Lovelock rancher wins lifetime achievement award

Lovelock rancher wins lifetime achievement award

Lovelock rancher wins lifetime achievement award

Eighty years ago, two boys from Tuscany leaped into the unknown. Nelo and Pete Mori said arrivederci to their hometown in the Apennine Alps, Fornolovasco, Italy.

They climbed onto a French boat called the Rex. It sailed over 5,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean – all the way to New York City. Nelo was fourteen. Pete was ten.

"We wanted to be cowboys," said Nelo Mori, now ninety-three but with the bearing and mannerisms of a much younger man. "I think we achieved it."

The boys rode a train from New York City to Hazen, Nevada, a journey of over two thousand miles.

As the sons of US citizens, Nelo and Pete carried American passports in their pockets. Their grandfather, Pete, came to the US in 1876. Their father, Sam, made the trip in 1903.

From Hazen, the brothers traveled to Fallon to work on the family ranch. The sons of Sam and Iolanda Mori took to the life from the beginning. Ranching ran through their veins like cowboy coffee.

"We were naturals," said Nelo.

A few years ago, Beef Magazine sought advice for young, aspiring ranchers. They asked "old-timers" like Nelo Mori for tips for the younger generation.

"Marry well," said Mori. "You need a good wife to do it with, or you're not going to make it."

Nelo and Ida Mae married over sixty years ago. Nelo recalled their first meeting.

"Ida May had the bluest eyes I'd ever seen," he said. He asked another rancher her name.

The man's voice cut the air like a bullwhip. "That's my daughter," he said.

Undeterred, the couple married and raised three children together: Sam, Pete and Linda.

The Moris found their way to Lovelock in 1979. They operate a feedlot and alfalfa fields with the help of their grandson.

"We love this town," said Nelo Mori. "People have been good to us over the years. We would not want to live anywhere else."

But the Moris travel to Winnemucca soon. The Western States Ranch Rodeo Association (WSRRA) chose Nelo as the grand marshal of the 2017 WSRRA finals. They'll be held from Thursday, Nov. 2 through Nov. 5 at the Winnemucca Events Center.

The WSRRA will give Nelo an award for his lifetime achievements in ranching and rodeo. He'll be the namesake and first recipient of the Nelo Mori Heritage of Ranching Award.

"I am humbled," said Nelo. "I do not know why they chose me."

For WSRRA President Marc Page the answer is simple.

"We wanted to give the award to a pioneer and someone who blazed the way for the ranching industry," he said. "When Nelo passes, the award will become the Nelo Mori Memorial Heritage of Ranching Award."