Tahoe Pine Nuts: Three nights in the Littlest Big City in the World
These are the heartiest, happiest, friendliest people on Planet Earth, the denizens of “Big Nowhere,” Winnemucca…
Having been invited to partake in their Tri-County Fair & Stampede, I packed a pipe, bow tie, white suit, and headed east on I-80. Three hours and fifteen minutes later I arrived at the New Frontier RV Park next to Winger’s Roadhouse Casino, and prepared my raid on an unsuspecting public.
Along my way to the Main Stage Event Center a photographer from the local paper stopped me and asked to take a photo. He took me into his confidence and told me Mark Twain was number three on the celebrity list assigned to him by his editor.
Number one was the 4-H Chicken, and number two was the pig to perform in the mud-rastling contest. Hey, I’ll take number three in Winnemucca, and I don’t care who is number one and two, but I didn’t want to know who (what) was number four.
Winnemucca, you might know, is noted for holding the world record for the greatest number of bulls castrated in a 5-minute period. And as for entertainers in Winnemucca, I was told if you do not meet their standard, you go into the pen with the steers.
For three whole days and nights following seven shows, I stood in fear, suspecting somebody would slip a note under my door confirming that I had been summoned to the stockyards.
On my first night out in Winnemucca I repaired to the groggery at Winger’s for a nice tall Hefeweizen, as I was parched. Well, darned if a local couple didn’t invite me to join them for dinner, and they were the nicest folks I ever met.
When I got up to go and asked for my check, I was told it was all taken care of by those same cordial folks. Well of course I took their hands and invited them to Tahoe so I might return the favor, and they agreed to come.
The following night I went back for more Mahi-mahi at Winger’s and fell into conversation with the owner, who, before taking his leave, instructed the bar keep and wait person to absorb my damages. He and his family are also coming to Tahoe to visit.
I refrained from inflicting myself upon Winger’s for a third night, fearing I might overhear, “Oh-oh, here he comes … hide the silver!”
On my last night in Winnemucca, an artisan gave me a likeness of Mark Twain he fashioned from a stone. He glued a riot of white hair and the longest mustache you ever saw to a rock, and well, it would make a cow smile.
He will be visiting next week. Nice folks? As Huckleberry might concede, “I guess not!” They even sent us home with kettle corn for the neighbor kids.
I’m busy now adding an extra wing to accommodate the Winnemucca folks who will be arriving soon, and I’m putting the Tri-County Fair & Stampede on my calendar for next year, as I never had so much fun in a white suit…
Learn more about McAvoy Layne at http://www.ghostoftwain.com.
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