At dawn, Memorial Day, Monday, May 26, 2014, Elko attorneys Travis and Grant Gerber saddled up and rode out of Elko on the Grass March in solidarity with Nevada ranchers. The Gerbers arrived in Carlin at approximately 9 a.m. and at 12:50 the Gerbers met up with parade participants and supporters on east Chestnut Street where the Gerbers hitched up a white mule team as Independent Party Candidate for Congress, Janine Hansen, shared ‘Bye Bye BLM’ bumper stickers.
With a police escort leading, Gerber and teamster Andy Boyer on the mule-team drawn wagon led out the parade accompanied by Carlin Mayor Cliff Eklund’s patriotic red tractor driven by his grand-son, and Filippini family members both on horseback and in an ATV decorated with signs reading ‘Less Gov’t More Cows’ and ‘Feed cows not fires.’ The Grass March headed east down Chestnut Street to Fourth Street, tossing candy to children who watched the procession. The parade turned east on Bush Street and then continued up 10th Street and over I-80 and back to the Carlin Equestrian Center where Eklund welcomed the crowd and Ellen Meshefski sang a beautiful rendition of The National Anthem to open the rodeo.
Eklund said the City of Carlin was not taking a political stand but was hosting the event to show solidarity with the ranching families of the region such as the Filippinis who have been ranching in Nevada since the 1870s.
The Grass March was organized in support of the Tomera and Filippini ranching families who were told by the Battle Mountain BLM District they couldn’t graze cattle on their Argenta grazing allotment because of the continued drought.
Elko County Commissioner, Gerber, has set his sights on forcing the removal of Battle Mountain BLM District Manager Doug Furtado for reducing grazing which jeopardizes the financial viability of the affected ranchers. Gerber is carrying a petition seeking Furtado’s ouster which will travel by horseback to Governor Sandoval in Carson City.
As of Friday, the uproar over the closures seems to have had an impact as temporary two-week licenses were issued by the BLM allowing grazing on the Mount Lewis pasture of the Argenta Allotment.
The Gerbers saddled up at 4 in the afternoon at the Carlin Equestrian grounds to begin the ride towards Battle Mountain where the petitions will be handed off to a Cowboy Express that will relay them Pony Express-style to the Governor with rallies expected in Winnemucca, Lovelock, Fallon and Carson City. Express organizer, Jess Jones of Lamoille, still seeks relay riders and donors and can be reached at 775-340-1836 and the Gerbers can be reached via the Gerber Law Office at 775-738-9258, or on Gerber’s cell phone at 775-934-7507.