Tunica’s transformation deepened in 2002
“The heritage you have here, the whole world wants. The casinos can’t build this; you’re the real deal.”
The Tunica Miracle hinted at in 1998 truly arrived in 2002.
There was a lot to celebrate as Tunica County marked the 10th anniversary of gaming: more than ten million were visiting the resort area, gaming taxes kept climbing, and the world was taking note.
“This is mind boggling…the whole thing is mind boggling,” remarked powerful MS legislator Charlie Capps on a county-sponsored tour of the county in May.
Tunica’s prominent role in the Lennox Lewis-Mike Tyson title fight at Memphis’ Pyramid in June also put the spotlight on the whole region. Tyson may have ended up “down and out” in the ring, but Tunica County and the Mid-South garnered millions of dollars worth of good PR. [Editor’s note: Future president Donald Trump was one of the celebrities who attended the fight.]
Before year’s end, the community hosted two other notable events: the “Big Bang” finale in October to culminate gaming’s anniversary year; and the dedication of the town of Tunica’s Veterans Memorial on Veterans Day, when the keynote speaker was Col. Oliver North.
(The Times published special issues for all three of these historic events. The “Anniversary of Gaming” special edition features interviews with some of the pioneers of gaming.)
The year’s fourth big story was the return to local control of the county’s public school system in March, after five years under state conservatorship.
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