Brothel grand opening set for Saturday |

Brothel grand opening set for Saturday

by Susie Vasquez, Appeal Staff Writer

Wild Horse Canyon Ranch and Spa, Storey County’s newest brothel, is hosting a grand opening this weekend.

Owner Lance Gilman said the project took a lot of energy, money and effort, but it’s a sincere attempt to raise the bar for this industry in Nevada.

Gilman is involved in several enterprises, including Carson City’s Harley Davidson shop on North Carson Street. He’s also a developer and partner in Storey County’s Tahoe Reno Industrial Center.

“I’ve been involved with a number of businesses over the years, including real estate, but this business is the most fascinating and the busiest,” he said. “We got to the finish line. Now, the real work starts.”

The place off Interstate 80 at Patrick bustled Tuesday afternoon. A mariachi band will set up near the pool and the menu includes fajitas off the grill during a reception. The girls swirl around brothel manager Susan Austin, asking advice on clothes and showing off their manicures.

Customers enter through the Wild Horse Saloon, a separate business, and brothel customers are directed through a door at the back of the saloon, where they’re met by a parlor hostess.

“The men who want to sit and drink shouldn’t be in a brothel,” Gilman said.

The parlor is a dimly lit tangle of soft, neutral hues. African game animals decorate the walls, a huge fireplace spans one wall and mirrors stand against another.

A white cockatiel named after Virginia City’s famous prostitute Julia Bulette perches nearby.

“Sometimes, Julia joins the lineup. The girls said they’ve never been upstaged by a bird before,” Austin said with a smile.

In the quest to accommodate a wide range of customers, few details were spared.

Many of the features were patterned after high-end European brothels, Austin said.

The million-dollar, 24,000-square-foot complex boasts 28 standard rooms.

A private showing by closed circuit TV can be arranged for those who want complete anonymity. The facility includes a bachelor party room, three tastefully decorated suites used for longer stays and a room with wider doors for the handicapped.

The brothel employs about 20 support personnel to provide meals, 24-hour maid service and general maintenance.

The working girls are independent contractors, each coming to separate agreements with their customers. Sixteen work at Wild Horse and another five are expected soon, Austin said.

Development of the brothel has been fraught with complications.

Following the first business license application in December of 2001, the brothel faced a string of legal challenges from neighboring businesses, including DP Properties, Kal Kan Foods Inc. and Roybridge Investments Limited.

All claimed the presence of a brothel will devastate their business image, standing and perception in the national business community. To date, those allegations have been denied in the courts.

Wild Horse Canyon Ranch and Spa is east of the infamous Mustang Ranch brothel, padlocked since guilty verdicts against the brothel’s parent companies and manager in a federal fraud and racketeering trial.

Storey County officials expect the brothel to generate about $300,000 in tax revenues for Storey County annually, replacing revenues lost when the U.S. Treasury closed Mustang Ranch.

The Wild Horse open house is set for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

What: Grand Opening Wild Horse Brothel

When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday

Where: Patrick off I-80