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Elko County Fair & Horse Races



elkocountyfairWhen 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 buckaroo seems to be a glorious one there are other equestrians that are sure to get your heart pounding as they race down the home stretch. 

The Elko County Fair held each year at the Fair Grounds 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 cancellation of the fair that is documented was due to World War II back in 1942 and 1943. Although many things have changed since the 20’s one thing remains a constant – the hoof pounding excitement of the ponies racing down the stretch. 

The races are held for six days and consist of nine to ten races each day featuring both thoroughbred and quarter horses. This year the Elko County Fair will be celebrating its 86th Anniversary with over $325,000.00 in purse money. Trainers and horses travel from as far away as Washington and Arizona to compete for their piece of the purse. 

One of the most anticipated races for locals is the “Nevada Blackjack Challenge.” The Black Jack Challenge is run on the last day of racing and consists of nine local stables all competing for bragging rights. You may see various items throughout our city promoting the different stables, the nine competing stables listed in no particular order are: Unstable Stables, Unable Stables, Misfits Stables & White Pine Stables, Under The Table Stables, Unwanted Stables, We Wanna Win Stables and Let It Ride Stables. 

As well as the horse racing The Elko County 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 nations 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 4 hands that will brand 6 yearlings, two of the hands will be on the ground and two are 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, other than there are only 4 yearlings in each group. 

Bring the whole family and take part in the tradition of fair time. 

For more information visit the Elko County Fair website.