Marietta Henry is Chairman of White Pine Horse Races in Ely, Nevada. This was the city’s 88th year holding the races and it was, in the words of Henry, “a massive success!”
Henry was ecstatic as the weekend arrived. Ely’s typical population is nearly 4,000 people, but the horse races more than double the town’s population by attracting around 8,000 visitors, nearly all of whom came for the entire weekend.
“We mainly draw people from Utah, Idaho, Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada,” Henry said, “but we also do get people from all over the place. Ely is special and people enjoy being here.”
White Pine Horse Races is a non-profit organization whose mission is driving revenue for Ely, as well as showing the city off when people come to visit. “It really was an amazing weekend,” Henry said with a smile. “Friends, relatives, locals…everyone enjoying horse racing and having a wonderful time while helping out our community is wonderful.”
Ely, Nevada, is far away from…everywhere, really. The locals get a kick out of letting people know some version of, “Ely is the American town the furthest away from the rest of America!” Nestled in the Currant mountains of Nevada with a view of Mt. Wheeler, it would take several hours in each direction to reach another city.
As a result, the economic impact on the town is significant. “All of our businesses were full all weekend,” Henry said, smiling again, “and the economic impact to Ely can’t be overstated. This was a success for everyone!”
The Jockeys, Their Families, and Ely Love
When asked if the jockeys enjoyed their time in Ely, laughed and Henery replied. “Do you think you double the population of your town for a weekend if it’s a bad place to visit?”
“The jockeys love Ely,” Henry said. “The horse owners and jockeys have been coming to Ely for decades. They like the town, they like the races, and what the town provides. “Plus, we’re friendly people here!”
Henry added that they offer “personal care,” to the jockeys so that they feel at home while in town.
The County Fair
The White Pine County Fair was held on the fairgrounds the same weekend as the races, so there was something for everyone to enjoy including a bounce house for kids, games and rides, and a livestock competition sponsored by 4-H and FFA.
Live music set the mood all weekend, as several bands kept entertained as they danced the night away after the races.
“We brought in musical acts from all over, and some food trucks made the trip too!” Henry said.
The Horse Races
The races were the main event of the weekend and the stands were packed as fans bet and cheered on their favorite horse. With a backdrop of the Currant Mountains, the racetrack was gorgeous and the horses looked fantastic in action.
White Pine Horse Races had blankets made up so after the races were over family members, owners, and sponsors could come on the track for a photo with the winning jockey and blanket.
As a sponsor for this year’s event Pattern Energy and our Spring Valley Wind team are honored to be a part of the Ely and White Pine County community. We strongly believe in supporting the communities we serve. Our employees living in Ely love it just as much as everyone else who visits. (It’s an easy place to love!)
As Marietta reflected on another successful racing weekend, she explained that the horse races are always the third weekend in August, and Ely is looking forward to 89 years in 2023!