District 1 Nye County Commissioner Lorinda Wichman and her husband, Oz Wichman, were named as king and queen of 49th annual Jim Butler Days in May — giving the couple an opportunity to do something together in the public light.
“I’m in politics, and he’s in public service,” said Lorinda. “We spent the last 10-1/2 years trying to make sure that we stay separate from each other — keep our jobs totally separate, so we’re very careful about where we’re seen together. This gives us an opportunity to be a couple. It’s really cool.”
Lorinda, a longtime northern Nye County resident, said it was a surprise to get the honor of being named.
“It came out of left field,” she said.
The couple made their way down Main Street during the Jim Butler Days parade; they were not in the parade.
“We didn’t ride in the parade because you can’t talk to the people when you ride in a float or something,” Lorinda said. “The most fun we have coming to town is to be around the people, so if you’re going up and down the sidewalks, you get to talk to the people.”
“I don’t mind meeting people,” Oz said. “We opted to not be in the parade to give us a chance to go along and just shake people’s hands.”
The Wichmans have been in the area for quite some time. Lorinda, originally from northern Idaho, has been in the area for about 20 years, she said. Oz has been in the area for nearly four decades.
Lorinda has been in her commissioner seat for over 10 years and is about a year and a half away from reaching the next chapter of her life. Her final term in office is set to expire at the end of 2020.
Lorinda said she has no plans of seeking any other political seats after her term is up.
In the past, Lorinda had worked as an “accountant-bookkeeper. I’ve done water rights research. I’ve worked for the tech services department in the mine—surveying, environmental, engineering.”
Lorinda and Oz were crowned king and queen during a ceremony on May 21 when Butler Days was just getting underway.
Also at the ceremony, the winners of a pageant were named.
Samantha Heemstra was named the junior Butler Days queen with Saige Reid as runner-up. 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.
The Butler Days celebration went on for a week, from May 21-27. The festivities included a parade, food, entertainment and many other things to keep the fun going.
During the celebration of Butler Days, the Nevada State Mining Championships also take place. That’s where a reporter from the Times-Bonanza caught up with the Wichmans.
The weather was in the mid-40s on May 25, the day of the championships. It had also rained most of the morning of May 25, which eventually led to cancelling one of the competitions.
But Lorinda said she was enjoying the weather.
“I know a lot of people are complaining about the weather, but I love it,” she said. “I love the weather. It gets too hot in the summer when you have to stand out in the heat all day.”
“For what the weather is, I think the turnout’s been amazing, considering the weather,” Oz said during the mining championships.
Contact reporter Jeffrey Meehan at email@example.com
A closer look
See pvtimes.com for more coverage of Jim Butler Days, including stories, photos and the Nevada State Mining Championships