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Jim Butler Days sweeps through Tonopah

Residents and visitors who stopped in the Tonopah area on Memorial Day weekend enjoyed the festivities of the 49th annual Jim Butler Days that had a theme of “Cowboys and Ranchers – Backbone of Nevada.”

Matt Decker, of Arizona, said he’s stopped in at the event every year for the last 20 years for the Nevada State Mining Championships and to take in some of what Butler Days has to offer.

“We come up here, and we take in the parade, and we bring our heavy jackets and our long johns, because it could be 75 (degrees) all week long, and then all of a sudden Saturday, the day of all of this, it drops,” Decker said as the Butler Days parade rolled down Main Street, Tonopah’s main drag, on May 25 (Saturday).

Decker said he brought his grandson Kyler with him to the festivities. It was Kyler’s first time visiting.

During the parade, temperatures were in about the mid-40s with a few sprinkles falling in front of the Mizpah Hotel. The rain got a little heavier in the afternoon hours of May 25.

On Sunday, Tonopah’s weather shifted and a snowstorm brewed.

According to the National Weather Service’s Facebook page, 3.2 inches of snow fell on May 26 (Sunday). The Jim Butler Days festivities, which celebrate Tonopah’s founder, finished up on Monday, May 27.

As Butler Days came to a close, Memorial Day was observed—a day of honoring those who gave their lives on the battlefield while serving in the U.S. military.

Festivities during Butler Days begin the week before Memorial Day.

In the early part of the week-long celebration, the king and queen were crowned. This year Nye County Commissioner Lorinda Wichman and her husband, Oz Wichman, were crowned.

A pageant was also held during the celebrations.

Samantha Heemstra was named the junior Butler Days queen with Saige Reid as runner-up junior Butler Days queen. Ellie Gillard was named junior Butler Days miss, and the Tonopah princess was Bella Fry. Little miss Tonopah was named as Abby Bergeron and Ellis Campos was the Tonopah tiny tot.

Eventgoers also enjoyed a street dance, food and other fun during the week-long affair.

A variety of vendors set up shop during Butler Days, along with charities.

Connie Sheldon of Walk the Rock said it was the organization’s 15th year in Tonopah.

Walk the Rock was selling raffle tickets to several items at the Mizpah Hotel during Butler Days. The organization offers anyone with a diagnosis of cancer $300 annually for travel expenses to destinations such as Reno from Nye County.

“This is the 15th year that this has been going, and we give gas cards for people who have cancer that they have to travel because there’s no (health care) …they have to go to Reno,” Sheldon said. “It’s expensive.”

Sheldon took over Walk the Rock from her sister Billie Gray after she lost her battle with cancer.

Contact reporter Jeffrey Meehan at jmeehan@pvtimes.com

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