By KayLynn Roberts-McMurray
Th Ely Times
The White Pine County Horse Races and Fair returns this weekend, with craft displays, heaps of cotton candy, sno cones, barns full of animals that non-farmers rarely get to see, and probably the most intense part of the weekend, the Horse Races.
This weekend marks the 83rd year of western style celebrations. Friday, the Ranch Rodeo kicks off at 10 a.m. Cowgirls and cowboys from all over the United States will gather to test their roping, steer stopping and bronco riding skills.
The first day of horse races kicks off on Friday at 3 p.m., where spectators take in the rumbling and shaking of the ground from thoroughbred and quarter horses racing around the track.
With 20 races in store for the weekend, you will have plenty of chances to try your luck on a race ticket, maybe even try a parimutuel card to increase your chances. Races run through Sunday, Aug. 19.
Friday night the Ely Volunteer Fire Department will be serving up some delicious lamb, beef and again from a traditional spit barbecue machine.
The band Good Friends will be jamming from 6:30 p.m. until midnight on Aug. 17 and 18.
Saturday kicks off exhibits, a livestock judging event for the market and open classes.
There will be plenty of kids games, vendors, bands like Plowed Under Band and the Cheat Grass Band playing throughout the weekend.
Sunday the livestock auction will begin at 9 a.m.
Mike Scudder returns this year with eight of his horses. Scudder, who has been coming to White Pine for more than 40 years, talks about how much he enjoys returning each year. For Scudder, it’s not just the racing, it’s the connection that he has made with the people here, and the desire to want to help support the community by bringing his horses out to race.
When asked if any of his horses were injured last year on the track, he said no.
“You’re going to get that anywhere you go,” he said. “Sometimes it’s the guys training the horse and they still ride them, and that’s ridiculous.”
Scudder describes his horses as his kids, all having their own personalities and attitudes. Some like to run short, some like to run long.
“A lot of them you learn to cope with their attitude and eventually it evens out and you have no trouble,” he said. “If you’re not hollering and screaming at them they go on and you do what you want to do with them without troubles.”
Being involved with horses and racing his whole life, Scudder explains that he can tell when his horses are off just by their body language.
“We can get them out in the morning and notice something different, these horses, they’ll tell ya,” he said.
Scudder likes to give his horses a two to three month break, making sure he doesn’t ware them out.
When Scudder was asked if he had a favorite, he said, “No, I used to but I don’t anymore, they’re all my favorites. I got an older horse here, Bumper who’s 10 now, but he still keeps running and winning.”
Scudder opened one of the stalls to pull Bumper out, and all of the other horses immediately stopped eating, and poked their heads out to see what’s going on.
Asked if he was going to retire anytime soon? Scudder said, “No, no my kids have been after me, I’ll be 74 years this year, I’ve been at it for 42 years, and I’ve tried to back off, and after two weeks of doing nothing, I go stir crazy.”