Keep those dogies rollin’ in Goodland
Celebrate Independence Day by turning back the clock to the 1870s and 1880s and the great cattle drives. The cattle and cowboys will ride again July 4, 2015, down Main Street in Goodland north to Sherman County fairgrounds. He plans to drive a herd of longhorn cattle up Main Street. Drive will begin to travel Main Street around 5:30 p.m. “Mountain Cattle Time,” Trail Boss Ken Klemm said. Once the cattle reach the fairgrounds, Klemm invites folks to visit with the cowboys tending the longhorns, as a living history exhibit. The cattle drive coincides with Goodland’s Freedom Fest and fireworks display.
The Western Cattle Trail passed through Sherman County on its way to Ogallala, Neb., and points north as far as Canada. Klemm organized the Great Western Cattle Trail Reenactment in order to commemorate the trail where millions of cattle were driven from Texas to railheads and ranches in the north. The cattle trail’s Wallace Branch traversed Sherman County. Cowboys sent and received mail at the Bray Post Office in northeast Sherman County.
Klemm has been considering a cattle drive for a long time. When the National Park Service began discussing National Historic Trail consideration for the Great Western, Klemm decided the time had come for the cattle drive.
“The trail crosses Interstate 70 at Goodland. We have a unique opportunity to share the trail’s story with travelers,” he said.
As the event matures, Klemm intends to increase herd size in future years. “As talent and opportunity present themselves, we hope to expand the scope of this event,” Klemm said. He has talked with chuckwagon companies who were excited about coming to Goodland. They were booked for 2015, but perhaps may come in subsequent years.
The cattle drives may have ended, but they continue to impact the culture. “That era spawned the world-wide fascination with cowboys that lives on until today,” Klemm said.
How to volunteer to ride
Cowboys who are interested in helping with the drive should contact Klemm, 114 W. 12th, Goodland, KS 67735, 785-899-9274.by