NevadaGram #125 – January 2012 Handing Out Awards, Wild Women in Elko


What They’re saying About Us

In the State of Nevada 2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, jingle dancers are juxtaposed with state statistics.

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I’ve learned a lot about Awards since I started handing them out last month.

Click the sign to see the final revision of the Must-See Must-Do Awards for 2012.

I learned right away that once a year isn’t enough — there are too many candidates to wait a whole year for a new list. Do I have to wait a year to tell the world that Carson City is a terrific little city with great restaurants, never mind the museums and the state capitol? Or that Ruby Mountain Brewing Company in Clover Valley south of Wells is a Hidden Treasure well worth discovering?

I haven’t got that kind of patience, so how do I . . . ?

Oh, and I learned to look at the Calendar before naming the “Must-See, Must-Do” Event of the Year. The Old Sheepherders’ Ball in Baker is a wonderful event, worthy of the honor in every way . . . except one.

It takes place in mid-January. It’s already over.

[pause for realization to sink in]

It was nearly over when I announced it.

So while a part of my brain is working on the problem of a year being too long to wait for more good stuff, another part takes up the problem of the Must-See Must-Do Event of the Year being already over.

This is getting tricky.

So, I put the Old Sheepherder’s Ball forward to 2013. The award is not cancelled, it is just stretched to allow the Ranch Hand Rodeo in Winnemucca to come foward into the spotlight. As I have mentioned before, this is an event with dimensions that extend beyond a whole lot of fun. I was startled to see it takes place at the end of February, but this Trip Report was scheduled to be up in a matter of days, so there was nothing to worry about. Until I looked up from the unexpected flurry of midwinter activity and the rodeo was just a week away and no NevadaGram yet [for the record, it’s over now too].

Uh-oh. I punted. I moved the Ranch Hand Rodeo to 2013 alongside the Old Sheepherders’ Party. That makes two Attractions of the Year coming up, and I’m actually looking at a third as well. And to end the suspense, I finally settled on Burning Man as Event of the Year. Not only is the event a wonder and a marvel, with worldwide participation, and safely down the calendar, it is already sold out, with its ticket sales a in bigger snarl than my event selection. So there’s an end to it for now.

And I’ve added a new category: Road Trips. Not only is that an obvious category for The Complete Nevada Traveler, but there is — dare I say it? — a trippy candidate for the honor.

It’s Big Al and Gary’s ‘Round Nevada Classic Car Tour, an unusual event in every respect, most obviously in the convoy of classic cars that migrate together along the carefully planned and prepared itinerary.

Nevada Rides
The Nevada Rides Tour decorates our highways for 6 days in June.

This year’s Tour Begins as usual with


Nevada Rides
The Tour is also a series of Car Shows presented as fund raisers for local charities.

a Concours de Arrogonce in the Atlantis Casino/Hotel parking lot. That’s across Virginia Street from the big hotel and takes place on Sunday June 3rd from noon until 5 pm. “It’s like Pebble Beach with Duct tape,” Big Al says. “Like the Hot Rod Power Tour without the testosterone,” adds Gary.

The Tour itself begins Monday morning at 9am, and the sight of 50 – 80 of these meticulously restored buffed and polished cars launching gracefully out into traffic is really quite splendid. “It’s like the The Great Race without the Great Expense,” they explain.

The 2012 tour will offer two routes, the traditional five nights-six day tour and an eight nights-nine day extended tour; the first four days — two of them in Laughlin — are the same for both. Drivers on the 6-day Tour head back north from there, the longer route goes as far east as Flagstaff Arizona before turning back west again and ending in Reno via St. George Utah and Tonopah on Tuesday afternoon June 12.

The tour works in conjunction with the local Chambers of Commerce and business people in the towns along the route, with Big Al and Gary asking, “What can we do for you and your charities?” The idea of the tour is to get people to drive their carefully manicured cars into rural Nevada, and to do it in such a way as to benefit “the towns without the glitz and glitter”.

I have a car that qualifies, a pickup truck actually, and I plan to be in the procession when it leaves Reno. We’ll see how far I get.

Lacy J. Dalton
Dale Poune

But in the meantime Robin and I went out to see some sagebrush. We went east to Eureka in time for the Lacy J. Dalton concert with Dale Poune at the Opera House. They attracted a full house to their evening of classic country music, and sent them home well pleased.

