Silver Tailings: No Horsing Around


Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons was thrown off and kicked by a horse in 2010. He was riding with his brother near Pyramid Lake when the accident occurred.

The governor, an experienced horseman, was riding an animal that had only been saddle-broke a month. Gibbons was transported to Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno, where he underwent a two-hour surgery.

After the surgery and while recovering in the hospital, Gibbons was able to continue to perform his duties as governor. After being discharged, Gibbons continued to recuperate with the aid of a wheelchair and later a cane.

After losing the primary leading up to the 2010 elections, Gibbons quietly finished his term, retiring from politics. The following year, he accepted a position as Director and Senior Advisor for the Canadian mining operation, “International Enexco.”

Oddly enough, Gibbon’s isn’t the only Nevada Governor to have an accident involving a horse. Nevada’s 10th governor took a tumble, resulting in injuries 104-years earlier.

Governor John Sparks suffered a badly bruised arm, hip and head, while driving with J.H. Nevin, the state’s tax collector in 1906. The two were driving a young colt belonging to the Governor, when a vehicle came towards them.

Not wanting to take a chance of the animal bolting, Sparks shied the animal to one side. In doing so the front wheels of his vehicle went off the road throwing the two men down the embankment on their heads.

Sparks was elected Governor of Nevada in 1902, and re-elected in 1906. In 1904, the town of Herriman was renamed Sparks in his honor.

Sparks died during his second term, May 22, 1908. At the time of his death, he was reportedly broke, and ranch and livestock were quickly sold to settle his debts.

Like Gibbons, Sparks recovered – but some historians have speculated the auto accident may have hastened death.

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