Winner of the Mojave Max Emergence Contest Announced Today

Today, the Clark County Desert Conservation Program announced the winner of the 23rd annual Mojave Max Emergence Contest. The winner is 4th grader Riley D. from Edna F. Hinman Elementary School. Riley’s guess on Mojave Max’s emergence date and time was closest to the actual date and time he emerged. Riley guessed Max would emerge on March 26, 2022 at 12:14 p.m. and Max officially emerged from his burrow on March 26, 2022 at 12:21 p.m. Of the 2,727 guesses submitted by students throughout Clark County, 45 of them were on the correct date of March 26, 2022. Riley’s guess, which was submitted on March 8, 2022 on, was only seven minutes different from the actual time. The next closest guess was nine minutes different.

The Mojave Max team, which includes local television personality Nate Tannenbaum, staff from Get Outdoors Nevada and staff from the Clark County Desert Conservation Program, surprised Riley and her class today with the announcement.

As the winning student, Riley received several prizes including a year-long family membership to the Springs Preserve, an “America the Beautiful” year-long family pass to National Parks and Federal Recreation areas and a laptop computer. Riley’s teacher received a laptop computer as well. Riley’s entire class received Olympic-style medals, T-shirts, and a trophy for the school. They will also be going on a field trip to the Springs Preserve to meet the live Mojave Max tortoise and have a pizza party while they are there.

"It's been great to be part of the Mojave Max Education Program for more than 20 years,” said Nate Tannenbaum. “It never gets old seeing the excitement on the faces of the winning students and their classmates when they find out they're getting a field trip to the Springs Preserve to meet Max and have a pizza party."

As part of the Desert Conservation Program’s 23rd annual Mojave Max Emergence Contest, elementary school students from Clark County studied Mojave Desert weather, temperatures, and conditions to scientifically estimate when they believed Mojave Max would emerge from his burrow in 2022. Their guesses were entered at The latest Max has emerged is April 17, 2012, at 12:41 p.m. His earliest emergence was Feb. 14, 2005 at 11:55 a.m.

“This marks the 23rd year of the Mojave Max Emergence Contest. Through the years, Mojave Max has helped teach thousands of Clark County school children about our fragile Mojave Desert and how to respect, protect, and enjoy our desert home.” said Department of Environment and Sustainability Director Marci Henson. “We want to congratulate Riley for winning this year’s contest and we look forward to providing children a greater appreciation for protecting our desert environment for many more years to come.”

Mojave Max is a live desert tortoise who calls the Las Vegas Springs Preserve his home. Like other Southern Nevada reptiles, he enters a burrow to brumate (the reptilian form of hibernation) every winter and emerges every spring. Mojave Max’s emergence marks the beginning of spring-like weather in Southern Nevada. Warmer temperatures, longer daylight hours and his own internal clock are factors known to contribute to his emergence. The Emergence Contest has taken place every year since 2000. The contest will open again in the fall after Mojave Max begins his brumation, and students will be able to enter their guesses for his 2023 emergence.

Questions about the live Mojave Max tortoise should be directed to Tom Bradley with the Las Vegas Springs Preserve at 702-822-8365. More information is available at or