Vikings Converge on ‘Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign’ for Leif Erikson Day

Vikings Converge on ‘Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign’ for Leif Erikson Day
In celebration of Leif Erikson Day Thursday, Oct. 9, local Vikings raided the area of the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign and encouraged tourists to celebrate the day dedicated to the first European to reach North American shores.

Members of the Vegas Viking lodge of the Sons of Norway descended on the sign in Viking garb and greeted tourists before posing for pictures in front of the sign.

Leif Erikson Day is celebrated Oct. 9 and has been recognized nationally every year since 1964, when President Lyndon Johnson first proclaimed the day. Leif Erikson was born in Iceland but had Norwegian heritage. He was the son of the Viking Erik the Red and sailed to America with 35 men, including one German, in about 995 ­ 500 years before Columbus.

Meanwhile, Las Vegas-area children in grades 1-5 are eligible to win $875 in gift cards from the lodge for submitting winning drawings that depict Viking explorer Leif Erikson’s legacy.

The winning drawings must be submitted on 11-by-8 ½-inch or 11-by-17-inch paper using any medium. The winning students in each grade will win Target gift cards valued at $100, $50 and $25 for first-, second- and third-place, respectively.

Entries must be postmarked by Monday, Dec. 15, 2014, and mailed to the attention of Christian Schoyen, Leif Erikson drawing competition, 1930 Village Center Circle #3 – 211, Las Vegas, NV 89134. All entries must include the child’s name, address, grade, home phone number and school.

The third annual contest, sponsored by the Vegas Vikings and Schoyen, should depict the Viking Leif Erikson and his men traveling to America. The four key traits of Leif and his men should be incorporated into the drawings: Imagination, vision, collaboration and fearlessness.

”The purpose of this competition is to nurture the four key Viking traits in children growing up here in Southern Nevada,” said Christian Schoyen, a Vegas Viking member spearheading the competition who has extensively studied the link between childhood conditioning and adulthood. “Eighty-five percent of all conditioning takes place and becomes fixed before the age of 12. It’s important that we reach these children to help ensure success in their later adult lives.” Christian was a winner of a Disney drawing competition at age 11 in Norway, where the first prize was a trip to America, which was a life-changing experience for him.

“Leif and his 35 men displayed remarkable bravery and courage in crossing the ocean to get here,” said Bob Sturgeon, president of the Vegas Viking Lodge. “We hope the positive characteristics displayed by Leif Erikson can be leveraged through this art contest to stimulate thought and creativity on the part of our elementary school-age children.”

The contest is open to all children regardless of ethnicity or heritage. More details about the contest are available at For questions about the competition, email organizers at

The Vegas Viking Lodge was organized in May 1992 and has been involved in a wide variety of special events featuring traditional and contemporary programs having a Norwegian-American flavor ever since. As part of the Sons of Norway, it is a fraternal benefit and cultural society dedicated to preserving Norwegian heritage in North America and strengthening the ties between North America and modern Norway. Vegas Viking also helps local charities through donations. The 2000 Census showed 52,000 Scandinavians in Clark County ­ 20,000 Norwegians, 20,000 Swedes, 10,000 Danes and 2,000 who called themselves Scandinavian. The lodge may be found on Facebook and on Twitter at