being a dancer — Charo, Jim Neighbors, Debbie Reynolds, Rip Taylor, so many.”

The worst star Ritter worked with was Charo.

“She was just so … ‘I’m the coochy-coochy girl,’ like she was everything. She was never cordial to us.”

The best to work with was Debbie Reynolds.

“She treated the cast of the show so well. She was nice, talked to us like we were real people, threw parties for us all the time, and would take time for pictures. Debbie Reynolds was just a little sweetheart.”

Ritter’s costumes included headpieces weighing from 8 to 30 pounds. As a showgirl, she also attended charity events, and was a TV extra for the “Vegas” show, which starred Robert Urich as Dan Tanna.

“He was a nice, nice man. I also played an extra for the Burt Reynolds movie ‘Heat.’ I miss dancing, yes, but working two shows a night six nights a week, it was hard. Very hard.”

While performing, Ritter put herself through college, earning a degree in computer technology building drafting.

Ritter gave up her glamorous career in 1991 for a man.

“He told me we weren’t seeing enough of each other,” Ritter said. “So we got married.

“He took me to South Africa on our honeymoon, and that’s when I started hunting.”

Ritter’s trophies include a giraffe, blaze buck, kudu, gray dieker, caribou and mouflon ram. Of all her travels, South Africa is her favorite.

“The natives are very nice,” Ritter said. “They are great trackers, baked fresh bread for u, and were just very sweet.

“On my trips, I took candy, what they call sweets. I told our guide I had sweets for the children. He translated to the kids’ mother, she spoke to them, and then they took off running into their house.

“I waited and waited, and about 10 minutes later, the kids came back out dressed in their best clothing. They held out their hands, cupped together, received the candy then clapped their hands together as their way of saying thank you.”

Ritter went to work for the Clark County District Attorney’s Office. After a divorce in 1999, she was at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway watching her nephew race at the Bull Ring.

Looking for a sea, she chose one next to a man high up in the bleachers. Not much of a race fan yet, she spent most of the evening asking the man — David Ritter — questions about racing.

“I thanked him for all his help and information and left to go to the pits. I saw him again two weeks later, and the rest, they say, is history.”

Diedre gave two weeks’ notice at her job and moved to Carson City with David Ritter. After a wedding reception at Micasa Too in Carson City, their honeymoon included karaoke at Kathy’s Someplace Else.

“We had so much fun,” Ritter said.

Ritter now works for the Carson City District Attorney’s Office as a support specialist in the Child Support Division. She continues to hunt domestically.

“We hunt chukker, sagehen, dove and quail,” she said.

“I haven’t entered for a deer tag, yet. And I do eat everything I kill.”

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