"Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada." A replica of the famous sign that greets visitors to America's playground greeted attendees of the eighth annual BASH for Augie's Quest, held Thursday night at Mandalay Bay in conjunction with the 2013 International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association convention and trade show. Showgirls and an Elvis impersonator welcomed fitness pioneer, author and philanthropist Augie Nieto and guests, as well.

But the most real moments of the evening came on stage, as Lynne Nieto spoke from the heart about genuine hope that the days of ALS, the disease that has taken the speaking ability and most muscle function from her husband since 2005, are truly numbered. As proof, Augie Nieto performed leg press after leg press to the thunderous applause of a ballroom packed with more than 1,000 supporters. Earlier on the trade show floor, Nieto thrilled onlookers by exercising in the Octane Fitness booth (see video below). The goal, Lynne clearly stated at the BASH, is for Augie to walk onto the stage in 2014.

This year's event, which included silent and live auctions and a return appearance by Train lead singer Pat Monahan, raised more than $1.6 million. Augie and Lynne pledged to match research donations up to $250,000, a Zumbathon added $200,000 to the cause, and Curves co-founders Gary and Diane Heavin surprised Augie with a $100,000 donation. "The BASH continues to exceed our expectations every year, and this year was the best we've had yet," Nieto stated, according to the Muscular Dystrophy Association. "The support we receive demonstrates the true determination people have in finding a cure for this disease. We're continuously advancing our knowledge and getting closer every day to defeating ALS once and for all."

Paul Steinbach is Senior Editor of Athletic Business.