Tea Party in Searchlight: Where will they all stay?
Page Last Updated: Tuesday March 23, 2010 6:46pm PDT
Dan Ball reporting
This weekend thousands of conservative Americans will descend on the tiny Nevada town of Searchlight for a Tea Party rally. Searchlight is home to only about 800 people. The town has one motel and an RV park. So where will the thousands of visitors stay?
There’s an unusual place just outside of town that is quickly filling up with people from across the country.
Just about 14 miles east of Searchlight, inside the Lake Mead National Park, lies the Cottonwood Cove Resort.
“It’s a hidden gem. The water is beautiful here. We have a lovely lake and a beautiful resort,” says resort manager Greg Carter.
Dan Ball: Typically, in March, do you see the numbers that you’re expecting this weekend?
“No, we don’t. We are actually staffed for winter time and we are having to pull people in on their days off. We, the managers, are gonna be working 24 hours around the clock to make this thing happen.”
Carter says over the past few days, people from across the country who are attending the rally have discovered the resort.
“This weekend, we are booked to the brim,” says Cottonwood employee Jon Foster.
“We are deferring people over to the houseboats because we have no rooms and no RV spaces left.”
Thanks to the volume of people filling up rooms in Searchlight, Laughlin, Nipton, and Boulder City, some rally-goers are renting houseboats.
“We weren’t ready to rent this many houseboats but we are getting them put back together from winter refurb,” says Carter. “We’re cleaning boats and using them as motel rooms.”
Rally attendees will pay $325 a night or more with a two night minimum and taxes. Some folks will shell out over $700 just for a bed close to the Tea Party actions.
Tea Party goers have also rented every vacant RV space and some are even expected to pitch tents at nearby campgrounds. U.S. Park Ranger Laura Anderson says the sleepy little community is ready for the large crowd.
“We are gonna have extra staff on hand as well as extra law enforcement and emergency services.”
Saturday’s Tea Party rally is set to begin at noon.