By Dave Frank
Appeal Staff Writer
Mike Pegram has raced horses in Kentucky and owns restaurants in Arizona, but has always thought "there's just something mystical" about the mountains in Northern Nevada.
He was ready, then, when he was asked to be a partner at a $20 million project in Carson City.
"... I mean, it's a dream come true," said the co-owner of Bodines, the casino-restaurant at the corner of South Carson Street and Old Clear Creek Road.
The 30,000 square-foot business is scheduled to open the first week of May. It will have 250 slot and video poker machines, a restaurant, sports book, two bars and more than 100 employees.
The Carano family, who own the Eldorado hotel-casino and are partners in the Silver Legacy hotel-casino in Reno, own the business with Pegram and Rick Murdock of Reno.
They bought the building last year, which was formerly the site of a restaurant also called Bodines.
The new Bodines will have some of the same items as the former restaurant, Pegram said, but will have its own look.
It will be comfortable for customers whether "you have cowboy boots or are wearing a tie," said Larry Henry, project architect.
The use of brick, dark woods and hand-painted murals are meant to give it a turn-of-the-century look that will make people think of Carson City's early boom days, he said, but not in a "too blatant" way.
One mural, for instance, has both a scene from the Pony Express and the Kentucky Derby.
Most of the customers will be from around Carson City, said General Manager Steve Forester, so the casino is designed for them.
They also will do promotions with business such as Costco, he said.
Pegram, who owns a group of McDonald's restaurants around Phoenix, said the success of the casino also will not be slowed by a request from CBS to change the name.
This summer, CBS sent a letter to Pegram saying the casino shouldn't use the name "Bodine" because the corporation owns the rights to that name.
"Bodine" also was the last name of Max Baer Jr.'s character, Jethro, in the popular 1960s CBS television show, "The Beverly Hillbillies." Baer is planning to open his own casino in Douglas County.
"As you can see on the signs outside," Pegram said, "we still think the name is ours."
But it is the views from the inside looking toward the mountains to the west that are some of Pegram's favorite things about the casino.
"I think I could have gone farther and done worse," he said. "That's for sure."
• Contact reporter Dave Frank at email@example.com or 881-1212.