Category: Summit

Are You Being Held Back Because You Think You Know Everything???

February 16th, 2016 by

Those who are humble learn from others.

This saves the humble learner the difficulty of experiencing the pain of learning by trial and error (or in other words, the pain of mistakes).

As Sam Levenson said:

You must learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t possibly live long enough to make them all yourself.

But have you met folks who are so sure of themselves that they must believe that they know it all?

Just imagine the smartest person in history. Then imagine how little of the total knowledge of the universe that that person actually knew. How can anyone think that they know it all?

I was thinking about this because I run into people that can’t learn from others because when they walk into a room, they think they are the smartest person in the room. They pontificate. They expect everyone to listen to their stories and learn. But they don’t  listen to others and learn.

I hope I’m not talking about you … or your boss. Learning from others is really important.

Where can you learn from others?

One of the best places is the TapRooT® Summit.

Have a look at the Summit Schedule.

 Look at all the topics in all the sessions.

One of my favorite sessions is the TapRooT® Users Share Best Practices session.

As one of the attendees told me last year …

You sit at a table with people from leading companies from around the world.
The people you are talking to are really smart.
And they share their best ideas. You share yours.
And everybody gets even smarter. It is amazing

 Another way to meet and discuss topics at the Global TapRooT® Summit is to participate in the opening session. 

Most conferences start off slow. NOT the Global TapRooT® Summit.

We start off with a description of the improvements we’ve made to TapRooT® in the past 12 months and what you can learn at the Summit. Then we immediately go to the networking activity where you will meet someone from your industry, someone from a different industry, and an expert. That’s three new contacts in the first hour of the Summit. AND you get rewarded for your work.

Don’t miss out on the 2016 Global TapRooT® Summit in San Antonio, Texas, on August 1-5. You know you don’t know everything and you will enjoy meeting really smart people and sharing best practices that will help your company be even better in 2017!

Important! Instructor Recertification Information

February 11th, 2016 by

2016 Global TapRooT® Summit

Are you a Certified Instructor that is NOT planning to attend the 2016 TapRooT® Summit because you don’t need to be recertified until 2017? Please keep reading for important information regarding 2017.

Did you know that the TapRooT® Summit is held every 14-16 months? If you look back at the past few Summits, they have been in April 2014, June 2015 and now August 2016. There is a strategic rotating schedule that TapRooT® uses to choose the best time for the Summit.

Due to this rotation schedule, once in a while there is a gap year. A year with no Summit. This detail requires some extra planning on our Certified Instructor’s part since each instructor is required to go through recertification every two years.

What does this rotating schedule mean for 2017? It means that 2017 will be our next gap year. To clarify, there will NOT be a TapRooT® Summit in 2017. We are aware that some of our instructors will be due for recertification in 2017 making this a potential hiccup in their future plans.

Those of you who attended our 2015 Summit might remember Mark announcing the upcoming changes here at TapRooT®. There have been significant improvements and modernization to our 2-Day course that would be beneficial for all Certified Instructors to attend and see in person. The 2016 Summit this August will provide all Certified Instructors with the new 2-Day course materials and look into the new layout. Stay tuned for more details on these improvements in a later post!

What does TapRooT® recommend? We highly recommend that each instructor look at their schedule for this year and plan to attend the 2016 Summit in San Antonio this August 1-5. You will be able to go through recertification early, to continue teaching in 2017, not need recertification until 2018, and get a first-look at the new 2-Day course. Besides, you don’t want to miss the 2016 Summit and all that we have in store for you!

If you have questions or concerns regarding your recertification, please contact Michelle Wishoun ( or Linda Unger ( or call our office (865) 539-2139 for assistance.

Registration for the 2016 Global TapRooT® Summit is OPEN

January 29th, 2016 by

We opened up registration this week for the TapRooT® Global Summit which begins on August 3rd, 2016 in San Antonio, Texas (you can also register for the Pre-Summit Courses which will commence on August 1st).

I am sure you will hear a lot about the amazing Keynote Speakers and Best Practice Presenters in this forum over the next 6 months; but I wanted to take a moment to discuss one Keynote Speaker in particular and share a personal story.

