Elko County Fair
Grab the kids and load up the wagon because it’s time for the Elko County Fair. When you think of Elko, Nevada, it probably brings to mind the cowboys and the lifestyle of the Buckaroos the area is famous for. Although the life of the cowboy seems to be a glorious one, there are other equestrians that are certain to get your heart pounding as they race down the home stretch.
The Elko County Fair held each year over Labor Day Weekend at the Fairgrounds — located just minutes from downtown Elko — has been a long standing tradition for the community. The fair dates back to 1920 and is said to have been held in Lamoille and then moved to Elko and held every year since. The only documented cancellation was due to World War II in 1942 and 1943. Although many things have changed since the 1920s, one thing remains a constant – the hoof-pounding excitement of the ponies racing down the stretch. The modern version of the event also features food, live music, a livestock show and sale and plenty of souvenirs to purchase.
Elko County Fair Horse Racing
Elko County Fair horse races are held for six days and consist of nine to 10 races each day featuring both thoroughbred and quarter horses. Trainers and horses travel from as far away as Washington and Arizona to compete for their piece of the purse, which runs into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
One of the most anticipated races for locals is the “Nevada Blackjack Challenge.” The Blackjack Challenge is held on the last day of racing and consists of nine local stables all competing for bragging rights. You may see various posters throughout Elko promoting the nine different stables: Unstable Stables, Unable Stables, Misfits Stables & White Pine Stables, Under The Table Stables, Unwanted Stables, We Wanna Win Stables and Let It Ride Stables.
Elko County Fairgrounds
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As well as the horse racing at the Elko County Fairgrounds, the fair has all the aspects of an old time county fair, the dedication of the 4-H-ers who have poured their hearts into raising some of the finest show animals that can be found anywhere. Maybe you are looking for that special something from the home arts display where you’ll find perfect pies, jams, jellies, photographs, paintings and much more. Fair time also features a variety of stock horse competitions, including team roping and 4-D barrel racing all of which are competing for their part of the more than $14,000 in cash awards.
One of the most memorable events of the Elko County Fair may be the hot iron branding competition. The Elko County Fair is home to the nation’s only hot iron branding contest where participants race the clock for the best time. There are three different categories in the competition: men’s, women’s and co-ed. The men’s competition consists of four hands that will brand six yearlings Two of the hands are on the ground and two are on horseback. After three of the yearlings have been branded, all the hands change. The women’s and co-ed events are conducted in the same manner as the men’s competition, but with only four yearlings in each group.
What are you waiting for? Bring the whole family and take part in the tradition of fair time.