Home to miners, ranchers and Basque sheep herders, Winnemucca is a gas stop / overnight stop, one of those places most only pass through. I made just such an overnight stop in 2014 and wanted to know more so in the spring of 2015 over the Easter weekend, we spent a week getting to know Winnemucca and the people there.

Ideas come from everywhere and in this case a conversation with the saddle maker Ken Tipton led to the Route 95 year-long project. He told me there were plans to turn RT 95 into a border-to-border interstate highway. (Rt 95 is one of the few Route highways that run from border-to-border) I wanted to know about the small towns and people along that corridor of the country that is somewhat forgotten and in-between the places most go to spend time or vacation. Few major cities and mostly rural, I began the border-to-border trip and photos not long after Trump came down his escalator. After my initial series of images, I planned on returning to see what had changed 4 years later. The pandemic interfered with that plan along with the fire etc. This corridor is a slice of America that has been very much the same for generations, there were areas where it was obvious we weren’t welcome and that there was prejudice in play. Winnemucca was not one of them.

Everyone we met was outgoing and friendly, interested in what we were doing and why and free with information and help. There is a real delineation of life of those passing through and those who live there. Night life and day life both are a bit separate for those who are on the way someplace else and those who “belong”. There is a very rural and old time feel to the interactions there. Folks are polite, helpful, warm and outgoing, however you get the feeling they could handle just about anything the world tossed at them. They come across in a way that they have very firm beliefs and are willing to stand up for them. It is an old fashioned west thing in some ways, it is a conservative area but without the fanatic element. There is also the finest public shooting range I have ever seen just out side of town.

Next time you run Interstate 80 stop for a day or so and explore.

Leave a Reply