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2005 Reno Rodeo Cattle Drive Day 2

Special Event Coverage

By Ira Gostin & Jennifer Durnan

Reno Rodeo Cattle Drive 2005

Riders on the ridge.

Copyright Louis Basso. Used with permission.

Day 2 - They Head Out

By Ira Gostin
Monday

Slowly the cattle left the pens and hit the sea of sagebrush that fanned out in front of them Monday morning. The guests and their team-leader drovers spread out into their positions around the herd, enveloping the herd with cowboys. The 15th annual Reno Rodeo Cattle Drive was up and running!

Gary McKay, one of the cowboys, who worked as a buckaroo in these parts for many years was astonished by the wildflowers and the green of the sagebrush. "Take a good look at it," he said. "You aren't likely to ever see these colors here again."

CHUCKWAGON DELIGHTS
By Jennifer Durnan

Cooking for 100 people in the finest restaurant is a tough job, but imagine preparing meals for 100 people in the middle of nowhere. Reno Rodeo Cattle Drive participants are some of the lucky people who have the opportunity to dine on gourmet food after a long day of riding the range chasing 300 head of cattle.

The Chuck boss is Danny "Pockets" Iudicella with help from seasoned restaurant owner Gary Hill. Together the team delivers gourmet meals that manage to please a variety of tastes. The pair have been working on the menu since October, going over every detail and working out the logistics of preparing three meals a day. While on the trail the team uses a "Chuck Wagon" that is really a converted trailer. Inside the team keeps all of their cooking supplies, but a majority of their cooking is done over the fire.

Each day guests are surprised by the unique food that is presented. The menu contains such cowboy staples as prime rib to western fare like Venison stew. The Chuck Crew has also taken to presenting Dutch oven delicacies like homemade rolls and chocolate cake.

With guests from all over the country, the chuck crew has quite the challenge. "We tailor the menu to fit many different tastes," said Hill. "Every region of the U.S. has different tastes in cooking so we try to fit the menu so everyone will enjoy it."

In addition to providing healthy, delicious meals, Iudicella and Hill take into consideration that the guests will be spending eight hours in the saddle. Because of this they cook lightly and provide hearty, but healthy meals. "We like to give the guests a taste of home while they are out here," said Iudicella. The guest cowboys spend a big part of their day as apprentice cowboys, learning the cowboy way of life. There is no doubt that without the hard work of the Chuck Crew, the Reno Rodeo Cattle Drive would not be nearly as fun.

Read on to discover what happened on Day 3
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