Head to Ne­vada, where tra­di­tional cow­boy cul­ture is alive and kick­ing

The artistry of the Amer­i­can West has been cel­e­brated around the world, and though plenty of sou­venir-shop cow­boy hats are mass-pro­duced, the crafts­man­ship of the re­gion is alive if you know where to look

Lonely Planet (UK) - - In This Issue... - WORDS RE­BECCA WAR­REN @Re­bec­ca­GWar­ren PHO­TO­GRAPHS AUBRIE PICK @aubriepick

ELKO IS A HARD­SCRAB­BLE HIGH-DESERT town in north­east­ern Ne­vada; it was born out of its prox­im­ity to the build­ing of the First Transcon­ti­nen­tal Rail­road in the sec­ond half of the 19th cen­tury and sus­tained by its land’s min­eral wealth. Gold has been pulled up from be­neath this town in boom and bust cy­cles for more than a cen­tury now. Elko is the cap­i­tal of Ne­vada’s gold­belt, and the state is the fifth­largest pro­ducer of gold in the world. The main drag of this city is dot­ted with casi­nos and mo­tels, punc­tu­ated by neon signs and the bright, ever-present lights of gas stations. The gar­ish colours of Elko lie in stark con­trast to the muted tones cov­er­ing the moun­tains and val­leys that spread out on ei­ther side of In­ter­state 80 as it passes by the city. The ge­o­met­ri­cal spine of the Ruby Moun­tains runs along its south­east­ern side, pro­vid­ing a fierce de­mar­ca­tion of land and sky across the vast, empty plains. The miles of open, wild land­scape and lack of ur­ban sprawl of­fer their own re­wards, in­spir­ing cre­ativ­ity that can be seen in the in­ge­nu­ity of the peo­ple and the ar­ti­san­ship on dis­play. The tra­di­tional crafts­man­ship of the West re­mains strong in this re­gion, with trades and crafts be­ing passed down over gen­er­a­tions. Here we meet some of the mod­ern West’s ar­ti­sans at work.

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