There’s always something for everyone at Pioche’s annual Labor Day celebration, and 2019’s festivities were no exception. Each year, intensive preparations begin long before the actual event. In 2020, the Reifsnyder family will take over the reins of coordinating the weekend-long event.
This year’s theme was “150 years and Still Kickin’ (Donkey),” which goes well with Pioche’s history as a Wild West town. The grand marshals were longtime Pioche natives Dick and Peggy Decker. Peggy and Dick have worked with multiple groups to help beautify and improve Pioche, and they were both proud to represent their home in this year’s festivities, along with helping to run the golf tournament.
The festivities got underway the night of Friday, Aug. 30, beginning with the bingo game at the new fire station, and the first few games of the softball tournament. The tournament, which is a staple of the Labor Day celebration, had nine registered teams, and these initial games were held to determine the positions of the teams in the upper and lower brackets.
Alongside this was the golf tournament, which started early in the morning on Saturday, and was held at the golf course just below the town. In the end, Paul Montano, Richie Montano, Doug Beavers and Ross Fippinger’s group came out on top in the 14-group tournament.
Among the other events on Saturday, there was a turkey shoot that pulled in 14 adults and four kids. The volleyball tournament was also in full swing, though the large number of teams involved necessitated a change in venue, leading to the games being held in Panaca at the local high school gym. This tournament, which was put on as a fundraiser for a new net for Pioche Elementary, had six teams fighting fiercely for the crown.
Breakfast was provided in the park for a $10 fee. The fare consisted of eggs, pancakes and sausage, but if that wasn’t your speed, the road alongside the park and the courthouse was lined with food trucks and stands serving a wide variety of food. There were also many other stands including face painting and ones selling raffle tickets.
Another widely enjoyed event was the car show at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints building. Cars from all walks of life and all periods of time were represented, from a high-end Lotus to a rat rod that would have made any grease monkey proud. Further up the hill, a chalk-art competition was held outside of what used to be the old elementary school.
On Saturday evening, there was an old west saloon show at Thompson’s Opera House, including a cowboy shootout that was so good the crowd asked for an encore. This was followed by a showing of “The Mormon’s Grindstone,” a classic western film set in Pioche during the silver rush. Saturday wrapped up with the night parade and the street dance.
While members of the sheriff’s department reported the night was peaceful, there were reports of at least one car accident, and witnesses reported seeing a few underage drinking arrests happen right next to the street dance.
The following day saw the continuation of the softball tournament. Team Sapphire II won the upper bracket with Poline as the runnerup, and Ramrod took the lower division with TKG taking second.
The Red Rock Ramblers closed out the night at the Opera House, and live music at the park was provided by Three Blind Mice, along with the traditional fireworks display presented by the fire department.
Monday saw a small continuation of the events, with a 10K fun run that was well attended and acted as an opportunity for the Lincoln County High School (LCHS) cross-country team to get some practice.
Finally, there was the annual parade. Float themes ranged from the ’60s and ’70s to Area 51. Even Smokey the Bear made an appearance. It was noted by a few locals that the parade seemed smaller than usual, but whatever the case, all were impressed with the time and effort put into the floats. Peggy and Dick Decker led the precession as the grand marshals, and the LCHS cheerleaders and band program followed close behind. When the fire engines roared down Main Street, the Labor Day celebration was formally brought to a close