Drop your bags at the Silver Legacy Resort and head out to Reno’s downtown district. Gear up for the Bob Feist Invitational at D Bar M Western Store, which has everything from boots to tack and all in-between. When the wife wants to shop, take her to one of the area’s many shopping centers, such as the Truckee River Arts District or the Outlets at Legends. While at Legends, head to Scheel’s Sporting Goods store to treat yourself to some outdoor gear. With two large aquariums, a Ferris wheel, shooting gallery, sports and hunting simulators, a restaurant, and even more, it isn’t your granddaddy’s sports store. Looking for outdoor adventure without leaving the urban vibe? Head to Kayak Park where you can kayak the Truckee River, right through the center of downtown Reno. The weekend of the BFI is the Reno River Festival, where even man’s best friend can get in on the action with their dock diving competition. If you’d rather ride the range on solid ground, Wild Sierra Adventures offers ATV tours and includes complementary shuttle pickup at your hotel. Later, dig into the past of Reno by heading to the Nevada Historical Society’s Museum, which has several exhibits on Nevada’s mining, ranching, pioneer, gaming, native history, and somewhat shady past.
Over at the rodeo grounds, on Saturday, a 4D barrel race, a cowdog trial and kids activities are all happening at the indoor arena. Plus, the annual Reno Rodeo parade will be marching through downtown. If you’ve got a roping on the brain, slack starts at 2 p.m. and the second performance of the rodeo kicks off at 7 that night.
With the first day winding down, treat yourself to some high class dining and head to the 4th Street Bistro to sample its award-winning wine. If you fancy some good brews to whet your whistle, head to the Biggest Little City Bar or local favorite, Brew Brothers, at the Eldorado. Afterwards, head to Circus Circus to enjoy one of four circus acts: from Chinese acrobats to incredible canine feats. For the athletic acrobatics of broncs and bulls, head to the Livestock Event Center to check out the venue for the BFI and watch some of the other events of the week-long Reno Rodeo. In between all the excitement of a first day in Reno, don’t forget to take some time to flirt with Lady Luck. Reno is home to around 40 casinos. End your day by hiking or biking along one of Washoe Lake State Park’s many trails, or enjoy the scenic vistas at Sun Valley Regional Park. Since many trails are also equestrian use, you can end an exciting weekend with a scene right out of an old Western: by riding into the sunset.
Day Two, Sunday June 17: North of town and Lake Tahoe
Day two is a great day to get out of the metropolitan area and see what else the Reno/Tahoe area has to offer, all within an hour’s drive of the Bob Feist Invitational and the Silver Legacy Resort. The North Shore of Lake Tahoe is only 40 minutes outside of town and is unique in that it sits on the border between California and Nevada. Spend the day on one of the many beaches of Tahoe’s North Shore, or be adventurous and look for one of Tahoe’s lesser-known hidden beaches like Chimney Beach. If you bring man’s best friend along, there are numerous beaches on the East Shore and Coon Street Beach (Dog Beach) in King’s Beach that are dog friendly. After a day by the lake, head into the Char Pit at King’s Beach, Calif., for their famous burgers, or stay on the Nevada side of the border and eat at the local favorite Jack Rabbit Moon or Bite Restaurant, an American Tapas bar, both in Incline Village. If you have a hankering for a more Western atmosphere, head to the Hyatt’s Cutthroat’s Saloon with its dollar bill ceiling and walls and large wooden bar with stylized leather bar stools.
If you just can’t stay away from the rodeo grounds, there’s another 4D barrel race, cowboy church and slack again on Sunday. Plus, the third performance of the rodeo kicks off at 7 p.m.
Alternatively, for a more animal-themed adventure, drive north of town. First stop is Animal Ark, an animal sanctuary that allows you to get up close with critters such as mountain lions, tigers and bears (oh my!). The weekend of the Bob Feist Invitational is the perfect weekend to visit as it is their annual Dash 4 Dads Cheetah Run, where you will have the rare opportunity to watch a cheetah running at speeds any roping horse would envy. No cowboy vacation could be complete without the opportunity to see some true American legends. Sonny Boys Tours offers several wild mustang tours, with one starting just five miles outside of town. If thinking about the BFI has got you itching to ride, head to Rancho Red Rock, which offers trail rides through Pinnacles or the Sand Hills, and offers additional viewing opportunities for mustangs. Fancy something fancy (and practical) to put on your mount before you ride off to the Bob Feist? Sierra Nevada Alpacas sells saddle pads made out of their own alpaca’s wool. Call ahead for a chance to meet some of these wooly friends.
Day Three: Monday, June 18:
Bob Feist Invitational Roping Day!
The BFI kicks off at 8 a.m., but be sure to take the time to treat yourself and your wife to a world class spa experience at the Spa Tuscana at the Peppermill or the Atlantis Spa. After you’re refreshed, and ready to ride, head to the Livestock Events Center just east of downtown. As you make your way through downtown Reno, don’t miss the current Reno arch, the fourth incarnation of the 1926 sign built to promote coast-to-coast travel. For a break from the roping, grab a quick lunch at Silver Legacy’s Fairchild’s Oyster Bar. While at the Livestock Event Center, check out the Double R Marketplace shopping expo for 150 vendors selling everything a cowboy (or gal!) could possibly hope to own. Of course, slack is going again over at the outdoor arena if you need a chance to see something other than team roping, and the 4th perf begins at 7 p.m. When the roping’s over and you feel the need to bust out your country dance moves, head to Mustangs over at the Grand Sierra Resort, which features live country bands. Later, head back to the Silver Legacy to see an authentic mining rig in action with hourly laser light shows. After the show, stay in the hotel for some cowboy sustenance at Sterling’s Seafood Steakhouse. Hang out around the Silver Legacy Resort long enough, and you may get the chance to swap roping stories and advice with pro ropers ,before turning in. What a perfect end to an exciting cowboy getaway.