Governors dine at Dangberg Home Ranch |

Governors dine at Dangberg Home Ranch

by Christy Chamberlain
Special to The R-C
Sen. Richard H. Bryan and Michael Fischer portraying Gov. John Sparks at Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park in September 2013..
Shannon Litz | The Record-Courier

Former political rivals joined Friends of the Dangberg Home Ranch Saturday to talk about their turns leading Nevada.

Dinner with the Governors, a fundraiser for the Friends of Dangberg Home Ranch, the nonprofit organization that operates the historic park, drew a sellout audience of 80 people.

The guests of honor were Richard H. Bryan, a Democrat who served as governor from 1983-89 and as a U.S. senator from 1989-2001; Robert List, a Republican who served as governor from 1979-83; and John Sparks, a member of the Silver-Democratic party who was a governor from 1902 until his death in 1908. Sparks was portrayed Chautauqua-style by Dr. Michael Fischer, a Gardnerville resident and longtime park supporter.

Brent Boynton, KNPB television’s news director, induced a mix of humorous and serious responses as he queried the governors.

Bryan and List challenged each other politically during the 1970s and 1980s, with Bryan succeeding List as governor in 1983. But their mutual respect was evident as they reminisced about working together for the good of the state, particularly to clear organized crime out of gaming in Las Vegas.

Sparks talked of establishing a state police department and quelling mining labor disputes in the then-booming communities of Goldfield and Tonopah.

Event organizers were pleased at the response.

“It was beyond my expectations,” said Mark Jensen, curator of the park that preserves the home of one of Carson Valley’s founding families. “We were happy to have not only longtime supporters of the park come to the event, but a number of first-time visitors. We’re glad for the support of governors Bryan and List.”

“The turnout really demonstrates that the community values this park, and appreciates what we’re doing,” said Mike Hall, president of the Friends of Dangberg Home Ranch. “This is their park, and this event wouldn’t have happened without their support.”

The park’s annual exhibit of vintage clothing was open to the dinner guests, and they also enjoyed a gourmet meal, music by Beans Souza and silent auction in addition to the governors’ discussion.

The Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park is owned by Douglas County and consists of eight original buildings on 5.5 acres. Tours of the ranch house cost $8 and are available by reservation. To schedule, call (775) 783-9417 or visit