Trappers and Basque sheepherders arrived in today’s Winnemucca, Nevada, in the 1830s, but a Wild Bunch robbery put it on the Old West map. On September 19, 1900, the Sundance Kid and two other members of the Wild Bunch robbed the First National Bank, galloping away with about $32,000 in gold coin (see p.92). Basque customs (below) are still celebrated annually in Humboldt County, and Winnemucca is the place to eat for Basque-style cuisine: it has more Basque restaurants per capita than any other place in the world!
Best Route to Winnemucca: Located halfway between Salt Lake City and San Francisco, the city sits at the crossroads of Interstate 80 and U.S. 95.
What historic site do most of the schoolchildren visit?: Humboldt Historical Museum (175 Museum Ln.), which covers local history from the Wild Bunch to Paiute activist Sarah Winnemucca.
What’s the latest gossip?: The wildfires sweeping through this country! During the first week of July, 300 residents of and near Winnemucca had to be evacuated.
Who knows Winnemucca’s history best?: Pansilee Larson, the curator of the Humboldt museum. She can weave the city’s colorful tales in such a way that they seem relevant and important to how we are today as a community.
Favorite Local Cuisine: Basque dishes, of course! Eat at the Martin Hotel (94 W. Railroad St.) for the most delectable meals.
Old West Attractions: Camp McGarry (near Denio), est. 1865; Camp Winfield Scott (near Paradise Valley), est. 1866.
Best Cowboy Bar: Paradise Saloon (95 S. Main St.), which is well worth the 40-minute drive northwest of Winnemucca.
Best Western Bookstore: Tips Western (185 Melarkey St.), but don’t just go for the books; owner Ken Tipton is renowned for his custom saddles.
Event to Attend This Month: Western Art Roundup (Labor Day weekend) celebrates its 25th year and features art ranging from horsehair to boots to bit and spurs.
Best Spot to View Wildlife: Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge, located north near Denio, is home to wild horses (above), burros and bighorn sheep.
What radio personality do the locals listen to?: Evan Slick and his AM 1400 agricultural report are not to be missed!
Best Place to Buy Land: Nearby Grass Valley offers plenty of available acreage.
Average House Cost: $188,000.
Average Temperature: Winter highs and lows range from the 40s to high teens, while summer temps range from 90s to 50s.
Preservation Projects: Most recent project was restoring one of Nevada’s oldest bridges, Humboldt River Bridge, to its former glory. Also check out the state’s oldest operating school, the Winnemucca Grammar School (522 Lay St.).