[On the scene]

Bloody Marys?! Awesome!

Also, hookers. Scenes from a charity biker run to the Chicken Ranch


At 9 a.m. the hookers at the Chicken Ranch are dressed and ready. Usually they wear gowns and look intentionally, even zealously, girly. But now it’s leather and denim, like they are The Ronettes. Alicia, a blond prostitute who has spent her entire adult life in the business, could not resist her penchant for designer labels and has slipped on jeans with “Bebe” in slithering silver letters. She is volunteering behind a booth with free coffee (“I hate the sound of that word,” she says) and pitchers of bloody Marys. Actually, Alicia is ready to go home after several weeks at the Ranch. She was here last year for the annual charity motorcycle ride, Bordello Jokeher Pokeher Hand, and she knows there will be little poking. She is so sure, she has even packed away her condoms. “These guys are not here for that. You would think with more than 1,000 bikers ... but they just hang around for a bit and drive off.”

The bikers have places to be to complete a poker hand they started when they registered in Vegas the day before and drew their first card. The Chicken Ranch is one of four stops that include the brothel next door, Sheri’s Ranch, and the strip club six miles up the road, Kingdom Gentleman’s Club, before the bikers end up in the tiny hamlet of Crystal, at Short Branch Saloon, a place that advertises itself on its website as “biker-friendly.”

At each stop the bikers grab a card. The completed poker hands are used to win various prizes at the end. But the prizes aren’t the appeal; the event is a daylong social party. Bikers head toward the brothel in convoys, two abreast, that dominate the Blue Diamond Highway to Pahrump.

Alicia is waiting for them behind a tip jar next to the bloody Marys, since each biker also gets two free drink tickets. Alicia knows they do take time out from the drive to drink. Debbie, the brothel manager, remembers last year some bikers having to sit on rocks to sober up before continuing on.

On the front porch of the brothel, volunteer Debbie Rodriguez hands cards to the bikers; she’s helped for the past five years at these sorts of charity runs. Asked how she feels about the brothel locations, she says, “I hate it.” Asked to explain, after some prodding she says, reluctantly, “I guess because these girls look so much better than I do.”

The first biker to greet Alicia has his wife by his side. Bob and Susan Belich came from Mesquite to participate. “This is the second time we have been to this one. We just love to go to these bordellos. It is kind of neat,” says Bob. “They have a really good lunch from Larry’s Meat.”


Richard Abowitz

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