The 3,000 people who live in the unincorporated community of Battle Mountain have embraced a name that the Washington Post Sunday Magazine bestowed on them in 2001: Armpit of America.
Writing in the magazine, Gene Weingarten said he chose Battle Mountain because of its “lack of character and charm, its pathetic assemblage of ghastly buildings and nasty people. He also wrote that its location in Lander County, Nevada, was “in the midst of harsh and uninviting wilderness.”
After earning the title, the town convinced the Old Spice deodorant company to sponsor an annual Festival in the Pit, a celebration that has since been done away with, but included dancing in the streets, a parade, magic show, horseshoe throwing contest, a beauty pageant, and more. In 2006, the Festival in the Pit was replaced with a Bluegrass Festival.
Even without the festival, residents are proud of the nickname. “I think there are some pretty good armpits here,” one visitor from Idaho said of the town. “Controversy is fine as long as it is used to make something good out of it. I think it will grow.”
- Wikipedia: Battle Mountain, Nevada: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_Mountain,_Nevada
- Eccentric America: Regional Highlights: http://www.eccentricamerica.com/highlights.htm
- The Nevada Travel Network: http://www.nevadatravel.net/travelgram/Armpit03.html
- New Raleigh: "‘Cuegrass Festival at The Pit" (March 2009): http://www.newraleigh.com/articles/archive/cuegrass-festival-at-the-pit/
- Howard Hickson's Histories: "Armpit of America:" http://www2.gbcnv.edu/howh/BattleMountain.html