LOYALTON ROTARIANS heard the stories of Tom Young, Brewmaster and President of Great Basin Brewing Company in Reno and Sparks and of John Ascuaga, one of Nevada’s most famous businessman of the Nugget. Tom is a former Loyalton Rotarian, best known as “Gold Finger,” having worked locally in the mines. Tom brought with him 4-packs of premium beer such as “Dawn Patrol,” “Outlaw” and “Bombers,” with the purpose of holding a heated bidding war among the Rotarians. Part of the proceeds of the Dawn Patrol pale ale supports the Reno balloon races. Included was a loaf of specialty bread and Tom told of experiments in making beer bread. Now retired, John purchased the Nugget in 1960 from Dick Graves who opened the hotel casino as a 60-seat coffee shop with slot machines. John met his wife, Rose, in the Nugget’s Steak House. They had four children and now have 7 grandchildren. John stated it was a “treat” to come to Sierra Valley. He lives on a ranch outside Carson City and commuted to work 47 years. He told how he “loved every minute” when at the Nugget and talked of “great employees.” He called the most important department human resources and said they’d started the first 401K in the State, first medical staff in any casino to keep people healthy and gave over 700 scholarships since starting the Nugget. He told of knowing the market base and developing a “real team.” He stated he’d had one employee 42 years, a lot of Hispanics and children graduated from University of Nevada. “If I make it, my employees make it,” he stated. He loved the food business but stated there’s nothing more difficult. He told of being in agriculture all his life and being big in cattle, now running 300 head. Concerning his famous elephants, Bertha and Angel, he told how Bertha had been found in Wisconsin and called the elephants “a home run.” John remembered bringing them to Loyalton’s parade and to all parades. Those present remembered the elephant, Tina, who performed with Bertha. John verified all those rumors on how bad Tina had been, calling her “real bad.” All the elephants were Asian and he compared getting them here to now getting a well permit and told the difficulties of getting a trainer by having to go to circuses. He said everybody still asks about Bertha, who died at age 42 and never missed an engagement. He spoke fondly of Bertha, stating there will never be an other elephant like her, who appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show and in San Jose at the football game as the halftime entertainment. Angel is now in a Fort Worth zoo and is pregnant. On celebrities who performed at the Nugget, he said Red Skeleton was great and entertained a lot and he liked the Ponderosa crew. They never featured Frank Sinatra. John bid on a coveted pack of Great Basin’s beer and donated it back to the local Rotary Club.