Ultimately, the choice for Nevada's official quarter design came down to heads or tails - and Silver Staters chose both.
State Treasurer Brian Krolicki announced the winner of the balloting for the official state quarter design early Thursday: "Morning in Nevada."
The design, which garnered a total of 18,900 of the 60,000 votes cast (32 percent), features three wild horses galloping in sagebrush in front of a mountain sunrise along with Nevada's nickname, "The Silver State."
The design was one of three in serious contention during the monthlong contest, beating out portraits of a Comstock-era miner and a bighorn sheep by 4,400 votes each.
Krolicki said that while the miner and the sheep actually held the lead for a good deal of the contest, the wild horses turned out to be closers, finishing strongly and sprinting hard toward the finish line toward the end of voting.
The quarter will be Nevada's addition to the U.S. Mint's popular 50 State Quarters Program and will be introduced into circulation in January.
Krolicki said nearly 60,000 votes were cast in the contest, noting a high voter turnout among schoolchildren.
"Most people voted online," he said, while estimating one-quarter of the votes came from young people, many of whose teachers had embraced the quarter contest and made it a class project.
"Clearly, it was the kids who pushed (the winning design) through," said Krolicki. "The very people who don't normally get to vote in elections."
Children like his own 6-year-old daughter, Kate, who unveiled the winning design.
"She's been a strong lobbyist for the horses since the contest began," he said.
The two other designs, "Battle Born Nevada" and "Nevada's Early Heritage," received 9,600 and 2,400 votes, respectively.
Webmaster Tony Marcin was tasked with checking Internet IP addresses to ensure there were no voter irregularities. He said he didn't have to discount a single vote.
"Whenever we got a lot of votes from the same IP address, we checked them out and traced the addresses back to schools," he said.
Krolicki thanked the advisory committee and county treasurers for their work in promoting the event and "to all those who participated in choosing this powerful image of Nevada that will soon be depicted on this nation's coinage."
Krolicki also said he was pleased with the number of votes cast.
Nevada's quarter will be the third with an equine theme, joining Delaware and Kentucky.
The quarter comes at the same time as the issue of wild-horse advocacy and preservation lies heavily on the news. Half of the nation's wild horses are in Nevada.
Asked if he thought Nevada's would be the luckiest of all the state quarters, Krolicki didn't hesitate.
"Absolutely," he said.
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