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FALL FESTIVAL TURNS 50: The rodeo in 1964 is now all grown up

ome things are just steeped in tradition and the public wouldn’t know what to do without them. The Fall Festival has gone through a lot of changes since it began in 1964, including who was in charge, what it was to be named and the festivities offered.

This year’s festival is under the auspices of the Town of Pahrump and will open at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 25th and run for four days. Friday and Saturday, the 26th and 27th, it opens at 11 a.m and Sunday, Sept. 28 at 10 a.m.

Davis Amusements is providing the carnival which will offer thrill rides for the daring and tamer rides for the younger kids. The great American midway offers games, prizes and typical carnival food, like corn dogs and cotton candy. Carnival tickets are $30 at the gate. Family fun packs and single tickets are available. Advance tickets can be purchased for $23 at Pahrump Party Supply, Pahrump Valley Chamber of Commerce, Shadow Mountain Feed or Valley Electric Association.

When the celebration began, it was called the Harvest Festival. Attendance was all of 300 people, which represented almost the entire population of the town. One of the activities was a rodeo and all the contestants were drawn from the local citizens.

The rodeo has remained the mainstay of the festival. Once a stop for the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association before the finals in Las Vegas, it has evolved into an event, put on by the Rocky Mountain Professional Rodeo. The night includes bull riding, calf roping, bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping, barrel racing and ends with another round of bull riding.

The event, held Friday and Saturday, will cost $10. On Friday night only, kids under five are free when accompanied by a paying adult. Seniors 65 and older can buy one ticket and get one free. This is going to be the best event seen in years.

The entertainment stage will have lots of good music and acts. It’s a good place sit on the grass, rest a spell and have a snack or drink.

The vendors number 146-plus and will be selling their wares, including food, clothing, arts and crafts, gadgets and much more.

In addition to the commercial booths, the political candidates and nonprofit organizations all have informational booths.

Every nonprofit organization has had an opportunity to run the much sought after beer booth. This year there are two. One is next to the carnival and rodeo and will be run by the Rotary Club. The one next to the entertainment stage will be run by the Moose Lodge.

The judged arts and crafts exhibit returns this year with the Pahrump Arts Council’s Shadow Mountain Quilters at the wheel. The exhibits will include favorites such as art, photography, creative writing, crafts,woodworking, dolls, needle work, machine sewing, accessories, quilts, knitting and crochet.

Also included are preserved foods, confections and baking and horticulture and ornamental plants. The exhibits will be displayed in the Bob Ruud Community Center.

The 4-H Club will have an outdoor booth, showcasing its projects as well as having many games and contests. The University of Nevada Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners will also be available. Stop by and get some tips and check out the giant pumpkin contest.

Another mainstay of the festival is the parade on Saturday morning. It begins at 9 a.m. sharp. Starting at Dandelion, it rolls, walks and clops down Highway 160. There will be over 50 entries, some judged and others “just havin’ fun” and enjoying the ride. It ends at Boothill past Petrack Park. The access streets to the highway will be blocked off about an hour before the parade starts and continue for some time after. Citizens may want to think of alternate routes ahead of time.

Ronald McDonald will be appearing in the parade and at the festival. McDonald’s trains performers to portray Ronald, using identical mannerisms and costumes. Actors are strictly selected by McDonald Corp. for their ability to project energy, warmth and compassion.

Fall Festival racing will take place at the Pahrump Valley Speedway Friday and Saturday, Sept. 26th and 27th. The stands open at 6 p.m., races begin at 7 p.m. Tickets are adults $10, seniors 55 plus $8, children 6-13 $6 (5 and under free), family six-pack $30 (2 adults, 4 kids under 17).

The track is a high-speed, clay-base, high-banked, quarter mile dirt track located off Basin Avenue east of Highway 160. Races will feature IMCA WCSS, IMCA Modified: Mini Stock, Mod Mini, Dwarf, Bomber, Hobby Stocks and Coupes.

Sunday, Sept. 28 is the horseshoe pitching contest which takes place at the pits next to the pool. The entry fee is $10. Participants need to arrive early to enter. Sign-up stops at 9 a.m., and team selection begins at 9:30 a.m. All the entry fees go to the winners of the different contests.

Contact author Creag Rowland by emailing creag.pvtimes@gmail.com.

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