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  • The Nevada
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    Ely Nevada

  • Ely Correspondence – May 2017
  • Ely Correspondence – May 2017

    Ely’s Open Road Race

    Twice a year Ely hosts an open road race where anyone who enters can run 90 miles of highway flat out or as fast as they want. How is this possible? The third weekend of May and September, Highway 318 from Lund to Hiko, is closed to traffic. The race starts just south of Lund and runs 90 miles to Hiko. Contestants are the only traffic on the road, and timed races are run.  This is the home of the fastest speed on a public highway race, with the record time now standing at an average of 217 miles per hour.

    Begun 30 years ago, this race now attracts over 200 racers and their cars. Lamborghinis, Ferrari Testarossas, Shelby Mustangs, and lots of other hot cars arrive in Ely to run Shoot Out Quarter Mile races, participate in the Parade of Cars, and shine on display in Broadbent Park in downtown Ely. Racers are on hand to talk with people who come to admire the cars, which come from as far away as Japan, Norway and Italy.

    The websites  www.sscc.us or www.silverstateclassicchallenge.com have all the history, statistics, records, and details for those wanting more information.

    The cars begin coming into town on Thursday before the Sunday race. Inspections are held to assure the safety of the cars and then the events begin. Friday afternoon Shoot Out Quarter mile runs are held. The Parade of Cars takes place at 5:30 pm Friday starting at White Pine High School on Bobcat Drive, continuing down Great Basin Boulevard, and then turning onto East Aultman Street to end up in downtown Ely. People can park anywhere along the route and watch as the Nevada Highway patrol leads the 200-plus cars through town.

    Saturday morning kicks off with a Pancake Breakfast by the Lions Club, while the cars are gathered into Broadbent Park to be on display to the public for the morning. Driver’s meetings are held, and volunteer course workers get their instructions. The only way to actually watch the race is to be a course worker along the 90-mile route. Duties include making sure no traffic of any kind enters the road while the race is taking place. This includes not only vehicles, but also stray animals that may come by. Volunteers receive a tee shirt, hat, water, and radio to be in communication with the race officials.

    Other events take place around town, including a Sidewalk Art Show at the Ely Art Bank, and the Renaissance Village opens for the season at 10 am. Train rides are available at the Nevada Northern Railway, nnry.com.

    The race takes place early Sunday morning with the road, Highway 318, being closed until after the race ends in the afternoon.

    These races have been featured in “Motor Trend” and “Autoweek,” as well as in televised coverage. The event has been accepted into the Guinness World Book of Records for the Highest Speed on a Public Highway and the Fastest Road Rally.

    If you are interested in fast cars, this is the event for you. Mark your calendar for May 18 – 21 for the Silver State Classic Challenge and September 14 – 17 to enjoy the Nevada Open Road Challenge. The September race will celebrate its 30th anniversary. Watch for more information.

    — Lorraine Clark

    The post Ely Correspondence – May 2017 appeared first on NevadaGram from the Nevada Travel Network - Telling Nevada's story 365, 24/7.

    More from Ely

    More from Around Nevada

    ELY IS THE GREAT CITY of Nevada's far east, closer to Salt Lake City than to Reno or Las Vegas. It is located where the southern end of the magnificent Steptoe Valley meets foothills of the Egan Range, at the conjunction of Highways 6, 50 and 93. Ely offers many excellent lodging, dining and recreation options in marvelous natural surroundings.

    Northern Nevada Railroad ElyIts greatest attraction to visitors is the Ghost Train, the restored Nevada Northern Railway that takes passengers from the old depot in East Ely (take 11th Street north from Highway 93/Avenue F/Aultman Street) on excursions west to Ruth and northeast to McGill from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Additional trains are scheduled during the winter months, the Polar Express has Santa aboard, and the Photo Shoot specials in February attract photographers from around the world.

    Railroad buffs now converge on Ely from all over the world. They light up with pleasure as the antique locomotives squeal and hiss up to the passenger depot. They exult at the conductor's "All Aboard!" They thrill at the thought of an Ely-McGill-Cherry Creek excursion train, and they faint away with joy at the prospect of going all the way to Cobre.

    No wonder: Magic happens as the antique steamers chuff solemnly away from the station. Wheels clickety-clacking, cars swaying, the world gliding slowly by, kids waving from their bikes, cows looking up in dim curiosity, sky spread big and bright overhead — it's a unique and delightful experience for its own sake, and even more for being the real thing — this is not a reconstruction or a restoration.

    Travel Nevada, Nevada Magazine
    The White Pine Public Museum at 2000 Aultman Street is the showplace for a mineral collection of considerable variety, and for unique items like the home-made cannon which once guarded the Court House in Hamilton. The museum is open seven days during June, July and August, and Monday through Friday the rest of the year. Admission is free.

    Ely was established in the 1870s as a stagecoach station and post office. Only after it was designated the White Pine County seat in 1887 with the collapse of Hamilton did the population climb to 200. After the turn of the century, immense copper deposits near Ely began to attract attention away from the failing gold mines, and by 1906 a boom had developed. The Nevada Northern Railway was completed in the fall of that year and in 1908, when the smelter at McGill went on the line, mineral production leapt from barely more than $2000 the year before to more than $2 million. The Kennecott Copper Company began acquiring Ely copper mining companies in 1915 and by 1958, swhen it suspended operations, these acquisitions resulted in control of the region's copper mines and dominated the local economy. A Polish company is mining the copper here now.

    The departure of Kennecott was a watershed event in White Pine County history, and for nearly 20 years nothing quite took up the economic slack. The economic downturn precluded widespread renovation, and the early 20th century small-town architecture that dominates its center give Ely a familiar look. Norman Rockwell would have liked it, and you will like it too.

    Ely RenaissanceMany of Ely's downtown buildings are distinguished by murals, most of them sponsored by the Ely Renaissance Society, a group formed after the closure of the big copper mine eliminated more than 400 local jobs. The murals were intended to help spruce up the 11-block central core of the city, and to create a new attraction that would help bring visitors. Depicting a variety of local subjects in a variety of styles, the murals and other outside art provide a pleasant and interesting stroll.

    Ely Outback
    Another great attraction is the magnificent surroundings. Great Basin National Park provides an obvious and rewarding destination, but there is no limit to the outdoor recreation here. Hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, exploring, cross-country skiing and anything else you enjoy doing outdoors is available in the countryside around Ely Chamber of Commerce information is available on Aultman Street.

    from The Complete Nevada Traveler, by David W. Toll

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