Watch for Jim "The Cowboy" Gray's daily updates as the Kansas Cattle Drive makes its way from the Kansas-Oklahoma border Labor Day Weekend to Ellsworth Sept. 24.
Friday, Sept. 23, 8:23 a.m.
Just like in days of old - good ol' Ellsworth County grass is adding pounds to the cattle before we reach the railhead. It's been cattle heaven the last few days. We are looking forward to an easy drive to the Oxide Camp, southwest of Ellsworth.
Thursday, Sept. 22, 2:13 p.m.
It was a short but very scenic day. We crossed pastures owned by Green Garden Angus, El Dean Kohrs and Ronnie Rathbun. The Cowboy ran a tree branch through a stirrup, which spooked "Moon" and the rodeo was one! I stayed with him for four or five jumps but ended up on my back. Where's all those photographers when the good stuff happens!
Thursday, Sept. 22, 8:03 a.m.
We are within a day's drive of Ellsworth but we aren't due until Saturday. We will move to a fresh range on the trail the next couple of days. We'll go about five miles. Should be a fine day.
Wednesday, Sept. 21, 4:52 p.m.
We could have laid around that ol' cow camp while the cattle grazed and the horses rested, but we took the opportunity to drive a buckboard (pickup) to town to get cleaned up and go to the ice cream store (cuz ya know that's what the old time drovers used to do ...).
Tuesday, Sept. 20, 3:45 p.m.
Once a trail herd came within a day's drive of Ellsworth, they left the trail to rest and graze the cattle and that's what we are doing.
Tuesday, Sept. 20, 7:31 a.m.
Concrete camp was a pleasant one. Evening with storytelling and cowboy poetry. We rolled to bed a little late, but it was a great night for sleeping. Gathering of the cattle for a 15-mile drive to the old burton Ranch. We'll pass by Geneseo today. I had better get out and go. The herd is liable to leave me behind.
Monday, Sept. 19, 12:29 p.m.
The cattle strung out really nice as we passed through Bushton. Sorry no pictures. I'm pretty busy when we drive through town. We arrived at the Plum Creek camp at noon. It's right along Highway 4 east of Bushton on a piece of grass owned by Louis Rolfs. A lot of Texas cattle failed right through this country in 1873. I'm guessing we will pass by Geneseo around 12:30 to 1 p.m. See ya on the trail.
Monday, Sept. 19, 6:40 a.m.
The night was crystal clear as the stars sparkled like diamonds in a velvet sky. The old trail crossed the northwest edge of present day Bushton. We will drive through town later this morning. Our next camp is one and one-half miles east of Bushton along Highway 4. Drop by if you can.
Monday, Sept. 19, 6:33 a.m.
Miss Rodeo Kansas Alissa Morrison joined the drive Sunday evening. She will be with us until Thursday. We are trailing the cattle along the old Fort Zarah Trail. The route was followed for the Cox Trail to Ellsworth.
Sunday, Sept. 18, 8:03 a.m.
The sun is setting and voices are drifting across the prairie. We've met a lot of wonderful people at every camp. this one is no exception. There has already been a lot of reminiscing about our drive through Ellinwood. They may be talking about it for years! Being a part of this has touched our hearts. We'll not soon forget ...
Sunday, Sept. 18, 12:37 p.m.
We made the Cow Creek camp a little after noon. Cattle moved easy. We had a little trouble turning a corner. Roger, our lead steer, wanted to keep going north. But our camp was just a short distance east. After a little more convincing, we finally made the turn. Mike Ringwald owns the pasture. We really appreciate the landowners who have been so supportive. We wouldn't have had the drive without them!
Sunday, Sept. 18, 7:20 a.m.
Good for me it isn't 1873. Those boys did not have anywhere to hide. We are saddling up and getting ready go gather the cattle. We will drive through Bushton about 10 a.m. Monday. We will make Geneseo Tuesday. Hope to see you on the trail.
Sunday, Sept. 18, 7:15 a.m.
Another rain last night. I kept dry by crawling into the feed trailer. One crash of lightning brought me out of my sleep.
Sunday, Sept. 18, 7 a.m.
The cooks are about to founder us all. Steak, potatoes and beans last night. This morning it was steak and eggs. We are doing well.