My first day with System Improvements was May 3rd, 2006 and I immediately became a TapRooT-ite.

Wait… is that a word? TapRooT-ian? TapRooT-eer?

Err… let’s just say I immediately fell in love with TapRooT®.

It was not hard to fall in love, as May 3rd, 2006 also happened to be the first day of the TapRooT® Summit in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Yep, you read that right. My very first day of work was at a large Global Summit.

A story we tell around the office (that always gets a few laughs) is that our President Mark Paradies referred to me as “that helpful hotel employee” the entire first day of the Summit (we had not yet met). He laughed profusely when he learned I was a new employee and NOT a hotel concierge, just helping out. (I was just glad to hear I was not described as “that UN-helpful hotel employee”.)

To describe my first day: I was simply enthralled by the spectacle.

Here was this amazing group of attendees and speakers, from all over the world, uniting out of a common interest of making their co-workers SAFE and happy with their jobs. People dedicated to SOLVING problems. What do you think this group of people is like to be around? If you guessed, ‘pretty fantastic’, you are correct.

But no memory stands out to me more than watching Michael Durant, best selling author and inspiration for the movie Black Hawk Down, give his Keynote Address.

I was just so impressed with this man, and by proxy I was so impressed with TapRooT®.

This next part is not an exaggeration. I swear.

I went home that night with his book In The Company of Heroes in tow, and I sat down and read it cover-to-cover that evening.

The book still sits prominently displayed on my bookshelf today, unscathed, despite several attacks from my dog on my collection of literature (So even my dog seems to respect Durant’s work).

In our Summit planning meetings the last few years, I have dropped Michael Durant’s name a few times as a potential Keynote Speaker, hoping he might get a return engagement. I just found out this week that he will be back at the Summit this year in San Antonio.

Book your flight tomorrow. This guy is great, and my dog tends to agree.

I really believe this is going to be a great Summit, and we will not have another Summit until 2018.

(cough) There might also be this new software called TapRooT® VI that will be prominently featured at the Summit. I might have heard some good things about it.

And maybe, just maybe, you will leave a TapRooT-er, or a TapRooT-ist?

Dan Verlinde is a Partner and Director of Information Technology and Software Development for System Improvements, Inc.

His dog has been un-employed since birth, but his hobbies include eating any paperback on the bottom three shelves.

Summit 2016 Local Attractions: The River Walk

January 14th, 2016 by

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The history of the River Walk begins back in the late 17th century when a group of Indians discovered this beautiful land and river area. As celebrations were in order, the Indians thought this was the perfect place to camp for “Saint Anthony’s day”, thus the name San Antonio. Fast-forwarding 250 years, past many deadly floods and The Alamo, a group of men eager to improve their city, control the flooding and provide for their community pitched their ideas for the River Walk to the authorities. On March 14, 1941, construction was complete and a river carnival and night parade were held in celebration of the newest, most exciting development in San Antonio. The River Walk has since become a local favorite and one of Texas’s most visited attractions.

Over the years many additions have been made such as exciting nightlife, a variety of shops, restaurants, and entertainment for all ages and interests. Come visit for yourself!

Did you know the 2016 Global TapRooT® Summit is being held in San Antonio on August 1-5? Registration opens soon, so gather your team and be apart of one of the best performance improvement conferences, network with a variety of colleagues and experts from around the world, and enjoy the beautiful city of San Antonio.



Summit 2016 Local Attractions: The Alamo

January 5th, 2016 by


The Alamo, an historical icon of the Texas Revolution located in none-other-than San Antonio, Texas. This old building made of limestone was the fortress and safe house for the Mexican army, but in the Battle of the Alamo in 1836, the Texas rebels forged their way in and gained control. Now it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in San Antonio and has inspired a blockbuster movie released in 2004.

