Camels, Balloons, Cheetahs...Oh My!

I absolutely love the interim period between summer and fall. The nights are turning cooler, the leaves are slowly starting to change, and I get to attend some of my favorite Reno events of the year. Women in pink tutus and men in onesie pajamas racing camels and ostriches, Darth Vadar and panda balloons sailing across the sky, and cheetahs sprinting at full speed across the sagebrush. Really, these are some of the sights you'll see if you visit our corner of Nevada come September (jam packed in one weekend, nonetheless)!

Alright, since many of you may be confused at this point of time, let's tackle this one by one. Camel and ostrich racing? You bet! Come on down and "step back in time" to scenic Virginia City (only a 45 min. drive up the hill from Reno) where you'll see camels and ostriches alike race down the track for the weekend. If you're lucky, you'll see them buck off a rider or two (I know I did). If you haven't heard of the good ol' V-C (Virginia City), I suggest you check it out - especially if you're partial to old mining towns, ghosts, and cowboys (it was also where Mark Twain officially began his writing career). What I really like about Virginia City is that, although it's a "tourist" kind of town, it doesn't give off that feel at all. They've kept all their buildings intact as they were back in the day, the locals dress up in Victorian and western wear for fun, and they hold bizarre events like the International Camel Races.

 As most locals will tell you, the camel races began in true Virginia City spirit - as a hoax. In the Comstoke Lode days, camels were introduced to the area as pack animals to carry supplies but, of course, as the steam railroad grew in popularity - taking off much of the proverbial load - the somewhat smelly and not too agreeable animals were released into the hills...never to be seen again (so they say). Until in 1959, a local editor wrote a fictitious account of a camel race held in none other than Virginia City. The next year, he followed up with this prank for an announcement in the paper for the event. In true Virginia City spirit, the locals answered the challenge - borrowing a camel from the San Francisco Zoo. And, as they say, the rest is history.

 Fast forward to the camel races in 2011 where the spectator crowd grows just as much as the antics do. Of course, this time around, prize-winning alpacas were also roaming around - cute as a button and soft as...well, alpaca.

Feeding the locals...

So if you're in our neck of the sagebrush come September - be sure to stop in Virginia City for a ramblin' good time.

May the Wind Currents Be With You...

Of course, your weekend doesn't stop there. We still have Darth Vadar and panda balloons to discuss! During your stay in Reno, Nevada (after visiting Jimmy Beans Wool, of course!), be sure to check out the "Great Reno Balloon Race", too! This particular race, although also extending the three days of the weekend, happens in the air and is just as much fun. Wake up early to see "Dawn Patrol" where five balloons rise in the wee hours of the morning to light up the sky. It's truly a beautiful sight and I wish I had pictures to share but...alas, I was tired and too busy drinking my thermos of coffee. However, I did snap shots of the main event - literally hundreds of hot air balloons taking flight. And yes, it really is a race! There are targets set up on the ground where participants will throw their 'markers' to track their course and at stake is a whoopin' $10,000.

Now, I know I mentioned cheetahs...and yes, we really do have a cheetah in Nevada and it is not at a zoo (or a casino). The Animal Ark is a wildlife sanctuary that harbors injured animals (or those no longer fit to remain in the wild) in a natural setting. So they have a few different types of animals ranging from wolves and bears (oh my!) to foxes and owls...and, of course, cheetahs! The Animal Ark believes that because cheetahs were built for speed so in order for them to be happy and healthy cheetahs, they must run at top speed regularly. So they built a track where the cheetah's favorite toy is run along a wire - at 70 mph...and they chase it! The people who run the "Ark" do this once a week with their cheetahs but only invite the public every other month. So we finally went and of course it was awesome. It's amazing to see a grown cheetah act like a kitten - trying to pounce on its favorite toy and after, purr like one too!

So - I'm not entirely sure what this post was supposed to be about. Maybe to give readers out there some sort of idea of where we're located and what we actually do around here. Alright, maybe we don't do this every week but it's fun checking out the 'local' areas of interest....right? :) What about your hometown? Any annual events that we should be on the look-out for?

Anyways, I hope everyone out there is having fun, staying safe, and enjoying the seasons by day. Happy knitting!

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1 comment:

  1. Shevawn you reminded me how much fun we have here in my hometown!!! I have seen it all except the Cheetah racing, so I am going to put that on my list...purrrr!!! XOXO Jeanne