Wild West Tour brings 1880's back to West Carson

Sitting around a card table on the grass behind the Brewery Arts Center Performance Hall on Saturday were a handful of characters from the 1880s.

Wearing a long black trench coat and wire-rim glasses, Glenn Crowder of Mound House was playing Henry Van Sickle, who shot Sam Bass, of Genoa, in the back with a shotgun.

Seated in front of him with an antique Smith and Wesson .38-caliber "suicide" revolver was Judy Fladland of Stagecoach playing Katie Twist -- the proprietor of a "house of ill repute at 15 D Street" in Virginia City.

"I'm playin' Gordon Ellis, a real, honest-to-God Nevada gunfighter," grinned Chris Page of Bordertown. "He had a habit of shooting people in the legs."

The motley crew -- all members of the Nevada Gunfighters reenactment group -- made up just one stop on the annual Wild West Tour of the Kit Carson Trail.

Sponsored by the Carson City Redevelopment Authority and Carson City Convention and Visitor's Bureau, the event was a success, according to special events coordinator Kevin Ray.

"It's a great way to showcase our city," he said. "It brings people to town to experience what Carson has to offer whether it's history, shops or restaurants."

He said all the morning tours sold with about 40 people in each group. Tours departed from Telegraph Square -- where the Farmer's Market was going on -- every half hour. The groups were led by volunteers with an interest in Carson City history.

"With these tours visitors learn a lot more than they could from a tour book," Ray said.

For the first time the tour had a theme: "Women of the Wild West."

Telling the story of Hannah Clapp was Kahele Dunn, an actor from Reno's BrYka Theater.

She explained how Clapp used only her first initial so people wouldn't know she was a woman.

"She purchased mines in the area and used the money to start both the first and second schools in town," Dunn said. "She was also responsible for the library at UNR and was the first person appointed as a professor in Nevada."

Dunn said she did most of the background research herself.

The tour went from Telegraph Square up Curry Street to the Rinckel Mansion, the former Ormsby County Courthouse and 1860 Sweeney Building, then circled through West Carson to the Ferris and Ormsby-Rosser houses, 1860's Crowell house and up to the 1871 Curry house. Other stops included the Brewery Arts Center and Meder house.

In front of the First United Methodist Church on Division and Musser streets actors from the BAC Stage Kids group were selling cookies and lemonade as a fund-raiser.

Dressed in period clothing, they played an old-fashioned hoop game and hawked their treats.

"This is fun because we get to drink the lemonade too," said Danita Bayer, 10 who is home schooled in West Carson.

Raising money for the theater group is a good cause, said AnnMarie Gonzales, 10, who plays the back of the horse in the current BAC Stage Kids production "Why Does the Coyote Yodel?"

"It's important for kids to learn acting because when they grow up it gives them experience," she said.

Jayme Foremaster, 11, who plays the Coyote, said the oatmeal cookies her mother, Deedee, baked for the sale are tasty.

"I don't even like oatmeal and I still like 'em," she smiled from under her blue bonnet.




Why Does the Coyote Yodel?

Carson City Rendezvous June 14 and 15


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