Each year the Reno Rodeo Association president selects and collaborates with an artist to create a limited edition print in honor of the “Wildest, Richest Rodeo in the West.” 2023 president, Greg “Lightning” Williams, selected Northern Nevada native Michael Cowan as this year’s poster artist.
“After searching high and low, I was connected to Mike,” said Williams. “After seeing his talent, I knew we had to work together on a poster to show the excitement of the Reno Rodeo and honor the iconic old west.”
Cowan, who lives in Reno, is a Nevada native and is deeply involved with Northern Nevada. Having graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno, he’s spent nearly 20 years in the advertising industry earning various local, district and national awards. He spends much of his free time with his family and creating illustrations and paintings.
“Designing an old-western-style poster is like taking a step back in time,” Cowan said. “It was an honor to create this piece that captures the spirit of the Reno Rodeo and pays homage to the rich history and culture of the Wild West.”
As Williams and Cowan embarked on creating the commemorative print, Williams worked with other members of the Reno Rodeo Association to provide plenty of inspiration and references to draw from to create this limited edition poster.
Designing the poster in a vertical orientation, Cowan drew inspiration from old western notice posters with bold, decorative lettering emblazoned on the top and bottom that instantly capture the eye. To convey the excitement and energy rodeo guests can expect, a bareback bronc rider is in the midst of their eight-second ride in the sold-out Livestock Events Center.
The bottom of the print is a roundup of events rodeo guests can enjoy including the new pony chariot racing, the fan-favorite Broken Spoke Clydesdales, the one-of-a-kind wedding event and all the thrilling rodeo performances held each night of the 10-day event. Ornate borders and decorative flourishes frame the poster, which is printed on a weathered background to give it an antique look.
The limited run of 250 signed and numbered prints will be available for sale through the Reno Rodeo office.