It is doubtful this critter came up the Great Western Cattle Trail from Texas but he adorns a marker on the Harold Potthoff farm between Stratton and Trenton. The hill in the background shows ruts of the Trail.
Cowboys, cows and horses, rain, six shooters, Indians, dust, disease, rattlesnakes and floods -- it’s the ingredients for a good western movie or a little boy’s imagination. It all can be found in stories of the movement of cattle from Texas north up the Great Western Cattle Trail, starting in 1874 and lasting about 20 ears.
More than 5 million cattle and 1 million horses made the trip from Texas north on the Great Western Cattle Trail. The trail provided that cattle and horses that stimulated the formation of cattle ranching from Texas to Canada.
This exciting piece of history is being preserved for future generations by the Great Western Cattle Trail Association. The route is being authenticated with permanent concrete markers designating the trail where cattle passed.
So far, markers have been placed from Texas to Ogallala.
This year, markers are starting to appear in southwest Nebraska with 11 sited so far.
The Nebraska chapter of the GWCTA will host the national GWCTA convention in Ogallala Nov. 8, 9, and 10. Activities will begin on Friday evening with a greet and meet at the Mansion on the Hill in Ogallala.
Saturday morning events will start at 8:30 a.m. with a business meeting at the Mid-Plains Community College. An authentic chuck wagon lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m., followed by presentations on “The Chuck Wagon and its Value on the Trail,” “GPS on the Pony Express,” “The Trail from Kansas to Ogallala” and a video on the Cattle Trail Re-enactment through Oberlin.
A marker will be placed at the Tri-Trails Park at 3 p.m. Saturday, followed by a tour of the Petrified Wood Gallery. The evening will conclude with a banquet on Front Street at 6 p.m. with entertainment by the Cowboy Capitol Chorus and an historic re-enactment of Ogallala by Joan Speck.
A tour of the Nebraska portion of the Great Western Cattle Trail will begin at 9 p.m. Sunday at the Blanche Cemetery and from there proceed to the Rock Corral on the Maddux Ranch, the Chase County Museum at Champion, the Kenny and Diana Ham Ranch and, finally, the Harold Potthoff Ranch at Trenton.
Lunch will be available at Champion.
All events are open to the public.
A registration fee of $55 per person will cover Friday and Saturday meals and entertainment. A sack lunch will be available for a small fee on Sunday.
Everyone is requested to register in advance with Linda Zahl at 308-276-2672 or firstname.lastname@example.org.