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Photo: Courtesy Carson Valley Inn
There was a time in Mike Pegram’s life that he and his friends would unwind at lovely Lake Tahoe. Whether it was boating, fishing, or golfing, Pegram relished it, but he also felt his buddies were missing out on a lesser-known Nevada gem. “I always gravitated to Minden and Gardnerville,” he says. “Carson Valley is one of the most beautiful places in the world—the quaintness of the valley, the character of the people—it’s the way the West should be.”
This was the early 1980s, when Pegram lived in Sacramento but was becoming more and more smitten with Carson Valley. In 1984, Carson Valley Inn opened its doors, and naturally Pegram became a loyal customer, frequenting the establishment for many years thereafter. Skip ahead a decade, and Pegram struck up a friendship with the Caranos, a longtime Reno gaming family. The relationship led to a joint business venture—the building of Bodines Casino in Carson City in 2008.
It was not long after that then-owners Jean and Patrick Mulreany put Carson Valley Inn up for sale, and Pegram and the Caranos again partnered to buy the property. In January 2010, Pegram’s admiration for Carson Valley came full circle when he became the majority owner (the Carano family and Rick Murdock claim close to 25 percent) of CVI. He has been hard at work ever since.
In just two years, everything in the casino has been remodeled, replaced, refurbished, or refreshed. In a time when most businesses in Nevada were hurting, Pegram spearheaded a successful renovation effort. “We were very selective in how we spent our capital,” he says. “Every dollar we spent was toward the customer. I like to say we brought CVI into the 21st century.”
Renovated rooms, new slot technology, and a new cabaret, casino bar, lounge, sports book, and steakhouse—CV Steak—are the highlights of a more than $10 million injection. Still to come are a remodeled Katie’s Country Kitchen, a new outdoor pool deck, and another parking-lot expansion project. “When you’re in this business, you’re never finished,” says Pegram, who turns 60 in February and is legendary for his intense work ethic and attention to detail.
The Kentucky native and part-time resident of Gardnerville is no stranger to business success, owning a chain of McDonald’s restaurants in Arizona. He is also the co-owner of 2010 Preakness Stakes winner Lookin at Lucky and owner of 1998 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner Real Quiet. How many total racehorses does he own? “Forty to 50,” he says, conducting our interview a few days before entering four of them in The Breeders’ Cup. “I’ve never even stopped to count them.”
What’s New at the Carson Valley Inn
• CV Steak opened in spring 2010
• Advanced slot technology
• New Guest Services area
• New Cabaret, Sports Book, & Casino Bar
• New reception room & business center
• 7 remodeled suites
• 40 refurbished hotel rooms
• 106 remodeled hotel rooms
FOR MORE INFORMATION
1627 Hwy. 395 N., Minden, NV 89423