Many have wondered where the name “The Alamo” originated, assuming it has a deep, cultural meaning. Surprisingly, “The Alamo” is translated to “cottonwood”, and many scholars believe that name was chosen because of the greenery surrounding the building. However, scholars are unsure as to why they chose “cottonwood”, and if there was a more significant meaning behind it than just simple trees. It’s always interesting to learn the small, fun facts about such iconic places.

Did you know that the 2016 Global TapRooT® Summit is being held in San Antonio August 1-5? The countdown begins and we are looking forward to sharing best practices, learning from keynote speakers, networking with our wonderful Friends and Experts and visiting the beautiful city of San Antonio and all it has to offer.


*Don’t forget about the group discount! Bring the whole team and save money.

Arc Flash Safety Talk at the 2016 Global TapRooT® Summit

December 29th, 2015 by

Yes, I know we are not quite into the new year yet, but we have been busy planning the next summit (August 1-5 in San Antonio TX).

As the coordinator of the safety track, I am really excited about the line-up we have for speakers. I will be posting information about the track and the different sessions on the blog as the date nears.

One session I am very excited about is a talk on Arc Flash Safety by Scott King and Terry Butler from Hallam-ICS. With relatively new NFPA guidelines, this is a hot (no pun intended) topic from a compliance standpoint. More importantly, it is a major consideration from a safety standpoint, so whether your country complies with NFPA 70E or not, this is a talk you will not want to miss. The talk is scheduled for Thursday, August 4th at 1:50. We hope to see you there.

In the meantime, if you are interested in getting some of your people trained in this important topic, here is a link to an upcoming event Hallam-ICS is holding in February:

Thanks for reading the blog and we look forward to seeing you in San Antonio!


Cross Industry/Cross Discipline Benchmarking for Performance Improvement

November 19th, 2015 by

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Had an interesting discussion today about cross industry / cross discipline performance improvement benchmarking.

It seems that many people benchmark inside their industry. Oil industry people benchmark with oil industry people. Heathcare with Healthcare. Nuclear with Nuclear. The list goes on and on.

Also, safety people go to safety conferences. Quality people go to quality conferences. Maintenance and reliability people go to maintenance and reliability conference.

So, I had someone ask me where they could do cross industry/cross discipline benchmarking. Nuclear safety people with Pharmaceutical Quality folks. Aviation safety folks with healthcare quality people. Refining process safety folks with Aviation safety people.

The answer? Plan on attending the 2016 Global TapRooT® Summit on August 1-5 in San Antonio.

We don’t have the final schedule out yet but it will be out soon. But I can guarantee that there will be sessions from all sorts of experts and people attending from all sorts of industries and disciplines. That’s what is so special about the TapRooT® Summit. We make a special effort to get people from different industries and different disciplines together to meet, make friends, and benchmark their improvement initiatives.

So start planning to attend.

There will be people there from all over the world.

And consider bringing a team from your company that includes people from safety, process safety, quality, operations, and maintenance. Contact us by clicking HERE for information about group discounts.

Hope to see someone from every TapRooT® User company (and some folks who are only thinking about using TapRooT®) there!

TapRooT® Summit – Get Amped Up in the Investigator Track!

October 28th, 2015 by


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Join us in San Antonio, Texas August 1 – 5, 2016 for the Global TapRooT® Summit!


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Ken Reed

Our 2016 Global TapRooT® Summit is just around the corner, and I’m REALLY excited about the session line-up we’ve set up for you. I’m the track leader in the TapRooT® Investigator Track, and we’ve got some excellent sessions planned to help you become a better investigator:

We’re going to start off with a session that lets our TapRooT® Users Share Best Practices with you. What better way to learn about best practice ideas than to get them directly from other users who are successfully implementing at their company? This session is always one of the most useful, hands-on sessions at our Summit.

Are your investigations any good? Mark Paradies is going to run a session on how to properly Grade Your Investigations. He’ll give you industry best-practice ideas on what really matters in an investigation. This isn’t just a high-level thought experiment; you’ll walk away with a grading sheet that you can customize for your company that will allow you to put an actual number grade on each investigation. This is a great way to improve each and every investigation.

