Life’s a beach – and then you party |

Life’s a beach – and then you party

Karen Woodmansee
Appeal Staff Writer

Young and old, visitors and locals mixed it up on the dance floor, to the rock and roll beat of Road Daddy.

Pretty girls showed off their figures in bikinis, men showed off their legs, and both sexes showed off their ugly Hawaiian shirts and Hula Hoop talents.

Roast pig, grilled and raw oysters and barbecued shrimp were devoured, along with side dishes and desserts. And the beer (and whiskey and whatever else) flowed like the Truckee River.

An L.A., Honolulu or Key West celebration? No, the Washoe Club’s Sixth annual Beach Party, in frigid Virginia City.

This was an event that has become the cure for Comstock cabin fever. After several months of cold and snow, the Beach Party says spring is right around the corner more vociferously than any groundhog.

Owners Cliff and Jennifer McCain and Cherrie Bailey truck sand in to spread around the floor of the oldest saloon in town. They set up outdoor tables complete with brightly colored umbrellas. Beach-oriented decorations are everywhere.

Contests include the Bikini Extravaganza, Sexy Men’s Leg Contest, Hula Hoop-off and Ugly Hawaiian Shirt Clash. Winners are chosen based on how loud their supporters can scream. No pictures here, folks, so use your imaginations or go on up to the bar and see if the owners put some on the wall yet.

Ricky Ryan of Dayton won the Ugliest Hawaiian Shirt contest, though I screamed my lungs out for my husband, Carl. Sadly, he didn’t place. There were two spots, and Mary Kay Sheahan of Thailand (so she said) was second.

Only two girls had the courage to wear bikinis in the freezing high mountain air, though the saloon was nice and comfy, so they were both declared the winners; Carolynn McCormick of Reno and Tricia Stransky of the Virginia City Highlands.

The Hula Hoop contest was hilarious, with about two dozen drunk people trying to swing a thin round plastic thing on their hips. Bartender Wilson, jazz drummer Bob Stransky and Ryan showed it wasn’t an activity for women only, though the three finalists ended up to be female (no surprise there). Some were good, too. In first place was Diane from Dayton, who didn’t want to give her last name, second place went to Tricia Stransky of bikini success, and third place went to Sue Goddard of Reno.

So the three ladies got up on the bar and competed in a Hoop-Off, with Tricia Stransky taking the top spot, keeping the hoop going for about 30 seconds.

The Sexy Men’s Leg Contest was held for the first time, and five guys stripped to their shorts (behind a black curtain) to show off their legs.

But by then the crowd was having too much fun to pay much attention, and all five guys were declared winners.

I thought Rich Connell of Virginia City should have won, since Carl didn’t enter.

The five were Connell, Ryan, Josh Gann and two guys from Reno who were somehow too embarrassed to give their names.

There was so much revelry, the Washoe couldn’t contain it all. Beach Party-goers wandered around town, making sure to stop into the nearby Ponderosa Saloon to try their hand at karaoke, or the Mark Twain or Delta Saloons, where they took their chances on the slots.

The Washoe Club Beach Party is always held the first Saturday in March, for those of you who want a sure cure for cabin fever next year.

• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at or 881-7351.