Every August, troves of visitors flock to the annual White Pine Fair and Horse Races Western festival in Ely, Nev. Fans of horse races, vacationers and other horse enthusiasts can expect a weekend of thrills, horseback riding and Western tradition at this jam-packed, three-day event. If you want to know what to expect at the Ely Nevada White Pine Horse Races, read all about it here.
The weekend-long celebration has been taking place since the 1920s in the small rural Nevada town of Ely. A true American Western event full of the tradition and nostalgia of the Old West, this weekend is a must for history buffs and horse enthusiasts alike. The Ely Nevada White Pine Horse Races are the highlight of the weekend, featuring about 150 thoroughbred and quarter horses. Held at the White Pine County Fairgrounds, spectators can feel the ground shake from the rumble of racing around the track and experience the rush of adrenaline from neck-and-neck finishes. This event is also a great gambling event, featuring the traditional pari-mutuel gambling system in which odds are not finalized until betting is closed.
As a premier gambling event, the races draw thousands of bettors and spectators from all over the country, but there is plenty of fun to be had for those not interested in putting their money on the line. The full series of events includes a rodeo, an authentic barbecue, a county fair and a 4-H Livestock Show and Auction. With mouth-watering food and plenty of Old West events, this weekend has a little something for everyone.
The White Pine Ranch Rodeo starts on Friday, as cowboys and cowgirls from all over the U.S. show off their rodeo roping and riding skills. The rodeo events include bronc riding, in which contestants attempt to ride a bucking bronco for as long as possible, and steer stopping in which a cowboy mounted on horseback tries to rope a steer. Other events include ranch sorting, in which a team of riders attempt to herd cattle in a specific order, as well as cattle doctoring which requires the team to simulate treating an ill animal after successfully sorting the cattle.
Food offerings include the Ely Volunteer Fire Department’s Barbecue, which serves up food during the first night of the event. Beef, lamb and turkey dishes make for a delicious meal that keeps in the theme of the weekend. The County Fair takes place throughout the weekend, with exhibits, unique vendor booths, cooking and eating contests and live entertainment.
The evenings are a particular highlight of the weekend, with great live music and dancing capping off the day. Meanwhile, the 4-H Livestock Show and Auction is well worth checking out for a taste of an authentic Western ag tradition.
“This weekend is about showing the heart and soul of what makes White Pine County special and sharing that with everyone,” said Steve Stork, White Pine County Tourism and Recreation Board chairman. “It’s a real honor to be part of this town, and being part of these events really puts that into perspective.”
For those interested in attending, this three-day western festival takes place every August in Ely, Nevada, located on US Highway 50 and Highway 93 which is 240 miles from Las Vegas, 240 miles from Salt Lake City and 320 miles from Reno. Admission is free on Friday, with a $5 entry fee for Saturday and Sunday. To discover more about the Ely Nevada White Pine horse races weekend click here. Also see this article on Horse racing culture around the world.
If You Go:
Ely Nevada White Pine Horse Races
White Pine County Fairgrounds