Coronavirus postpones Pony Express, cancels Hot August Nights events |

Coronavirus postpones Pony Express, cancels Hot August Nights events

Staff Reports

There’s always a mustang in the mix, whether it has four hooves or four on the floor, for two popular summer events in Carson Valley.

The annual Pony Express Re-ride has been delayed until August due to the coronavirus outbreak, while Hot August Nights has been canceled for 2020.

Both regional events pass through Carson Valley, with the Poker Run bringing scores of classic cars to Minden Park in August.

If the annual Pony Express Re-ride had not been postponed, the rider would be well on the way through Utah by now. Scheduled to have arrived in Genoa on June 4 the day after leaving Old Sacramento.

But despite the virus, the mail will go through with the ride dates reset for Aug. 26 and the rider arriving in Genoa on the afternoon of Aug. 27. The annual ride travels 1,966 miles and involves 700 riders over 10 days.

The last time the ride was postponed was in 2011 when the West was in the grips of an equine herpes outbreak.

Hot August Nights’s cancellation means that classic cars won’t be participating in the Aug. 6 poker run to Minden.

Organizers decided to cancel the event in order to protect the health of the more than 6,000 volunteers and participants.

The postponement includes Hot August Nights Virginia City kickoff event slated for July 31 and Aug. 1, and the main event held Aug. 4-9 in various locations throughout Reno and Sparks.

“This decision was not made lightly by the Board of Directors and Staff, but the priority for the safety and well-being of our attendees and volunteers is paramount,” said Hot August Nights Executive Director Mike Whan. “Since March, and even up until last week, we remained optimistic that we could carry on with adjustments and added previsions. I can honestly say, after much discussion with leading health organizers, government officials and internal discussions, we are confident that this is the right action to take.”

Hot August Nights has brought hundreds of thousands of spectators to northern Nevada since 1986. Annually, the event generates more than $100 million in economic impact.