Tonopah in 2021 Westercon Bid

Will Kevin Standlee realize his dream to bring Westercon to Tonopah?

Fresh off hosting the 2018 Worldcon, San Francisco Science Fiction Conventions, Inc. has filed a bid to host the 2021 West Coast Science Fantasy Conference (Westercon 74) in Tonopah, Nevada. With Kevin Standlee as the bid chair, and Bruce Farr as treasurer, they propose to hold the con from July 2-5 at the Tonopah Convention Center and nearby hotels.

In case there are any doubts that they mean business, they reassure everyone:

Tonopah is a serious bid. While the town itself is somewhat smaller than the typical Westercon site, the town has expressed its enthusiasm for hosting us, and we think it has the right mix of facilities to accommodate a small but entertaining and affordable Westercon.

We have filed our bid with Westercon 72 (SpikeCon) in Layton, Utah. You can read our complete filing here.

With site selection voting to take place less than three months from now at SpikeCon (Westercon 72), Tonopah isn’t selling “pre-supporting” memberships — but donations are welcomed.

The bid’s web site is here. Not only is there a wealth of detail about the facilities and local attractions, you’ll find your time repaid by the amusing fanwriting. For example, the myriad transportation options include horse rental (price quoted!), or for those driving, an attractive alternative route:

The primary access to Tonopah is by highways US-95 and US-6; however, there are interesting alternative routes and side trips along the way

From Las Vegas and points south: US-95 north, or take the alternative route via US-93 and the Extraterrestrial Highway and stop by the Little A’Le’Inn. (Convention not responsible for alien abductions or misadventures at Area 51.)

15 thoughts on “Tonopah in 2021 Westercon Bid

  1. I am totally down with this. I think it’s good to look outside the usual convention box and pick someplace interesting and off the beaten track.

    I’ve checked, and it’s about a 7-hour drive from our home in Silicon Valley. Probably make that into a two-day trip so we can see Yosemite.

  2. Thanks for the kind words, Mike! I’m hoping that our transportation coordinator will be able to arrange for groups to take the long way around.

    Note that the $5/head/day price quoted for horseback is only for corral rental; you have to provide the horse.

    Bob Hole has (with our knowledge and understanding) launched a Tonopah, Arizona bid, which, unlike the Nevada bid, isn’t likely to actually file bidding papers. Also, I think we have a few more hotel rooms in the Nevada town.

    Although I’m chairing this thing, the real inspiration is Lisa Hayes, who was stuck in Tonopah for four days once waiting for a part for her pickup (that took about ten minutes to install once they got it). She’s the one who infected me with the enthusiasm for the site.

    The Town of Tonopah is getting interested in this. Their annual Jim Butler Days event is bigger, but they think this could be a very fun event. And they wouldn’t mind filling up most of the town’s 400-500 hotel rooms on a slow weekend, either.

  3. And if you don’t drive or don’t want to drive, it is a real pain in the ass to get there.

  4. I just checked, it is over 200 miles from either Reno or Las Vegas so no Uber or Lyft. I have a friend who is mobility disabled and almost blind. I think we would be skipping this one unless we can fly all the way.

  5. Linda: As recall, when we were bidding this tongue-in-cheek in Pasadena years ago, you thought it was a great idea, although as I recall you lived much closer at the time. (Ridgecrest, was it? Or am I thinking of someone else? It’s been a while.)

    As we say on the How Can I Get to Tonopah page on the bid’s web site, the convention has a Transportation Coordinator (Sandra Childress) who intends to work with people traveling to the two likely gateways (Reno and Las Vegas) to join up their travels and club together to share vehicles. Should there appear to be sufficient demand to do so, we’ll look into chartering buses to travel between the gateways to Tonopah.

    It was a great disappointment to us to hear that Sliverado Stages ceased operation of their daily Las Vegas – Tonopah – Reno bus route late last year, but we do want to work with those interested in making the trip who can come by air, train, or bus to one of the two gateways and make it possible for them to also get to Tonopah.

  6. This one makes me very happy and I wish you good luck. I love conventions and festivals in (for me) unknown places.

  7. I was a more confident driver back then. Too many accidents and not driving at night. Also my friend could drive at that time. A bus ride would not work for her even. I think the town sounds delightful and I would love to go so maybe I would end up by myself and she would have to not go. I would not want the con to not be available to those whose disabilities require them to use a mobi. I have seen photos of trains on your Twitter accounts but was disappointed to find out that Amtrak does not serve your town. It is actually a 7 hour drive from my town. It would be about the same from Ridgecrest. Too many mountains, not enough roads. 🙂

  8. John Hertz replies by carrier pigeon:

    Glad to hear Tonopah, Arizona, has gotten into the act. I seem to recall there’s a song –

    Well, I’m standing on a corner
    In Tonopah, Arizona,
    And such a fine sight to see:
    It’s a woman – my Lord – with a bear on board
    Slowing down to take a look at me.

    Come on, baby,
    Don’t say “Maybe”.
    I’m the bid chair. Your hard work
    Is going to save me.

    We may lose, and we may win,
    But it’ll be years ‘fore we’re here again.
    So open up, I’m climbing in,
    So take it easy.

  9. There are Tonopahs in both Nevada and Arizona. The AZ version is just west of Phoenix.

  10. Linda:

    The Tonopah Convention Center is ADA compliant, and there are nearby hotels that are accessible. I would tend to recommend that people in mobies and with wheelchairs book hotel rooms in the two nearby hotels with ground level rooms.

    The Mizpah Hotel (closest to the convention center, but not by much) has ramps and is partially accessible, but it is a restored hotel from the early 1900s. (I’m writing this comment from room 412 of the Mizpah Hotel tonight, as me and Lisa Hayes have been here today meeting with representatives of the hotel and of the Tonopah Convention Center.) There is only one elevator, and while you can get into it through doors with ramps, not everyone is going to be comfortable with only a single elevator. The Jim Butler Inn & Suites and the Best Western Hi-Desert Inn all have ground-level rooms. Google Maps will show you the relative locations of the properties.

    In the absence of a new bus operator (we’ve heard word of a possible new operator that may be running soon, but we’d rather wait to see something more certain than what we’ve seen so far), we’re suggesting that those who can’t or don’t to drive to Tonopah should work with our Transportation Coordinator to club together with those people able and willing to drive.

  11. I figure my friend can get herself and her large scooter to either Las Vegas or Reno. NO problem, airlines are great. Any charter bus, I assume will be like the various buses for tourists that I have taken. Plenty of room for luggage but there would be no room for a large scooter. I know fandom, this is not just my friend. As for me, I hop on the bus and I am in Tonopah. This was a problem for the SMOF con also. (though way after the fact, I could have figured out how to get a friend and her power chair to Santa Rosa Intergalactic airport and then by Paratransit to the Flamingo. I have a feeling Paratransit doe not take 200 mile trips. So everyone put on their thinking caps, because this looks like the only viable bid for Westercon.

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