Are you ready to implement TapRooT® at your company, but not sure how to get started? Ed Skompski will be leading a session on How to do a New Implementation of TapRooT®. We’ve helped many companies figure out what they need to do for a successful, long-term TapRooT® implementation, and he’s ready to share those ideas with you. Wouldn’t you love to have an implementation checklist?!

Barb Phillips is going to have a couple of sessions on individual investigator techniques. Interviewing Behaviors and Body Language will help you learn advanced skills to perform more effective interviews. The Investigation Team Leader session will give you pointers on how to lead more complex investigations from the perspective of the lead facilitator. These are both going to be terrific sessions for all TapRooT® investigators.

Wouldn’t it be nice to ask all the right questions at your very first interview? In addition to Barb’s topic on body language, we’re going to look even more deeply at how to use The 15 Questions To Identify Interview Topics. This will help you better plan your interviews to ensure you minimize the number of follow-up interviews required during your investigations.

We’ve had many requests to speak in more detail about the intricacies of a few of the Root Cause Tree® Basic Cause Categories. This year, we are going to Deep Dive into Procedures and Management Systems. We’ll show you where some of these root causes come from, and how to recognize them during your investigations.

I’m really excited about my track this year. If you are a TapRooT® investigator, you will not want to miss these sessions. Plan on being in San Antonio next year; don’t miss out on this opportunity!!

Learn more:

Monday Accident & Lessons Learned: Go To the 2016 Global TapRooT® Summit

August 3rd, 2015 by


The 2016 Global TapRooT® Summit has been scheduled for San Antonio, Texas, on August 1-5.

Why is this in the Monday Accident & Lessons Learned section?

Because we share lessons learned (and best practices) from around the world at the TapRooT® Summit!

If you are interested in learning from others, BE AT THE SUMMIT!

The registration has not been opened BUT you should put the dates in your schedule to make sure you keep the dates open to attend.

See you there!



August 3rd, 2015 by


The 2016 Global TapRooT® Summit is on the schedule! Save the date, August 1-5, 2016 in San Antonio, Texas.  Stay updated about our global event by subscribing to our weekly eNewsletter.  Just send an e-mail to with the subject line “subscribe.”

Are You Comfortable With Just Getting By?

June 15th, 2015 by

Getting comfortable with just getting by, accepting failure, accepting broken rules … these attitudes all contribute to an unhealthy workplace culture that allows major and minor accidents. How do we get back on track?

We livestreamed Mark Paradies’ empowering talk, “How to Stop Normalization of Deviation,” at the 2015 Global TapRooT® Summit in Las Vegas. View the recorded session below and learn how to improve the work culture at your facility.

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

Amazing Summit!

June 5th, 2015 by


Today I’m looking forward to Captain Richard Phillips talk. But I already know this has been the best Summit ever.

The keynotes were amazing. From Dan Quiggle to Walter Bond to Dr. Beverly Chiodo to Mhorvan Sherret and Alan Smith … they were all amazing! They influence people’s lives, gave great take-aways, and left us motivated to improve our workplaces.

I’m already starting to plan for the 2016 Global TapRooT® Summit with excellent ideas from this year’s participants and a few of my own. Start planning now to attend in San Antonio on August 1-5.

See you there.




Report from Las Vegas

June 3rd, 2015 by

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I didn’t get a chance to report during the day, but at the reception tonight, many people told me that this was the best Summit ever and by far the best conference they ever attended.

Thanks to Walter Bond and Dan Quiggle for their contribution to a great fist day!

Dan Quiggle Shares Lessons on Leadership

June 3rd, 2015 by

We were privileged to hear Dan Quiggle speak on leadership today at the 2015 Global TapRooT® Summit in Las Vegas.

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Dan Quiggle (left) Mark Paradies (right)



Best Practice Session 8- 2015 Global TapRooT® Summit

June 1st, 2015 by

Here are the presentations and handouts received thus far for:

Best Practice Session 8
Friday, June 5, 2015
9:00 a.m. to 9:50 a.m.

Presentations will be uploaded as they are received. If the presentation you are looking for is not available, check back later. If you have any questions, please e-mail Barb.


