Dr. Michael E. Fischer was appointed Director of the Department of Cultural Affairs by Governor Jim Gibbons in January 2007 and served in the Sandoval Administration until Cultural Affairs was merged with Tourism. Prior to that, he practiced dentistry in Gardnerville for 31 years. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Nevada, class of 1971 and a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Southern California, class of 1975. Dr. Fischer has served several terms on the Board of Directors of the Western Folklife Center, the group responsible for the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko. He was chairman of that board for four years. A life member of the Douglas County Historical Society, he was both a board member and President of the organization.
Dr. Fischer interest in Nevada History began as a child when his family visited historic sites around the state. He is now an independent scholar whose interests include the history of Nevada cowboys and ranching, politics, bootlegging, gambling, and crime. Dr. Fischer portrays Governor John Sparks and Nevada agricultural pioneer H.F. Dangberg Sr. in Chautauqua performances.
John Sparks, born in 1843, did everything you could do in the West: he was an Indian fighter with the Texas Frontier Rangers and a trail driver of cattle after the Civil War. Despite the fact that he lacked any formal education, he rose to the highest ranks of the cattlemen on the national scene and even to the Governorship of Nevada in 1902.
As a man, he could be humorous but was also direct and forceful, and his life was by no means one of plain sailing: he was bitten by the mining bug, but thereby lost the fortune that he had amassed in the cattle business. He endured the labor troubles in Goldfield, traitorous circumstances with individuals he considered personal friends, and the national financial panic of 1907. As a result, this John Sparks Chautauqua presentation is a microcosmic examination of the endurance of the human spirit.
at Daytime events on Friday & Saturday.