January events in Nevada worth traveling for

Watch as world-class drivers tear up the dirt in 12,000-pound monster trucks when Monster Jam heads to Reno Jan. 19-21 at the Reno-Sparks Livestock Events Center. (Courtesy, via Feld Entertainment)

By Aleza Freeman

December 25, 2023

January is the beginning of another year and a great time to start a new tradition with your family thanks to several unique events happening this month in all corners of the Silver State.

From classic cars in Mesquite and monster trucks in Reno to ice sculptures in Ely and ice hockey in Las Vegas; even cowboys reciting poetry in Elko; January events in Nevada won’t disappoint, especially if you’re willing to hit the road or hop on a flight.

Still not sure about January’s gems? Read on to learn more about these Nevada events worth traveling for.

Ely: Fire & Ice Winter Festival

The small mountain town of Ely in eastern Nevada is home to the annual Fire & Ice Winter Festival. This year’s community-wide celebration heats up the winter weather with three days of fun, games, activities, tournaments and an ice sculpture competition Jan. 12-14,

Along with sculptures masterfully created with snow in downtown Ely’s Broadbent Park, the festival includes:

  • The Bristlecone Birkebeiner cross-country ski race in the Ward Mountain Recreation Area
  • A Burning Man-style art sculpture bonfire
  • Dart, disc golf, cornhole and horseshoe tournaments
  • Rides on the Fireworks Express and other historic steam train excursions with the Nevada Northern Railway
  • Other activities and entertainment like bowling, ceramics painting, shopping, hiking, a mural walk and a pub crawl

If you’re interested in visiting Ely with your family during the festival? You’ll find plenty of affordable lodging, including the historic Hotel Nevada and Jailhouse Casino Motel, as well as quality chains like the Holiday and Ramada inns. There are also plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities and recreation nearby, including the White Pine County Museum and the beehive-shaped Ward Charcoal Ovens.

For more information, visit the White Pine County website.

Mesquite: Mesquite Motor Mania

Check out nearly 1,000 classic vehicles, vintage rides, and hot rods in Mesquite during Mesquite Motor Mania, the region’s premier car show and competition, Jan. 12-14.

With all years, makes, and models of cars, the three-day event will showcase participating vehicles at sponsor hotels like the CasaBlanca Resort and Casino, Virgin River Hotel and Casino and Eureka Resort and Casino. Vehicles will compete for more than 260 awards and trophies, as well as $15,000 in cash drawings and prizes.

Mesquite is a perfect small-town destination for those who seek a resort experience for less or simply want to escape the crowds of Las Vegas with several casinos, hotels and spas as well as dining, championship golf courses and museums. During the Motor Mania event, you can participate in events and vote for your favorite vehicles in tons of award categories from Ladies Choice to the Hottest Flames.

For more information, visit the Mesquite Motor Mania website.

Reno: Monster Jam

Watch as world-class drivers tear up the dirt in 12,000-pound monster trucks when Monster Jam heads to Reno Jan. 19-21 at the Reno-Sparks Livestock Events Center.

The massive monster truck competition includes races, skills challenges, a donut competition and a freestyle contest. Before the main event, you can see the massive trucks up close, meet your favorite drivers and crews, get autographs and take pictures at pit parties on Jan. 20 and 21. There will also be a Monster Jam Trackside, event one hour before the main event, including:

  • Competition Preview
  • Driver Interviews
  • Behind the Scenes with the Pit Crew
  • Judges Zone Overview
  • Opening Ceremonies
  • Giveaways
  • Power Rush Truck Introductions

Visit the Monster Jam website for the full schedule and tickets.

Las Vegas: NFL and NHL games

Las Vegas is growing into a premier destination for professional sports with NFL football (Las Vegas Raiders), USL Championship soccer (Las Vegas Lights), a Stanley Cup-winning hockey team (Vegas Golden Knights) and a championship-winning women’s basketball team (Las Vegas Aces).

Football fans still have a chance to catch an NFL game at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, before the city makes history during Super Bowl LVIII in February. The Las Vegas Raiders will play the Denver Broncos on January 7 at a time to be determined.

For more information, visit Raiders.com.

If you prefer fast-paced hockey action you’re in luck. Allegiant Stadium is also home to the venerable Vegas Golden Knights. The beloved hometown team will play at the stadium on January 4, 6, 11, 13, 15, 18 and 20.

Check out the full schedule here.

Elko: National Cowboy Poetry Gathering

Cowboys and poetry? Yes, you read that right. Now in its 39th year, the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Jan. 29 – Feb. 3, is a six-day celebration of authentic Western cultural arts with poetry, music, dancing, workshops, exhibits and Basque food.

Held since 1985, the event features poetry written and read by a diverse array of poets from all walks of life. You can also attend workshops like belt-basket stamping, leather working basics, writing, cooking, cocktail making, hula and yodeling; see an exhibit of 30 years of contemporary cowboy gear; check out an array of concerts, films and open mics; and even go shopping at a Western mercantile with vendors from all over the world.

Elko is located about 30 minutes from the Ruby Mountains, an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise with hiking, biking, fishing, skiing, and sightseeing. The colorful town offers plenty of affordable lodging and many hotels are offering special deals for the event.

For more information, visit the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering website.

  • Aleza Freeman

    Aleza Freeman is a Las Vegas native and award-winning journalist with two decades of experience writing and editing lifestyle, travel, entertainment, and human interest stories in Nevada. Her work has appeared in AARP magazine, Haute Living and Nevada Magazine.



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