ALTUS -- The old days of the legendary cattle drives from Texas to Kansas are being renewed by the Western Trails Historical Society and its "Celebration of the Western Trail."
Some 200 riders and wagons left Bandera, Texas, on Labor Day on their way to Dodge City, Kan., on a ride which is expected to take 48 days and cover some 679 miles.
This giant undertaking required months of planning by hundreds of officials in Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas. Because of the countless rules, regulations and permits which would be required to drive the cattle through the route's cities and towns, the drive's officials reluctantly decided against the cattle being included.
At a recent meeting in Altus, a total of 17 people from Bandera, Dodge City, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Oklahoma Dept. of Transportation, members of the Western Trail Historical Society Board of Directors, Jackson County Sheriff Morris Roberts and the Altus Police Chief Mike Patterson met to finalize the itinerary for the group's passage through Jackson County and the state of Oklahoma.
The procession of riders and wagons are now scheduled to be in the Altus area from Saturday through next Monday.
According to officials, 17 states are currently involved in the ride. Last reports showed that there are currently 75 riders, 16 wagons and over 100 rigs (motor homes).
The Western Trail figures prominently in the history of Southwest Oklahoma. It was the beginning of a cattle ranching heritage that continues to this day.
You can join the trail ride for a day or however long you can spend, as they travel through our area. To register, go to the RV with a registration sign in the window at the Doan's Crossing campsite Friday.
The cost will be $35 for one day or four days or more for $125. Wagon riders pay the same registration fee as mounted riders.
The calendar of events of the trail ride for our area are as follows:
Wednesday - Vernon celebration.
Friday - Camp at historic Doan's Crossing on the Red River. More than 6 million head of longhorns crossed the river into Indian Territory at Doan's Crossing.
Saturday - presentation of the trail ride flag and the Oklahoma flag at the Red River.
Sunday - Visit the Western Trail Museum and "Crossing of the Red" on the Jackson County Courthouse square in Altus. The wagon train will camp at the Altus rodeo arena.
Monday - Head north on U.S. Highway 283 from Altus to Granite. Some 40 wagons and 200 riders should be participating at this point.
Thursday - Rest stop at Elk City. Chamber of Commerce hosting live entertainment, evening meals and breakfast. Campt at of Western Trail Park and monument to cattle drivers.