Approximately 200 people watched a scene straight out of the Old West Saturday, July 4, as part of Goodland’s Freedom Fest 2015. Ten cowboys drove 210 head of cattle along part of the historic Wallace Branch of the Great Western Cattle Trail.
The cattle came over a hill about 4:15 p.m., crossed a wheat field and a county road before coming up a hill into the pasture set aside for spectators. Trail Boss Ken Klemm said he had chosen the route for the greatest spectator safety and view. Choosing the route was like “playing on a chessboard. We wanted people to see what we were doing without them having to wait an hour. But we wanted them to see enough to understand a little about the cattle drive.”
Klemm plans to host the Second Annual Great Western Cattle Drive next year. He intends to “add more features and make it even more interesting.” The trail boss was very pleased with the number of spectators for this initial year and hopes the event will continue to grow in future years.
Cowboys were Klemm, his sons Austin and Colter, Tim Barnett, Eldon Boyington, Jake Anderson, Josh Dorn, Jim and Hunter House, all of Sherman County, as well as Casey Whitmire, Lexington, Neb.
The Western Cattle Trail passed through Sherman County on its way to Ogallala, Neb., and points north as far as Canada. Klemm’s Homestead Ranch, site of the July 4 cattle drive, was home to Sherman County’s first post office, Elijah Bray postmaster. Bray Post Office was established April 19, 1881, and closed Aug. 25, 1882. This post office was one of the cowboys’ few opportunities to send and receive mail along the Western Cattle Trail.
National Park Service is currently considering the Great Western Cattle Trail for inclusion in its National Historic Trail system.by