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May 2016

With the first Nevada Round-Up a popular, if not financial success, rodeo organizers immediately planning an even bigger event for 1920. This time they would have an entire year to plan for the Fourth of July event rather than six weeks, as was the case in 1919.

The American City Bureau signed up more than 1300 members at $25 annually to help ensure the financial success or the rodeo. More than &10,000 in stock was sold to Reno businessmen and the Chamber of Commerce paid for the seating capacity to be expanded to 7,000 seats. The Chamber also asked private citizens to open their homes to visitors, renting them rooms, as all of the hotels were expected to be filled to capacity. Trains offered discount fares for visitors coming to Reno and those coming by automobile were assured there would be plenty of gasoline available.

Charles W. Mapes was the managing director of the parade and also served as grand marshal. More than 150 cowboys and cowgirls entered the rodeo competitions in 15 events.

This year, the parade went from 4th street to the fairgrounds. Mapes, riding horseback, led the parade and was followed Round-Up directors riding in automobiles, the cowboy band, the competing cowboys and cowgirls, and the residents who could come up with a mount for the parade. The parade was repeated each day of the four-day event. The queen, elected by popular vote, was Marien Hastings.

Inside the arena, the Gazette reported that the keenest competition was between the professional cowboys and those from the range. More than 50 cowboys entered the bucking horse contest and an equal number entered the bull riding despite the fact that the unridable bull Diavolo was among the stock.

The Gazette reported that the wild horse race was the most spectacular event on the second day. “The air seemed filled with bucking horses, no two going the same direction,” the story said.

“It was a fine show,” Round-Up boss Bob Anderson told the Reno Evening Gazette. “There was keen competition in all the contests and the boys gave many wonderful exhibitions. It will be bigger next year, but it will be difficult to find any better riders.” The rodeo directors said nearly 17,000 attended the four-day event of 1920 and gate receipts totaled $15,292.50.

The stories for the Count Down to 100 are excerpts from “A History – The First 80 Years” by Guy Clifton.

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