The Genesis of Vegas Vic
While the chamber considered promoting ranching, mining, and manufacturing, chamber leaders quickly realized that the city’s best hope lay with tourism. Realizing they needed a more effective publicity and advertising campaign, in 1945 the chamber hired the J. Walter Thompson Company, which immediately launched a nation-wide campaign. Unfortunately, chamber leaders felt the Thompson agency devoted too little time to their account. In 1947, the Chamber of Commerce gave their account to Jack West, the head of the advertising firm West-Marquis. The firm sought to brand Las Vegas as a destination reminiscent of the Old West in a resort setting. Focusing on advertising to the region with a special emphasis on California, Jack West used a combination of billboards, persuading chamber members to go on speaking tours to San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, and other western cities to sell the virtues of Las Vegas, and by inviting travel editors to visit Las Vegas, where they were given the royal treatment – free rooms, food, cocktail parties, and shows. Jack West also, most significantly, created the smiling cowboy that would be the model for Vegas Vic, and plastered his face on all the promotional material for Las Vegas, welcoming the reader with a friendly “Howdy Podner!” 
Beckley’s was a men’s clothing store that operated out of a canvas tent in 1908 before moving into Hotel Nevada, now known as the Golden Gate, at Fremont and Main streets. Following a fire in 1913, Will Beckley moved his store to its own brick and mortar building at the corner of 1st Street and Fremont.  The three-story building featured the store on the ground floor and offices upstairs. The business did well, surviving the depression. Will retired in 1941 when he closed his store and leased the building to Tudor Scherer and his partners, who opened the Pioneer Club and Cocktail Lounge in April, 1942. 
The Pioneer Club
Tudor Scherer recognized the popularity of the chamber’s cowboy and commissioned the Young Electric Sign Company (YESCO) to build the neon sign version. They then commissioned Pat Denner to design the sign. Vegas Vic was erected on the exterior of the building in 1951, replacing the sign that simply said Pioneer Club with an image of a horse-drawn covered wagon. YESCO was also responsible for many other iconic Las Vegas signs, including the Binion’s Horseshoe marquee, the high-heeled women’s shoe that once topped the Silver Slipper Casino, and a curved Golden Nugget entrance sign. All can be seen at The Neon Museum. 
Vic’s arm stopped waving in 1991, supposedly because the Pioneer Club’s owners at the time didn’t like the way it looked. In 1994, Vic’s cowboy hat was trimmed several feet to make room for the Fremont Street Experience canopy.
The Pioneer Club was one of downtown's leading casinos for many years. When the Pioneer Club was sold in 1992, the new owners were unable to compete with the larger casinos on Fremont Street, or with the large new Strip mega-resorts. The owners closed the casino in 1995 at about the same time the Fremont Street Experience opened. In 1998, Schiff Enterprises bought the Pioneer Club and opened a souvenir store inside.
After the Pioneer Club closed, Vegas Vic fell into disrepair. In January 2000 the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported, “Vic is in poor shape now. Only half of his body, including one of his two eyes, lights up at night. His waving arm hasn’t worked in years. His colorful clothes have faded and peeled.” 
Fortunately, Schiff Enterprises followed-through on their promise to refurbish Vegas Vic and paid for renovations later that year.
Vegas Vic has received new paint schemes through the years. Originally, from the 50s through the 60s, his shirt was white with yellow checkered stripes. Later during an early restoration in the 70s, his shirt was painted solid yellow. When he was restored in 1998 his shirt was painted a red and yellow checkered pattern. 
- Promoting Post-War Las Vegas: The Live Wire Fund, 1945-1950. Larry Gragg. International Journal of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 2014-7-24. http://openaccesslibrary.org/images/LVG187_Larry_Gragg.pdf
- Beckley boutique has long history in Vegas. Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 2014-7-24. http://www.reviewjournal.com/life/fashion/beckley-boutique-has-long-history-vegas
- A Brief History of Downtown. Classic Las Vegas: Helping Preserve 20th Century Las Vegas. Retrieved 2014-7-16. http://classiclasvegas.squarespace.com/downtown-history/2007/2/4/a-brief-history-of-downtown-cont.html
- Vegas Vic - Wikipedia. Retrieved 2014-7-16. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vegas_Vic, note 4.
- Ibid. 3. Retrieved 2014-7-18. http://classiclasvegas.squarespace.com/downtown-history/?currentPage=4
- Richard Moreno (2008). Nevada Curiosities: Quirky Oddities & Other Offbeat Stuff. Globe Pequot. ISBN: 076274682 Retrieved 2014-7-28.
- Ibid. 4.