Virginia City hosting International Camel & Ostrich Races |

Virginia City hosting International Camel & Ostrich Races

Charlie Too Tall entertains the crowd with his miniature jumping horse 'Molly' Friday at the 57th Annual Virginia City Camel and Ostrich Races Friday. The event continues this weekend.
Brad Coman/Nevada Appeal |


WHAT: International Camel & Ostrich Races

WHERE: Virginia City Fairgrounds & Arena

WHEN: The races are Saturday, Sunday with gates opening at 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Racing is from 12 p.m.-2:30 p.m.

COST: General admission is $15, while admission for children (3-12) is $8. Camel rides cost $10.

For the 57th year in a row, locals and out-of-state visitors gather at the fairgrounds in Virginia City to sit on the edge of their seats with anticipation to watch camels and ostriches reach the finish line.

Friday launched the annual International Camel & Ostrich races, with local media competitions. Overall, there are 30 jockey teams taking each other on at the arena until Sunday.

This year, however, was a little different than most. Usually, vendors for the event are located nearby St. Mary’s Church. Now, they’re located in the same lot as the event.

New comedic entertainment also made a debut during the intermissions. As part of the Hedrick’s Promotions organization, a colorful clown brought laughter to the audience with his miniature horse, “Ol’ Molly.”

With only one month off each year, president and host Joe Hedrick travels across the country with his team, camels, ostriches and zebras for races and petting zoo events. Recently, he hosted the petting zoos and races in Kansas and Nebraska. The group goes as far as Hawaii.

However, as a traveler, there’s something special about Virginia City, he said.

“Virginia City has all of the history,” he said. “The camels trace way back, especially in this area. There’s also an International Order of Camel Jockeys located in the area and we like supporting them.”

Director of Tourism Deny Dotson said the event is a cherished one, especially to residents of Northern Nevada.

“Virginia City’s theme and history really brings out these races,” he said. “It also opens doors for more upcoming events, like The Way It Was Rodeo, which begins next weekend.”