Trip Ideas

Rodeos & Pond Skims – Things To Do In May In Nevada County

Dust off those cowboy boots, pack your swimming suit, and grab those skis because May in Nevada County is a wild ride when it comes to events happening across the county.

Tips & Resources

Mutton Bustin’, calf ropin’, and even bull riding the annual Penn Valley Rodeo is a must see in person.

See museum quality pieces from the Old West Era at the Grass Valley Old West Show.

By Alex Silgalis

May is a shoulder month between seasons. A time of year you can pretty much do anything. The mountain biking season is rolling along in the lower elevations while the mountains of the Sierra provide skiers and snowboarders one last hurrah via some of the best spring skiing on the planet. It’s even a great time to go birdwatching. The question isn’t should you go but how soon can you go. To help coax you on planning your next getaway, here’s some of the things to do in May in Nevada County this year.

Hoot/Pioneer/Dascombe MTB Race

May 4th & 5th

Girl hitting a jump on a mountain bike
Image appears courtesy: Bicyclists Of Nevada County

For those who love to ride bikes, the 6th annual California Dirt MTB series hosted by Youth Bicyclists of Nevada County kicks off on the 1st weekend in May. Day one starts at the Gold Country Equestrian trailhead with a 1.7 mile XC course. The route is a fast and fun rolling single track spiced up with a few climbs as well as bridges and water crossings. On Sunday, it’s a 5.6 mile showcase of the Parliament trail system. A true masterpiece of trail engineering. Expect twisty banked g-outs, tabletop kickers, and such perfect flow it’s unreal.

The Cushing Crossing

May 4th

Cushing Crossing skier skiing across the pond with crowd in foreground at the Spring Skiing Capital
Image appears courtesy: Palisades Tahoe

This isn’t just another pond skim, but a time-honored tradition that other ski areas attempt to imitate but never duplicate. From Tahoe’s own iconic showgirl Debbie Dutton as the event’s “Vanna White” to the flippers, skippers, and snowboarders that spray the celebrity judges, there is no other way to finish off a season. It’s something that you must see in person.

Grass Valley Old West Show

May 10th & 11th

Image appears courtesy: Grass Valley Old West Show – An example of an artifact that you may see when perusing this event

Have you ever seen Antiques Roadshow? This is your chance to see museum quality pieces from the Old West Era at one of the finest shows of its kind, the Grass Valley Old West Show at the Nevada County Fairgrounds. Look in awe at Tiffany Lamps. Find rare silver, coins, and folk art to purchase. Rare books and political signs. Advertisements from the Central Pacific Railroad and books about Buffalo Bill Cody. So much and more that it’s impossible to list everything.

Penn Valley Rodeo

May 17th & 18th

Image appears courtesy: Penn Valley Community Rodeo Association

Dust off your hat and grab your boots for the 65th Annual Penn Valley Rodeo. Hosted by Penn Valley Community Rodeo Association (PVCRA), across the weekend as many as 5,000 rodeo enthusiasts descend upon the fairgrounds. The event features a vast set of disciplines including saddle bronc riding, bare back riding, bull dogging, team roping, barrel racing, and the highlight of any rodeo – bull riding. Whatever you do, don’t miss the next generation of cowboys and cowgirls when they do some mutton bustin’ and calf scramble each night.


Alex Silgalis

Alex founded Local Freshies® in 2014 to be the #1 website providing the “local scoop” on where to eat, drink & play in mountain towns throughout North America. When he’s not writing and executing marketing strategies for small businesses & agencies, he’s in search of the deepest snow in the winter and tackiest dirt in the summer.

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