Sixty Years of Camel & Ostrich Racing in Virginia City, NV

VIRGINIA CITY, Nev. (May 30, 2019)—Historic Virginia City, Nevada, is known for two things: silver and quirky special events. The International Camel & Ostrich Races first took place here 60 years ago this September and, today, the tradition has ingrained itself as a piece of the town’s identity. September 6-8, 2019, celebrate the event that brings camels, ostriches, zebras and a whole host of other critters to this historic mountain mining town along with the daring jockeys and crowds to cheer them on.
The first camel race in 1959 was the result of a sort of rivalry between the Territorial Enterprise, Virginia City’s newspaper (known for being Mark Twain’s first writing gig) and the San Francisco Chronicle. The editor of the Territorial Enterprise printed a ficticious story about camel races in Virginia City as a hoax, and the editor of the Chronicle reprinted it. The following year, not happy about being made a fool, the Chronicle sent a team to race in Virginia City with a camel borrowed from the San Francisco Zoo – thus beginning a tradition.
“Even though this event has lived for 60 years, we see it as more than just a tradition,” Deny Dotson, director of tourism for the Virginia City Tourism Commission, said. “While we continue to improve the event year over year with more shows, more features and more fun for the whole family to enjoy, we don’t want to lose sight of the history of the event and our town.”
The International Camel & Ostrich Races take place at the Virginia City Arena and Fairgrounds, located on F Street. For the first time, in 2019, Hot Camel Nights offers a Friday evening race, giving the opportunity to beat the September heat and enjoy Virginia City’s nightlife afterward.
Ticket are available now online at Pricing is as follows:
Friday, Sept. 6, 2019
General Admission – $12
Premium Shaded Seating with wait service – $15
Kids (3-12)/Seniors General Admission – $8
VIP Seating – $55 (includes tent and dinner)
Saturday, Sept. 7, (both shows) and Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019
General Admission – $15
Kids (3-12)/Seniors General Admission – $12
Premium Shaded Seating – $25
VIP Seating – $55 (includes tent and lunch/dinner)
For more information on Virginia City, Nevada, visit or call the Virginia City Tourism Commission (VCTC) at 775-847-7500.
A short 45-minute drive from the Reno-Tahoe International Airport takes visitors to one of the largest historic districts in the United States – Virginia City, Nevada. Come experience this mining “boomtown” as it was in the 1800’s. Step back in time while visiting the numerous historic buildings, saloons, churches and museums or take a mine tour or even ride a real steam train. The Comstock Adventure Passes offer the best value with discounted attraction packages. For lodging, event calendar or Comstock Adventure Passes, visit online or call 775-847-7500. The Visitor Information Center is located at 86 South C Street, Virginia City.
MEDIA: Journalists are invited to attend the annual races. There are limited spaces for media to race a camel during the event. Request an application by emailing


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