The Elko Convention & Visitors Authority (CVA) is busy planning the 25th anniversary of its annual mining event at a time when Elko County is a gold nugget in Nevada’s economic landscape. High gold values are keeping Elko’s employment and housing numbers above the negative figures Nevada’s two most populous counties have experienced.
The city of Elko, situated against the Ruby Mountains in northeastern Nevada, is a few hours from Reno and a world away from Las Vegas. The largest city along I-80 between Salt Lake City and Reno, Elko is next-door to spectacular mountain drives and wide-open range, yet offers many of the amenities required by tradeshow exhibitors – including, for companies in the mining industry, quality attendees.
Elko Mining Expo, scheduled for June 10-11, 2010, started life as a community event to recognize the miners and suppliers that were so important to the community. Since then, it has evolved into an actual trade show. Over the years, Elko Mine Expo has showcased the evolution of mining equipment. Cathie Horn, marketing and events manager, Elko CVA, has noticed a change in the seven years since she’s been on board, particularly with safety, and added technical sessions and product demonstrations. These helped transition the expo from a community get-together to a trade show. Horn also worked to ensure the expo’s exhibitors are only those companies engaged in mining or active in the supply and service sector.
While there’s enough mining activity locally (both underground and above-ground operations) to support the event, attendees and exhibitors come from around the world. Booth prices are kept reasonable and attendance is free and open to the public. “All of the major supporters and sponsors want it to stay that way [11 of them have been with the expo for all 25 years]," says Horn. "When families come through, not only do kids get to see the equipment mom or dad operate, but the exhibitors have the mindset that these kid are future miners.” Equipment builders who exhibit get the opportunity to talk directly with the individuals who drive their machines every day, as well as fleet managers and purchasers.
There’s an educational component to the event, as well, says Horn. “Downstate in Nevada, many people do not know what happens in Elko. They still see a pick ax when they think of mining. We work to educate the public on new developments in safety and reclamation processes.” Elko Mining Expo helps show the large, advanced modern-day mining equipment to the voting public as well as to equipment purchasers.
The show has grown, and helped turn worldwide attention to all of the things Elko has to offer. But Horn is looking forward to the day when Elko gets more hotel rooms. The 2010 Elko Mining Expo has 300 companies on the waiting list, and has plenty of land in which to expand. But hotels are scarce. Some exhibitors and attendees commute from as far away as West Wendover, NV, a two-hour drive east of the show (yet still in Elko County), while other attendees double-up once they secure a room in Elko.
“People are telling me their boss says they have to be in the show,” she says. "I would love to add more than 50 exhibitors, but they won’t have a place to stay." Three hotels are under construction in Elko, and Horn hopes two of them will be open by June 2010.
It's not mining related, but if you've not yet driven up LaMoille Canyon, a half-hour from the famous Star Hotel Basque restaurant in downtown Elko, put it on the list of things to do during the 2010 Elko Mining Expo.