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“I like the bigness of it, being on top of a mountain and looking out over this country. I like being connected to the land. This gives me a sense of freedom; I’m detached from the chaos of life.”

D. Anderson, Indianapolis, Indiana, 2004

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Cowboy Ranch Tour

I’ll pick you up at your motel/hotel in Elko to begin the day.

We’ll likely begin our tour with the Western Folklife Center’s “Black Box” theater presentation, “Why the Cowboy Sings.” 

The Western Folklife Center is housed in the remodeled Pioneer Hotel, a landmark in Elko.  Inside you’ll find the “Black Box” theater where we’ll see the short introductory video, historic bar with small tables for a “cool one,” gift shop with jewelry and cowboy memorabilia, large performance theater, and museum, home to traveling exhibits of the cowboy life, and DVDs featuring local family ranch life.  Twenty-eight years of Gathering posters decorate the Center’s walls.

Cowboy John Collett outside of the Western Folklife Center

The Western Folklife Center is headquarters for the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering held every year in Elko, end of January, first of February. The “Why the Cowboy Sings,” video will set the mood for our introduction to cowboy history of the West and Great Basin. 

Cowboy John Collett outside of the J.M. Capriola Company storeThe cowboy culture is an important part of the economy and way of life in northeastern Nevada.  There are many small family and larger corporate farms/ranches in Elko County, and the store that has served cowboys for generations, just across the street from the Western Folklife Center, is our next stop.  Buckaroos from Nevada and the West to “wanna-be” cowboys from Germany and Europe, and U.S. presidents shop J.M. Capriola Company’s shelves and mail order for western shirts, hats, boots, bridles, “tack,” silver/turquoise jewelry, and saddles.

Capriola owners Paula and Doug Wright will show us their legendary Guadalupe S. Garcia silver collection, some pieces from the late 1800s.  There will be time to watch tack and saddle-makers at their craft, upstairs in the saddle shop.

Then, into the van for a tour of a real working ranch just outside Elko.  We’ll meet the cattle boss, see barns and tack room hung with tools of the cowboy trade: saddles, bridles, chinks.

 


 

We’ll talk with the manager about today’s ranching issues: wild horses, partnership with the BLM and Forest Service, sellling and shipping cattle using computer technology, “natural” beef, feedlot beef, riding for cattle, branding, winter feeding, care of the land, predator control. 

Along our ride we’ll skirt, perhaps drive into, the Ruby Mountains, glacier-carved, snow-covered,  granite mountains topping 13,000 ft with Ruby Dome. 

The mountains, wild flower-covered in spring, are home to Hungarian partridge, mountain sheep, goats, and lion, mule deer, coyote, and bob cat.  This is the northern Nevada most drivers never see as they cross the Great Basin desert on highway 80.

Lunch will be arranged.  Ranch bunk house, tavern/restaurant in quaint village, dutch oven meal, picnic out of the back of the van...

Call us at, 775-753-7825 for information.

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