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Bliss Life

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100 Years of Reno Rodeo Historical Highlights

Here’s to another 100 years of the “Wildest, Richest Rodeo in the West!” 

 July 1-5, 1919 – First Annual Nevada Round-Up – Reno’s Annual Carnival of the Range. Program and poster art by western artist and author Will James.

1922 – Rodeo Queen Mary Harrington was sent to Washington, D.C., to personally invite President Warren G. Harding to attend the Nevada Round-Up. 1922 was the last rodeo held until the 1930s due to lack of funds.

1932 – The rodeo returned as Pony Express Days over the Fourth of July weekend.

1933 – The rodeo was moved from the fairgrounds to Moana Springs in south Reno.

1935 – The Reno Rodeo and Livestock Association was formed, comprised of leading businessmen in the area.

1942 – The rodeo was moved to Labor Day weekend and renamed Reno’s War Relief Rodeo, with proceeds earmarked for war relief effort.

No rodeo was held in 1944 because World War II was at it zenith, but it returned in 1945.

1949 – The Silver Spurs award debuted. It was presented by the Chamber of Commerce to Hollywood celebrities who helped keep the western lifestyle alive. Winners over the years included John Wayne, John Ford, Jimmy Stewart, Katherine Ross and Glen Ford, to name a few.

1956 – Cotton Rosser and the Flying U Rodeo Company became the stock contractors for the Reno Rodeo, and continue that relationship to this day.

1960 – The Reno Rodeo dates were moved from the Fourth of July to the third week of June.

1962 – The rodeo grounds were destroyed by a suspicious fire. Temporary bleachers were built for the 1963 rodeo, with new grandstands unveiled for the 1964 rodeo.

1963 – Walt Linderman set an arena record for steer wrestling that still stands today at 3.1 seconds.

1972 – Rodeo president Jack Haley caused a stir when he supervised a herd of steers up Virginia Street without the permission of the city. In future years the rodeo association asked for – and were mostly denied – the right to do this.

1976 – Rodeo announcer Bob Tallman debuted as the announcer for the Reno Rodeo. He has served in that capacity since that time.

1980 – The name was changed to the Nevada High Roller Round-Up. It was changed back to the Reno Rodeo in 1982.

1984 – The barrel racing champion was a 14-year-old superstar in the making by the name of Charmayne James, who rode her horse, Scamper, to the title. She went on to win the Women’s Professional Barrel Racing Title 10 times in her career.

1986 – The Reno Rodeo Foundation was formed as the charitable arm of the Reno Rodeo. Since its inception, the foundation has distributed over $7 Million to our community.

1989 – Two new grandstands were added to the rodeo grounds, adding 2,000 seats.

1990 – In moving forward, the rodeo association became one of the first all-male organizations in the area to admit women members. Pam Froemke, Loretta Ament, Julie Petrini and Pat Murphy were introduced as the first female members of the association. The Reno Rodeo Cattle Drive was also started in 1990.

1992 – The seating capacity at the rodeo grounds was expanded to 8,800.

1993 – Women’s Professional Barrel Racing returned. They had held out of the Reno Rodeo for six of the previous eight years because of a dispute over prize money.

1995 – The Reno Rodeo was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame.

2003 – Selena Ulch was crowned Miss Reno Rodeo, and was crowned Miss Rodeo Nevada the next year. In 2005 she became the only Miss Reno Rodeo to win the title of Miss Rodeo America.

2006 – At a lightning fast 16.73 seconds, Terri Kaye Kirkland set a new arena record in barrel racing.

2017 – The Reno Rodeo 100 Years 100 Stories project, a multimedia project collecting stories leading up to the 100-year anniversary of the Reno Rodeo, debuted the first storytelling event on May 13 at the Governor’s Mansion.

2018 – Plans for a brand new, state-of-the-art events center, which will include a 15-thousand-seat arena were revealed at the 2018 rodeo. For several years the Reno Rodeo Legacy committee worked on a master plan of the 39-acre Livestock Event Center site and created a new vision for the next 100 years of the Reno Rodeo. Learn more at