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
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.