Performance Improvement Program – Gap Analysis 

Best Practice Session 7 – 2015 Global TapRooT® Summit

June 1st, 2015 by

Here are the presentations and handouts received thus far for:

Best Practice Session 7
Thursday, June 4, 2015
2:55 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.

Presentations will be uploaded as they are received. If the presentation you are looking for is not available, check back later. If you have any questions, please e-mail Barb.


Improve Your Instructor Skills Using Reflective Practice Tools (Ralph Brickey)


The Foundations of Equifactor®, part 2 (Heinz Bloch)


Failure to Recognize a Sentinel Event (John T. James, Ph.D)


Pike River Mine Accident (Ken Scott)


Performance Excellence Workshop (Kevin McManus, Chris Vallee)


Process Safety Management Benchmark: Comparing Seveso 3 to OSHA PSM (Frank Verschueren)


Investigating Using the Optional Techniques in the TapRooT® V5 Software (Ken Reed)

Best Practice Session 6- 2015 Global TapRooT® Summit

June 1st, 2015 by

Here are the presentations and handouts received thus far for:

Best Practice Session 6
Thursday, June 4, 2015
1:50 p.m. to 2:40 p.m.

Presentations will be uploaded as they are received. If the presentation you are looking for is not available, check back later. If you have any questions, please e-mail Barb.


Stopping Human Error with Type 4 Corrective Actions (Joel Haight)


The Foundations of Equifactor® (Heinz Bloch) 


Performance Excellence Criteria- Its Not Just Your QMS (Kevin McManus)


Praising the 49 Character Traits (Dr. Beverly Chiodo)


The TapRooT® Software Advisory Board (Dan Verlinde, Matt Irving)

Best Practice Session 5- 2015 Global TapRooT® Summit

June 1st, 2015 by

Here are the presentations and handouts received thus far for:

Best Practice Session 5
Thursday, June 4, 2015
12:45 p.m. – 1:35 p.m.

Presentations will be uploaded as they are received. If the presentation you are looking for is not available, check back later. If you have any questions, please e-mail Barb.


Applying NSP to Interviewing (Jim Whiting)


The Business End of Equipment Reliability, Part 2 (Heinz Bloch)


How to Stop Normalization of Deviance (Mark Paradies)


How to Find Generic Causes Using Extent of Condition / Extent of Cause (Steve Swarthout)


Daily Tracking of Errors and Defects/Wastes (Kevin McManus)


How We Implemented the TapRooT® Enterprise Software (Jennifer Herget, Scott Gunderson)

Best Practice Session 4- 2015 Global TapRooT® Summit

June 1st, 2015 by

Here are the presentations and handouts received thus far for:

Best Practice Session 4
Thursday, June 4, 2015
10:15 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.

Presentations will be uploaded as they are received. If the presentation you are looking for is not available, check back later. If you have any questions, please e-mail Barb.


Certified TapRooT® Instructor Recertification Workshop (Linda Unger, Michelle Wishoun) Note: This is a closed session and will not be made available for digital download.


The Business End of Equipment Reliability (Heinz Bloch)


Developing Proactive Performance Measure  (Mark Paradies)


Finding Causal Factors Using Safeguards and the 5 Questions (Ken Reed)


Process Quality Best Practices (Chris Vallee, Alethea Arnold, Pat Fortune and Frank Verschueren)

(Generic Causes- Frank Verschueren)

(Organizational Issues- Pat Fortune)

(Quality Workshop on Audits & Preventative Action- Chris Vallee & Alethea Arnold)


The TapRooT® Software Sandbox (Dan Verlinde, Matt Irving)

Best Practice Session 3- 2015 Global TapRooT® Summit

June 1st, 2015 by

Here are the presentations and handouts received thus far for:

Best Practice Session 3
Wednesday, June 3, 2015
2:45 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.

Presentations will be uploaded as they are received from the presenters. If you have any questions, please e-mail Barb.


