The tradition of Camel racing is revived in Virginia City.
One of the most bizarre imports into the United States during the nineteenth century was a consignment of camels for the U.S. Army. The reasoning was that the camel would function well in the Nevada desert as a pack animal. But the camels had other ideas, proved un-cooperative and were eventually turned loose by the exasperated soldiers.
Silver miners, at a loss for entertainment in the desert, rounded up some of the camels and raced them. That was the beginning of a tradition that has now been revived in Virginia City. Each year the camels are raced through the town - with varying degrees of success as this coverage shows. The film is accompanied by an National Broadcasting Company commentary, transcribed overleaf.
SYNOPSIS: Back in the 1880s, Virginia City in the Nevada desert was the scene of one of the most unusual races in the United States. Legend has it that miners would race their camels down the main street. Now the tradition has been revived.
The camel has a face that only another camel could love, but back in the nineteenth century the Army brought some camels to the Nevada desert to try them out as pack animals. They were as big a bust as the silver lode was a boon. Many of them were set free and the miners used to trap them and then race them. According to an old-timer, camels are mean, stupid and obnoxious. Today they lived up to that reputation.
The old-timer says that when a camel wants to run, there's not much that can stop him - even a pretty girl.
The final race was won by a man who said his name was Doc Holiday. He said he'd been in all the races at Virginia City. Although he had the best time through the course, Doc Holiday was unable to stop the beast and was last seen hanging on for dear life as the camel went off into the desert.