Vegas investigative reporter selected as grand marshal |

Vegas investigative reporter selected as grand marshal

Jarid Shipley
Appeal Staff Writer

When the representatives of Nevada Day Inc., started looking for a grand marshal for the 2007 Nevada Day Parade, they knew they were looking for someone unique.

After all, the theme for the parade is “Mysteries of Nevada – Area 51,” and focuses on the myths and legends associated with the now-famous secret military base near Las Vegas.

With so much that is unknown about the site and the story surrounding it, the committee decided to select a grand marshal who had worked trying to uncover the truth.

George Knapp, chief investigative reporter for Channel 8 in Las Vegas, was a perfect fit.

“He started researching if there really were UFOs at Area 51 and ended up doing an entire series on it,” said Reg Creasey, president of Nevada Day Inc. “This is the first time in a long time we’ve had a grand marshal from the south, but this theme lends itself to someone from that area.

“His association with the subject and the southern part of the state will help bring in more people who know about his work.”

In 1990, that investigative series on UFOs was selected by United Press International as the best individual achievement by a journalist.

Knapp has also received 14 Emmy awards and the Edward R. Murrow Award for investigative reporting.

But it was his interest in Area 51 that sealed his place in the Nevada Day Parade.

“When I first got the e-mail, I thought, ‘Are they sure they got the right person? Who in Northern Nevada knows me?'” Knapp said.

Knapp insists that he is fascinated with the government’s response to stories of flying saucers, not the aliens themselves.

“I’m not smart enough to figure out the cosmic significance of these creatures, or if they even exist,” Knapp said. “I’m more interested in the government’s response to these stories of extra-terrestrials.”

The 2007 Nevada Day celebration marks the 143rd anniversary of the state’s admission to the union.

The parade runs down Carson Street from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. on Oct. 27. The parade route begins at the intersection of William and Carson streets and ends at the intersection of Stewart and Carson streets.

The festivities begin at 8 a.m. with a hot-air balloon launch on Carson Street followed by a 10 a.m. fly over of F-18 Hornets and an F-16 Falcon from the Naval Air Station Fallon as well as a C-130 Hercules from the Nevada Air Guard. The parade features floats, marching bands and a variety of entertainment.

• Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at or 881-1217.

Themes and grand marshals from the last 20 years of Nevada Day Parades:


“Nevada’s Tribute to the Arts”

Louise Curran, Virginia City arts leader


“Silver Past and Golden Future”

Les Groth, longtime Carson City fire chief


“125 Years of Progress”

Robert Laxalt, noted Nevada author


“126 Years of Entertainment”

John Ascuaga, Sparks casino owner


“Salute the Nevada Family”

Ronnie Johnson, family of clowns


“Trails to the Past – Networks to the Future”

Sessions “Buck” Wheeler, Nevada historian, and Dr. James Billington, head of the Library of Congress


“A Tribute to Nevada Firefighters”

Bill Farr, longtime Sparks fire chief and legislator


“A Tribute to Nevada Railroads”

John Tyson, TV personality, author, Nevada cowboy


“Tribute to Nevada Legends, featuring Hank Monk Pioneer Stage Driver”

JohnD Winters, noted Nevada agriculturalist


“A Tribute to Sports”

Judge Mills Lane, Reno jurist and TV personality


“Nevada, Land of Music”

The Gaylords, entertainers Burt Holiday & Ron Gaylord


“Blazing Trails into the Future”

Hughie Schoff, longtime Nevada tourism booster


“Steaming into the Millennium”

Patty Sheehan, professional golfer


“Pioneering the New Millennium”

Richard Bryan, U.S. Senator from Nevada


“Where The Past Meets the Future”

Ed Blanchard, Bill Dolan, Joe Foster, Mike Shaughnessy, and Jean Stokke – longtime Nevada Day Committee members


“Nevada is Indian Territory”

Felix Ike, Robert Quintero, Phil Swain and Brian Wallace – American Indian tribal representatives


“A Salute to Our Veterans”

Richard Sorensen, 1944 Medal of Honor winner


“Entertainment Nevada Style”

Frank Sinatra Jr., entertainer


“Nevada Day Presents the Wild West”

John Tyson, TV personality, author, Nevada cowboy


“Nevada Day meets the V&T Railway”

Inyo Engine No. 22 of the V&T Railroad


“Mysteries of Nevada – Area 51”

George Knapp, TV investigative reporter and Area 51 authority