by Joey Crandall
After more than 10 years of running the Western States Wild Horse and Burro Expo Bart Lawrence knew there just had to be a better fit for his event.
For most of its 20 years of existence, the event has been centered at the Reno Livestock Event Center. But this past year, Lawrence began looking for something new.
“We wanted to really start to grow the event, and as crazy as it sounds, it made a lot of sense to move it to a smaller hub,” Lawrence said. “The Douglas County Fairgrounds are a great facility, especially for our purposes, and we thought this really could become a great summer event for Carson Valley.
“Reno has so many things going on, it’s hard to get anyone to focus on something. We’re looking at this in terms of what the event can be to the greater community and to the local economy. It just seemed like a perfect fit for us.”
The Expo is set for Aug. 2-4 at the Douglas County Fairgrounds with events running all day, each day.
But, what is a Wild Horse and Burro Expo, exactly?
To put it as simply as possible, it’s a mix of just about anything in the horse world, with the condition that all of the horses involved had to have come from the wild.
“It’s completely different from just about any horse event you’ll see,” Lawrence said. “And it’s not any one thing. It’s three days of competition for owners of wild horses. They come in and compete in English events , Western disciplines, speed events. It’s a little bit of everything.”
Interspersed among the competitions is a series of clinics conducted by horsemanship expert Ray Lochert. A weekend-long vendors expo is conducted in the fairgrounds pavilion and a barbecue will be held Saturday night.
Cost of admission is limited to a $5 per car parking charge.
The purpose of the expo, Lawrence said, is to promote the successful adoption of wild horses (mustangs) and burros who have been gathered from public lands; to educate the public about wild horses and burros through entertainment; to provide educational opportunities with top trainers; and to raise public appreciation for wild horses and burros – both in the wild and in captivity and/or domestication.
“The proceeds go back into making this event happen and assisting with various wild horse programs around the area,” he said. “our whole mission statement is to promote the training and adoption of wild horse and burros.
“The wild horse group, our people are more of a backyard horseman type of group. We normally get about 50-60 registrants before the event and another 10 or 15 at the event. It tends to be very low key and very entertaining.”
Anyone interested in entering the event, or in volunteering to help put it on can visit the event’s Web page at http://www.wildhorseandburroexpo.com/ or its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Western-States-Wild-Horse-and-Burro-Expo/196193370391208.
A full schedule of events is available on the Web site.