white pine fair and horse racing
Photos courtesy of White Pine Fair and Horse Races.……

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The oldest and longest running horse race event in Nevada is back in action this summer. The White Pine Fair and Horse Races return to the White Pine County Fairgrounds Friday, Aug 20. through Sunday, Aug. 22, 2021. Whether you wear a cowboy hat or a Kentucky derby hat, you’ll feel right at home at this three-day event where even visitors are treated like locals. The races, which began in 1934, were cancelled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are thrilled to have this event return this year,” says Marietta Henry, horse race director. “We have a $6,000 purse for each race which will be split among the top three finishers. Also, we are always looking for more riders to compete.”

The live action races of thoroughbreds and quarter horses feature pari-mutuel betting, which you won’t find in many other places across the state. The term actually originated in France, and literally translates to “wager amongst ourselves.” Unlike most other forms of betting, the odds are not fixed. Rather than placing a bet against the race track, like one would with a bookie, horse racing bettors are wagering against each other. For this reason, the payouts on a single wager could range anywhere from less than the actual amount wagered to astronomical amounts.

To learn more about registering your horse for the event, head to: wphr.joshnicholes.com.

White Pine County Fair

The horse races are only part of the story. The White Pine County Fair is a throwback to simpler times, where the community gathers together for fun and games. The event includes three days of live music, a volunteer firefighter barbecue, arts and crafts market, 4H exhibits, livestock auctions and a rodeo. Many of the livestock available were raised by local Ely students, who use the proceeds to benefit their college funds. Also for the first time this year, in grand Ely fashion, the fair will feature a full fireworks show to close out the weekend.

Here is a full breakdown of the schedule:

Friday, Aug. 20:

9 a.m. -1 p.m. — Exhibit Registration

9 a.m. — Ranch Rodeo Begins

10 a.m.  4 p.m. — Lower Concession Opens

11 a.m. —  Midnight Bar Hours

2 p.m. — White Pine County Fair Livestock Showmanship

3 p.m. — Horse Race Post Time (team roping to begin after races)

5 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. — Volunteer Fireman BBQ

6:00 p.m. — Midnight Live Music & Dancing with the “Good Friends Band.”

Saturday, Aug. 21

9 a.m. — White Pine County Fair Opens, featuring 4H, vendors, open class exhibits, White Pine Jr. livestock show, kids games and music featuring the “Plowed Under Band.”

11 a.m. – Midnight — Bar Hours

12 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.—  Lower Concession Opens

1 p.m. — Horse Race Post Time begins, includes T-Rex Race, Team Roping to Begin After Races

5 p.m. – 9 p.m. — Fired-Up Pizza & Smashburger

6 p.m. — Midnight Live Music & Dancing with the “Good Friends Band.”

Sunday, Aug. 22

9 a.m. — White Pine County Fair Opens, featuring 4H, vendors, open class exhibits, White Pine Jr. livestock show, kids games and music featuring the “Plowed Under Band.”

9:30 a.m. — Livestock Sale

11 a.m. — Bar hours begin

12 p.m. – 6 p.m. — Concession opens

1 p.m. — Horse Race Post Time begins, including T-Rex Race, Mascot Shuffle and Barrel Racing

9 p.m.—  Fireworks Show

About the White Pine Fair and Horse Race:

Originally organized in 1934, the races were launched by local ranchers and business people in an effort to overcome the depression blues. Some of the people involved in the formation of the races were Bill Goodman, Frank Calloway and Stan Draper. This group ran the races until 1937 when the county stepped in to form an official Fair Board. The first chairman of the board was Tom Bath, a local business owner. A year later, they would build a new race track and grandstand which is still in use today.

About Ely:

Located about 240 miles from Las Vegas and Salt Lake City, Ely is one of Nevada’s best kept secrets and perfect for people who want to create their own adventures off the beaten path. Sitting on the Eastern edge of “The Loneliest Highway” (U.S. Highway 50), Ely is a great base camp for some of the best outdoor recreation in Nevada, all year round; from mountain biking and climbing to hiking and hot springs. It’s also just a short drive to Great Basin National Park, home of the magnificent Lehman Caves and ancient Bristlecone pine forests.

Ely was founded as a stagecoach station along the Pony Express, and its rich history is celebrated in a series of murals that decorate downtown. Visitors can also step back in time on the Nevada Northern Railway, which offers a ride in an open-air car through the mountains. For more information visit: ElyNevada.net.

(Press release courtesy of The White Pine Fair and Horse Races).