By Kathy Hedberg for Inland 360
A large sign in front of the Reno Club in Elk City has raised a few eyebrows and generated complaints to the Idaho County Sheriff’s Office, even though the proprietor of the club says she doesn’t know what all the fuss is about.
Ingrid Rinard bought the Reno Club about a month ago after it had been closed since 2013. The sign, which depicts a male elk mounting a female elk in an act of copulation, has been an emblem of the club — at least on T-shirts — for 30 or 40 years, she said.
“There was a previous owner, named of Farris, and he had T-shirts made up (with pictures of the mating elk on them) and people have kept it up and still wear them,” Rinard said. “So when people came in wearing these shirts I thought, ‘Well, shoot, I’ll just put it on my Reno sign.’ So it’s nothing new … this is a real old historic building. This is history and the patrons that all came in had T-shirts from those years.”
The club is advertised as an “adult bar” for ages 21 and up with smoking allowed. Shortly after she opened the club, an Idaho County sheriff’s deputy paid her a visit and said some people had complained about the sign, Rinard said.
“He took a picture and said we have to go see what law you have broken and that he was going to (the prosecuting attorney),” Rinard said. “And I said, ‘Who called this in?’ and he said,`I can’t tell you that.’”
A spokeswoman at the sheriff’s office in Grangeville confirmed that there have been calls complaining about the Reno Club sign. Idaho County Prosecutor Kirk A. MacGregor, however, said he has heard no complaints about it and currently there were no legal filings against Rinard or her club.
Rinard said she does not understand what’s so offensive about the depiction.
“So, it is absolutely nothing new, but at the same time, it’s an animal. And Idaho County is the biggest county in the state of Idaho but we (Elk City) are unincorporated. And I’m up far enough in the Frank Church Wilderness area, I can’t imagine there’s a law. I don’t find it offensive. Most everyone who comes to Elk City are hunters. I see nothing offensive about this.”
Rinard, who lives in nearby Dixie, said no one has complained to her personally about the sign and most of the customers who come to the bar think it’s funny and appreciate it.
“To me it’s just silly to pay taxpayers’ money to come up here about the sign,” she said.
“The postal lady said put a fig leaf or a censor sign (over the male elk’s genitals) but it’s not anatomically correct. It’s just like anything. I’m new to Elk City and I have no idea what it’s about.”
Hedberg may be contacted at email@example.com or (208) 983-2326.