ELKO — Over the Labor Day weekend Elko Fair fans enjoyed all that the Elko County Fair has offered in the 100 years of its existence. The Fair has become a traditional event for family, friends and out of town folks, to meet.
The Elko County Fair began in 1920, and has continued yearly, except for three years. One year the Fair was cancelled because of hoof and mouth disease; the second year it was canceled there was not enough funding; and last year, 2020, the fair was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The 2021 Fair began with the traditional parade at 11 a.m. Friday on Idaho Street. At 1 p.m. the activities at the fairgrounds opened with something for everyone; Horse Races, Stock Horse Competition, and Home Art exhibits for all ages that included sewing, quilting, hobbies & crafts, photography, flowers and garden produce.
The traditional 4-H animals raised by youths between 9 and 18 years old that compete in breeding stock and fat animal competition was organized by the Fair Board this year instead of the UNR Extension service. The animals, beef, sheep, poultry, and goats were judged on Saturday, and the market animals sold at auction on Sunday.
Attendance at the Fair was high, and most fairgoers commented on this fact based on the crowd numbers and hard-to-find parking.
Kim Johnson, in charge of selling tickets for the races and the arena events, said that over the four Fair days 8,407 tickets were sold, with the highest number of 3,703 on Saturday. In addition, there were many people that did not buy tickets but enjoyed the Home Arts and Flower/Produce exhibits as well as seeing the Youth Animals in the barns or in the show ring.
What began with the Fair Parade on Friday ended on Monday as the final horse race of the Fair. That race is named the Nevada Blackjack Challenge. The Blackjack Challenge has eight syndicates participating, each with several members. This year the winning horse was Dewey, running under the colors of Unable Stables. The colors associated with Unstable Stables will be painted on the horse picture that is above the Welcome Fair arch.
Giovanna Puccinelli of the Fair Board Racing Committee said that the pari-mutuel betting over the six days of horse racing was $235,145. That amount is down a little from the betting in 2019.
The 63rd Wells Businessmen’s Race was run on Monday, Sept. 6, this year with only two horses running after three were scratched. The winner of the 350-yard race was Freyght Boss. The Wells businesses have been sponsoring a race on Wells Day at the Fair since 1957.