What’s New In the TapRooT® Software (Dan Verlinde)


Proactive Equipment Reliability Tools (Mark Olson)


Digging Deeper into Work Direction Causes (Dave Janney)

Digging Deeper into Human Engineering Causes (Chris Vallee)


RCA of Multiple Similar Events (Michelle Lindsay)


The New International Standard for OHS Management Systems- ISO 45001 (Jim Whiting)

Best Practice Session 2- 2015 Global TapRooT® Summit

June 1st, 2015 by

Here are the presentations and handouts received thus far for:

Best Practice Session 2
Wednesday, June 3, 2015
1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Presentations will be uploaded as they are received. If the presentation you are looking for is not available, check back later. If you have any questions, please e-mail Barb.


Grading Your Investigations (Mark Paradies)


Policy Considerations for Evidence Collection (Mhorvan Sherret)


Strange Way to Live (Carl Dixon)


Procedures Talk- Checklist Manifesto (Randy Bennett)


Why the 5 Whys Fail & Find Causal Factors for Quality Events (Chris Vallee, Kevin McManus)

(Find Causal Factors for Quality Events – Kevin McManus)

(Why the 5 Whys Fail– Alethea Arnold)


Communicating Safety (Clare Solomon, Mark Ormond)

Best Practice Session 1- 2015 Global TapRooT® Summit

June 1st, 2015 by

Here are the presentations and handouts received thus far for:

Best Practice Session 1
Wednesday, June 3, 2015
10:30 a.m. – noon

Presentations will be uploaded as they are received. If the presentation you are looking for is not available, check back later. If you have any questions, please e-mail Barb.


TapRooT® Users Share Best Practices (Linda Unger, Benna Dortch and Michelle Wishoun) (Presentation will be uploaded when received from presenter.)


Equipment Reliability Best Practices (Ralph Brickey)


Kaizen Event Using TapRooT® and the RCT (Amy Bratkovic)

Pre-Summit TapRooT® Courses are Underway!

June 1st, 2015 by

Took a picture of each class being held before the TapRooT® Summit. Here’s the students and instructors working hard to learn how to apply new things to improve performance.

TapRooT® Software Course:

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Interviewing & Investigation Basics:

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Advanced Trending:

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Equifactor® Equipment Troubleshooting & Root Cause Analysis:

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Hazard Recognition:

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2-Day TapRooT® Incident Investigation & Root Cause Analysis:

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Understanding & Stopping Human Error:

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Analyzing & Fixing Safety Culture Issues:

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TapRooT® Quality/Six Sigma/Lean Advanced Root Cause Analysis Training:

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Proactive Use of TapRooT®:

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Risk Assessment & Management Best Practices:

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Fighting Fatigue:

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Advanced Causal Factor Development:

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Start planning to attend the 2016 Global TapRooT® Summit in San Antonio, Texas, on August 1-5.

2015 Global TapRooT® Summit After Hours: Downtown Vegas!

May 25th, 2015 by

Are you getting packed for Vegas? Do you have one or two fun things on your list for after hours fun?

On our visit to downtown Vegas, we chatted with one of the locals who told us downtown is where it’s at!  It’s less expensive for a night out on the town, and in his opinion, more fun because it’s old-style Vegas glam!


Hugo’s Cellar at the Four Queens Hotel and Casino is known for classic Las Vegas dining.  Ladies will be greeted with a long stemmed rose.


Adventure seekers will love the thrill of ziplining through downtown.  Click this photo to view an exciting zipline video!


The Golden Nugget and Binion’s sit right across from each other! Binion’s penthouse restaurant offers breathtaking views; and The Golden Nugget was named “Best Downtown Hotel” in 2014!

Last but not least, The Gold Spike has a giant living room and backyard where there is a ton of fun to be had on a warm summer night!


The living room at the Gold Pike is equipped with games and comfy furniture (click to view another photo of the living room.


Judy and I played life-size chess in the backyard of The Gold Spike! Click this image to see the cornhole games and comfy seating!

We’ve listed some more ideas on our Hotel & Travel page (scroll down the page to view the list).

Still haven’t signed up?  We’ll take your registration for a few more days!  Go to this link now:

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