Genoa Cowboy Festival offers music, tours and trials |

Genoa Cowboy Festival offers music, tours and trials

Staff Reports

Shannon Litz file photo

The fourth annual Genoa Cowboy Festival rides into Nevada’s oldest town May 3–5 with a rip-roaring roundup of music, cowboy poetry, grub, Old West art and merchandise — and inside looks at the Western way of life, both contemporary and historic.

The Carson Valley Historic Ranch Tour is 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 3. The tour features a visit to old-time ranches, some preserved, some still working, which are usually not accessible to the public. Led by historian Dr. Michael E. Fischer, with further briefings by top ranch managers and owners, the tour participants will be treated to the 1856 Klauber Ranch, an inside-the-walls look at the 1857 Dangberg Home Ranch, the Sheep Camp stock shipping site of the former V&T Railroad, the Buckeye Ranch sheep operation, and Gansberg Ranch, famed for its stock horses and cattle business. Lunch will be hosted at the JT Basque Restaurant in Gardnerville, with entertainment by Nevada singer Richard Elloyan.

The Carson Emigrant Trail Tour is 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 5. This tour retraces the approximate route of the 1850s California Gold Rush emigrants. Visitors will travel by bus from Genoa’s Mormon Station State Park (featuring an appearance by Margaret Ormsby) to Snowshoe Thompson’s cave in Carson Canyon. The tour includes stops at trail markers near the original supply and stagecoach stations — Walley’s Hot Springs, Van Sickle Station, Mottsville, Sheridan, Fairview, Fredericksburg, and Woodfords Station. Chautauqua characters will lead excursions into local cemeteries along the way.

For both events, comfortable walking shoes and weather-appropriate clothes are advised. Tickets for the Historic Ranch Tour are $125 per person, which includes transportation and lunch. Tickets for the Emigrant Trail Tour are $40, which includes transportation and a snack. For information and tickets, visit the Genoa Cowboy Festival’s website at or contact the Genoa Town Office at 782-8696. Because seating is limited, reservations are required.

For those who want to get more hands on, the Trail Trial at the River Fork Ranch in Genoa on May 5 tests horsemanship skills. Riders on horseback encounter 10 obstacles that represent a situation that a horse and rider may experience while trail riding or working on a ranch. The event is open to riders of all ages and levels of experience. Awards will be given to the top three riders in three divisions and three age groups. The divisions are novice, intermediate and advanced, with ages groups of 17 and under, 18-49, and 50-plus. Entry fees are $55 for adults and $50 for 17 and under. Following the Trail Trial a Cinco de Mayo lunch will be provided, and there will be a raffle to benefit the festival and Whit Hall Interpretive Center.

Trail Trial participants receive a free day pass to be used either Friday or Saturday to see all the daytime events, the mercantile store and the art show. For more information, or to obtain an entry form visit or call Sara Groenendyke at 265-5557.