Reno Rodeo celebrates 100 years of action

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RENO, NV (KOLO) Where the Reno Rodeo ranks on the list of biggest rodeos in America is pretty subjective, but long-time rodeo barrelman and clown John Harrison would know as well as anyone.

“It’s one of the biggest rodeos out there,” he proclaimed. “There are 5 or 6 outdoor rodeos out there that are the biggest, and this is definitely one of those.”

When it first started in 1919, it wasn’t even called the rodeo, known then as the Nevada Round Up.

“In 1919 it started. It started over the Fourth of July weekend. It was businessmen just trying to get people to town and have some economic impact and was very successful for a couple of years,” said Rodeo President Mike Torvinen.

The rodeo has taken place every year since World War II, and much of that history is currently on display at the Nevada Historical Society.

“This exhibit is a snapshot, because you are trying to fit 100 years in a small area,” said Curator of Manuscripts Sherry Hayes Zorn.

Much of the exhibit is courtesy of long-time journalist Guy Clifton, and features plenty of artifacts from the last century.

“We’ve got an overview of the 100 years,” said Hayes-Zorn. “Major players from past through present. Even some snapshots from early days of the rodeo.”

Over the century of rodeo action, the event has become quite a money maker.

“We had a study done in 2014. They estimated that $57.4 million is brought to the local economy during the days of the Reno rodeo. We are proud of that and we think its even more now.”

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