I think it's safe to say McMullan's Irish Pub corners the market in Las Vegas when it comes to shaving heads for St. Baldrick's Day. This past week marked their 10th year donating to the cause that benefits fighting childhood cancer, and just like each year before, it was bigger and better than ever.
Would you believe illusionist Criss Angel showed up with a check for $100,000? He did, and now I feel obligated to take back some of the negative things I wrote about him when he first came to town. My long-time readers will know what I'm talking about but thankfully all that fodder is now lost to the Internet junkyard. So be it.
Although McMullan's gets a ton of rightfully deserved publicity each year for their event, it would be remiss not to mention there's other bars and organizations that also donate to the St. Baldrick's cause. In my neighborhood, that place is the Little Crown & Anchor Pub and this year marked their 4th anniversary doing their head-shaving/dart tournament fundraiser, all thanks to long-time patron Cory O'Harrow and bar manager Art Christensen.
Meet Cory. He can throw a mean dart.
Manager Art Christensen (pre-shave) displays the Dart Champion belt.
Heidi reminds us that every three minutes a child is diagnosed with cancer.
After the third person was shaved, I started seeing a common pattern emerge. It wasn't hard to notice but as this was my first St. Baldrick's event, it had me wondering if it's a common thing. You see, almost every person seemed to go through the same set of emotions, in the same order, while sitting in that chair and getting their head shaved. It first starts with trepidation and perhaps even fear. The person has doubt in their eyes. As the shaving begins, heads are low and the faces are serious. It's like the person is thinking, "I can't believe I'm actually doing this. Am I really doing this? Do I really want to do this?" Or maybe they're just deep in thought... a moment of self-reflection. Then, at some pivotal point during the last few minutes of the buzz session, the person becomes suddenly liberated and empowered. What was a hesitant grin turns into a beaming smile and things are now right with the world. Maybe it's the support from friends and others that encourages the transformation. Maybe it's the realization that unlike cancer, the shaving process is painless and easy.
I like to think it all ends in smiles because the person just went through something they didn't want, need or have to go through, but it ultimately made them a better person — or at least made them feel better about themselves — for doing it.
Hair stylists Roy & Holly Christensen donated their shaving expertise.
The fundraiser ran into the wee hours of the morning and even though no celebrities stopped by with a fat check, a tidy sum of over $3000.00 was raised. Cory delivered the contributions a few days later at a larger St. Baldrick's event at Nine Fine Irishmen inside the New York, New York Hotel & Casino. It was there (and after bidding topped $1000.00) that Cory had his head — along with that awesome mustache — shaved clean by UFC Hall of Famer Forrest Griffin.
Photo provided by Cory O'Harrow
Next year I just might try to cover more St. Baldrick's events in town because it really was a very rewarding experience. If any dates conflict with Little Crown's special night though, I'll just have to forego the others and stick with my little neighborhood pub... because it's special like that.
Scroll through this slideshow and you'll see how this great night unfolded.