The Great Western Cattle Trail Association held their fifth National Annual Meeting in Spearfish, South Dakota on July 4 and 5. Oklahoma Chapter members in attendance were President, John Y. Barton and his wife Annelle from Altus; Secretary Ed Womack and his wife Ellena from Elk City; Treasurer LeRoy Jones and his wife Sandra from Mountain View; Creed Carter and his wife Tricia from Elk City; J. L. Courtney and his wife Elaine from Oklahoma City.
The idea for marking the Great Western Cattle Trail originated when two Altus men, Dennis Vernon and John Barton, both members of the Western Trail Historical Society in Altus met Bob Klemme of Enid at the National Cowboy Symposium and Celebration in Lubbock, Texas in 2003.
Bob, who had made posts to mark the Chisholm Trail, offered to donate a metal mold so that the two men could make cement posts to mark the Great Western Cattle Trail which traversed south to north across Oklahoma more than 75 miles farther west than the Chisholm. From 1874 to 1893, more than seven million Texas Longhorn cattle were driven north on the Great Western Trail to be marketed and loaded on trains to go to butchering plants in the northeast, or to be sold to the Government to provide food for the Indians that had been confined to their Reservations, or to be taken to ranges in the northern Great Plains that had once been the home of the giant herds of Buffalo before they were slaughtered for their hides by the early 1870s.
The annual meeting for 2015 will be in Oklahoma, back where the Trail marking all began.