Photo by Jason Bath

ELY—This August, troves of visitors from all over will flock to the 83rd annual White Pine Fair and Horse Races Western festival in Ely, Nev. Eventgoers can expect the same thrills and nod to Western tradition at this jam-packed, three-day event that has taken place for decades.

The weekend-long series of celebrations promises the customs and nostalgia of a true American Western experience. The pinnacle event of the weekend is the White Pine Horse Races, held at White Pine County Fairgrounds Aug. 17-19. Spectators can feel the ground shake from the rumble of about 150 thoroughbred and quarter horses racing around the track and experience the rush of adrenaline from neck-and-neck finishes. Gambling, mouth-watering food and other Old West events make this thrilling weekend a can’t miss.

“This is truly White Pine County’s biggest event, drawing hundreds of volunteers and thousands of fans,” said Jim Bath, chairman of White Pine Horse Races. “Not many towns still have horse racing with parimutuel betting, and I’m proud of our county for keeping these races alive.”

In a parimutuel betting system, the payoff odds for the race are determined by the value of all bets placed rather than by the house, meaning the odds are not finalized until betting is closed.

First established in the 1920s, these exciting races draw thousands of bettors and spectators from all over the country. Race attendees can view race post times Friday, Aug. 17 at 3 p.m., and Saturday, Aug. 18 and Sunday, Aug. 19 at 1 p.m. at the county fairgrounds.

“We are excited to once again bring together our community and visitors for this momentous tradition,” said Ely Mayor Melody VanCamp. “It is always great fun during this time of year. There is something for everyone to enjoy.”

The weekend series of events also features a rodeo, an authentic barbecue, a county fair and a 4-H Livestock Show and Auction, kicking off with a bang on Friday, Aug. 17 and extending through Sunday, Aug. 19.

Additionally, the White Pine Ranch Rodeo will begin at 10 a.m. on Friday Aug. 17 with more rodeo events taking place throughout the weekend. Cowboys and cowgirls from all over the U.S. will converge in Ely to show off their roping skills, cattle doctoring, ranch sorting, steer stopping and bronco riding expertise.

That evening, the Ely Volunteer Fire Department’s Barbecue begins at 5 p.m., serving up tasty beef, lamb and turkey for attendees to enjoy.

The County Fair is another featured event of the weekend, taking place on both Aug. 18 and 19. With exhibits, unique vendor booths, cooking and eating contests and live entertainment, these festivities promise fun for the whole family.

Evening hours are filled with great live music and dancing. The band Good Friends will be jamming from 6:30 p.m. until midnight on Aug. 17 and 18. Meanwhile, the 4-H Livestock Show and Auction will also take place on Aug. 18 and 19, giving eventgoers a taste of an authentic Western ag tradition.

“This weekend is really about showcasing the heart and soul of what makes White Pine County special and sharing that with everyone,” said Steve Stork, White Pine County Tourism and Recreation Board chairman. “It’s a real honor to be part of this town, and being part of these events really puts that into perspective.”

This three-day western festival takes place in Ely, Nev., located on US Highway 50 and Highway 93 which is 240 miles from Las Vegas, 240 miles from Salt Lake City and 320 miles from Reno. To discover more about the horse races weekend visit,

More about Ely:

There is something for everyone in Ely and nearby attractions. For true National Park adventure seekers, get lost in the natural wilderness of the sprawling Great Basin National Park. Here, trekkers can tackle a variety of trails ranging from mild with the Mountain View Nature Trail to those desiring more extremes with the 13-mile Baker Lake and Johnson Lake Loop.

For those seeking underground exploration, Great Basin National Park houses the Lehman Caves and recently became a designated International Dark Sky Park location. Here, star-gazers can find themselves under some of the darkest skies in America.

Plan a day trip at the Ward Charcoal State Historic Park. Anyone who enjoys wide open spaces and the Old West will appreciate what this site has to offer. Visitors can navigate six historic beehive shaped charcoal ovens, used in the late 1800s to process silver during mining operations. This park is not only optimal for great walks and spectacular views, but it is also dog-friendly and offers fishing access in Willow Creek.

In town, visitors can take a ride on the historic Nevada Northern Railway as well as stroll into the past by staying a night in a caboose or bunkhouse, or even drive a locomotive themselves. Along with Ely’s historic railway, visitors can tour Ely Renaissance Village. On the property purchased by Ely Renaissance Society, sightseers can relish in reenactments of what life in Ely was like for original settlers while touring an old general store, barn and miner’s cabin.

Make sure to grab some good grub before or after the race. Ely offers a fun night out.  Eventgoers can swing by the retro Economy Drug Store and Soda Fountain, All Aboard Cafe or let loose at one of the casinos.

For more information on these sites and other fun Ely adventures including the historic Nevada Northern Railway or for lodging or RV/camping information visit or