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Posted on: February 12, 2024

Dedication For New Branding Exhibit at Rafter 3C Arena

Tyson Torvik brands the wall for the branding iron exhibit.

Churchill County will host a dedication event for the new state branding exhibit now on display at the Rafter 3C Arena on Friday, Feb. 16 at 2:30 p.m. Dignitaries invited to attend include J.J. Goicochea, Nevada State Director of Agriculture and Bill Payne, Dean of the University of Nevada, Reno College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources. The public is welcome to attend this event. 

The branding exhibit and its sister exhibit in the Buckland Room both highlight different aspects of ranching heritage. As you walk in, look left to see the state branding iron exhibit. In the Buckland Room, the Churchill County Museum has curated items from horsehair ropes to stirrups in the wooden cases lining the far wall.

The state branding iron exhibit comes to Churchill County on loan from the University of Nevada, Reno’s College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources farm and features a collection of more than 145 irons, some of which had famous owners including former governors and Hollywood crooner Bing Crosby. The exhibit features a selection of the total brand collection hung vertically on the wall with the brand itself burned into the barnwood wall covering and labeled with its first registered date and owner. 

Beneath the wall display of branding irons are several historic saddles from the museum’s collection and on loan from individuals including the 2013 Ellensburg Rodeo Championship saddle won by Fallon’s own Jade Corkill. 

Display cases inside the Buckland Room are now filled with western artifacts including mid-century brand books, two varieties of chaps, an intricate Garcia bridle and several items from the former Ranchharrah estate in Reno. 

Museum Curator Rae Sottile headed up the pieces selected and the display itself in the Buckland Room. He describes the challenges that came from working with artifacts from outside the museum collection. “While most of the collection came labeled, several pieces did not so I went to the museum’s reference library and that, along with reaching out to area experts, gave me to opportunity to identify some of the more unusual pieces.”

The final display in the Buckland Room has minimal interpretation which allows the visitor to take a step back and admire the diversity in approaches to ranching and riding in Nevada from the mid-nineteen century to today. 

Photo: Tyson Torvik brands the wall for the display at the Rafter 3C Arena.

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