The Nevada Traveler: How well do you know your Nevada sports trivia?
Over the years, Nevada has been home of a number of amazing athletes and hosted a plethora of noteworthy sporting events. This installment highlights trivia about some of the most interesting sports figures, records, teams and events in the state’s history.
- Every year the University of Nevada, Reno and UNLV football teams play in the Battle for Nevada game. What trophy is at stake?
- What was the name of Reno’s minor league baseball team before the current Reno Aces came to town?
- What was the name of Las Vegas’ first professional team in any sport?
- What professional sport involving a ball and a handheld wicker basket enjoyed a brief run in both Las Vegas and Reno in the 1970s?
- What former Las Vegas high-schooler holds the national high school record for women’s high jump?
- What Pro Football Hall of Fame member, who played for the Cleveland Browns from 1946-1953 and the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1955, starred on the UNR football team from 1941-43?
- What Nevada high school team holds the national record for longest win streak in eight-man football?
- What Nevada high school team holds the national record for longest win streak for men’s basketball?
- What was the first professional boxing match held in Nevada?
- What famous professional boxing match took place in Goldfield, Nevada, on September 3, 1906?
- The trophy at stake during the annual football game between the University of Nevada, Reno and UNLV is the Fremont Cannon. It is a replica of the howitzer cannon that explorer John C. Fremont dragged across the state before ditching in a snowdrift in the Sierra Nevada range during his expedition of 1843. The rivalry began in 1969 and UNR has won the majority of the meetings, 27-18.
- Reno’s first minor league professional baseball team was called the Reno Silver Socks. The team began playing in 1947 and continued until 1965. The Socks were restarted in 1966 and played under that name until 1981, when they became the Reno Padres (as an affiliate of the San Diego Padres). The Silver Sox name returned in 1988 and was used until the team was moved to Riverside, California in 1992.
- Las Vegas’ first professional sports team was the Las Vegas Wranglers, a minor league baseball team that started in 1947. The team played until 1952, when it folded due to poor attendance. The Wranglers were revived in 1957 but played only one year. A third team using the Wrangler name started up the following year but it disbanded at the end of the season.
- The sport was Jai Alai. Players wear a long wicker basket (about 28 inches) with which they catch the ball and throw it at speeds that can reach more than 180 mph. Unlike most American sports, Jai Alai is a betting game. When the original MGM Grand in Las Vegas (now Bally’s) opened in 1973, it included a jai alai court, but it remained open only seven years. From 1978-80, the MGM Grand in Reno (now the GSR) had a court as well.
- Vashti Cunningham, daughter of former NFL QB Randall Cunningham, holds the women’s state high jump record, which is 6-feet, 4.5 inches, set in 2015. She was a student at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas at the time.
- The player was the great Marion Motley.
- The team is the Pahranagat Valley Panthers, which had a 104-game win streak between 2008 and 2016.
- The Virginia City Muckers, who won 93 games between 1982-1986.
- The first legal professional boxing match occurred on March 17, 1897 in Carson City. The heavyweight championship bout pitted Bob Fitzsimmons and “Gentleman” James Corbett, the reigning champ. Fitzsimmons won in a 14-round thriller.
- This famously long bout was a lightweight championship bout between Joe Gans and Oscar “Battling” Nelson. The fight went an astounding 42 rounds, with Gans declared the winner after a low blow disqualified Nelson.
Rich Moreno writes about the places and people that make Nevada special.