We also went to see the Wild Women Artists Show in Elko (another Event of the Year candidate! — and that’s another problem: once you start looking, they’re everywhere!). Most of the DLC Gallery, upstairs and down, was devoted to the display of exceptional art of all kinds. I mean all kinds, and I mean exceptional.

Among the wild women on hand were old friends and some wonderful new work. Susan Churchill was in from the ranch, Gail Rappa and Sidne Teske had come from Tuscarora (Another Hidden Treasure!) and other Wild Ones had brought their work from as far away as Truckee California. Here are some pix from Deon Reynolds
Photo by Deon Reynolds

Photo by Deon Reynolds
Photo by Deon Reynolds
Photo by Deon ReynoldsThe ever-popular National Cowboy Poetry Gathering was in full swing too, with big hats everywhere, big crowds at the Convention Center, and big lines at the restaurants all around Elko as the sunny day ebbed gently into a mild February evening. Who knew there was such a thing as a mild February evening in Elko?

On our way back to Eureka we also visited the California Trail interpretive Center which was opened temporarily during the Gathering. It will open permanently June 2 and I expect it will rapidly become a favorite digression from I-80. It’s visible from the freeway, take the Hunter exit ten miles west of Elko and follow the signs. Here’s how it’s shaping up now (photos by Max Winthrop):

Photo by Max Winthrop Photo by Max Winthrop
Photo by Max Winthrop Photo by Max Winthrop
Photo by Max Winthrop Photo by Max Winthrop
The exhibits already in place are exceptional, can hardly wait to see the finished article. Text on the wall in the photo at lower right: “Today we are to leave this place and home and friends and start upon a long journey, even to the land of gold. “Tis hard to say the last goodbye even though we know, or at least think, ’tis for the better. — Delia Thompson Brown, 1860
Tonopah Sunset by Anna Whiteside
Tonopah Sunset.

Quick notes from beyond the mountains: Here’s an interesting article by Marilyn Newton about the bomber training base at Tonopah during World War II . . . The Goldfield Hotel hasn’t taken guests since 1949 when the last of the pilots and their trainers left for good. Lester O’Shea did his best to revive the grand old hotel 30 years ago, but the money ran out after $15 million worth of renovation, and it stands empty to this day . . . Sad news from

Tonopah Sunset by Anna Whiteside
The Immortal Marta

Death Valley Junction: “There has been a change in the show schedule. Marta Beckett has decided to retire from performances and focus more on her art and the business. On February 12th 2012, she performed her final show, celebrating her 45th anniversary performing here at the Amargosa Opera House. Please join us in celebrating with Marta 45 wonderful years of entertainment and creativity.” Thank you Marta,

New Candidates for Must-See Must-Do Awards:
Cafe Del Rio, Virginia City
Flying Fish, Elko
Doodads, Silver City

for enriching the world. Was it more than 40 years ago that we first met, with Gilgamesh and Inkidu corralled outside the Opera House, and Tom Williams painting the inside? . . . Anyone who has dined at the Martin Hotel in Winnemucca knows how tasty the salad dressing is. The recipe was developed by Rosie Uriguen in the 1950s and has been a signature ingredient of the family-style Basque dinners served there ever since. But now you won’t need to drive to Winnemucca and back for a taste of it; it’s available in Raley’s stores and online. My order’s in . . .

The new Nevada Magazine is at the printer, but you don’t have to wait for the ink-on-paper edition to vote in its Best of Nevada survey . . .
The Nevada Southern Railway
in Boulder City resumed operations the weekend of February 4 and 5 after the usual January hiatus. Trains run every Saturday and Sunday at 10:00, 11:30, 1:00 and 2:30; boarding begins 15 minutes before departure. The Big Ticket is the 4th Great Train Robbery, an annual favorite that plays on Saturday & Sunday March 24th and 25th. Tickets are $10 for Adults, $5 for Children 4 through 11; CHILDREN 3 and under ride free. Tickets for a specific departure time may be purchased in advance at the Ticket Office or on the day of the event . . .

Overheard at the Eureka Opera House in Eureka: “Is it just me Bill, or is everyone upset that Nevada got the Postal designation NV? I think we’re the only state to get one of the 7 deadly sins. And not a very attractive one either. Lust and Gluttony have some allure, but what fun is Envy?”

Happy Highways,

David W. Toll



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