Saturday, Sept. 17, 10:09 p.m.
After the cattle strung out for the water tank, Roger, the lead steer, brought the herd back to camp on his own. Sorry, no pictures. I was so taken by the sight that all I could do was watch.
Saturday, Sept. 17, 8:45 p.m.
We had a great reception in Ellsworth Saturday. Folks lined the streets all across town. The 400 did us proud as they walked on their way north to Ellsworth. Lots of folks came out to visit the camp northeast of Ellinwood. Certainly enjoyed the visits. If you haven't made it out, come and say howdy at one of the camps. Ellsworth is just a week away. We're on our way!
Saturday, Sept. 17, 8:14 a.m.
Ride all you little rains. Like the song, Colorado Trail. We've been experiencing Little Rains the last few days. Believe I will change the words. "All along, along, along, the Ellsworth cattle trail."
Friday, Sept. 16, 4:19 p.m.
With 200 new cattle, we set out with 400+ head and Ellinwood on our mind. The new ones were a bit nervous but settled in to the trail by the time we made camp at Barton County Feeders, southeast of Ellinwood. The boys lost one steer in a cornfield, but he couldn't stay hidden for long. We're going into town with a full complement of cattle tomorrow! Just might have to take a bath tonight.
Friday, Sept. 16, 8:41 a.m.
Got a couple hours extra rest this morning. Only seven iles to the next camp. We now have 400+ head to drive. Should be an interesting day.
Wednesday, Sept. 14, 6:01 a.m.
Sprinkles and prairie breezes took turns passing through camp during the night. Light rain at 4 a.m. Had me moving a little sooner than I had expected. Chuck wagon was busy and soon I was working on a plate of French toast and ham. They say we go between 16 and 17 miles today. Cattle should move easy in cooler weather.
Tuesday, Sept. 13, 7:07 p.m.
The cattle walked easy today. Made about 3 miles an hour. The cow camp is on property owned by H.A.W. Ranch Feeders. Pulled in at 12:30. We are quite the tourist attraction. Folks drove in all afternoon. Cooler weather ahead. Should be great night for sleeping.
Tuesday, Sept. 13, 6:41 a.m.
The outfit slept soundly last night under a beautiful Kansas moon. We're up for daylight for a good hearty breakfast. Everyone is saddling up for a bright new day as we march the cattle ever northward.
Monday, Sept. 12, 9:58 p.m.
The cattle have settled in and are walking the trail at a steady gait. The afternoon heat slowed both cattle and drovers. Water was in great demand when we reached the cow camp. We will all sleep well tonight, looking forward to celebrating in Ellinwood Saturday, Sept. 17.
Monday, Sept. 12, 4:51 a.m.
We've been laying around the cow camp long enough. Drovers are anxious to hit the trail. Will make 14 miles today. Who knows what adventure awaits!
Friday, Sept. 9, 12:56 p.m.
The Cowboy made a mad dash to Dodge City by way of Dennis Katzenmeier's buggy. Five cowboys were inducted into the Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame. We're on the trail back to Kingman.
Thursday, Sept. 8, 7:19 p.m.
We trailed into the ranch of Brian and Emily Eck. We arrived tired but happy. Another great day on the trail. We're going into Kingman tomorrow. Should be quite a show when we pass through town about 4 or 4:30 pm. Kingman is celebrating in high style. Come join the fun!
Thursday, Sept. 8, 6:05 a.m.
Move along, blue shadows. Move along. Soon the dawn will come and you'll be on your way. Pancakes and sausage taste mighty good with the dim morning light breaking on the horizon. Coyotes have been serenading us each evening and early morning. It's a beautiful morning and we're ready to be on our way just waiting for the sun and a new day on the Cox Trail.
Wednesday, Sept. 7, 8:59 p.m.
Laying in my bed roll listening to Jeff Davidson and Larry Able. Playin' and singin' good old Cowboy music, Nice! Really enjoyed driving the cattle today. I was taking pictures of the drive when Tom called out, "George! Watch out for that tree." (Like George of thye Jungle). "Moon" was still walking as I turned to see a tree branch about to slap me in the face! It missed ... one more thing for the outfit to give the Cowboy a hard time over!
Wednesday, Sept. 7, 4:42 p.m.
Cool weather made for a great day. The cattle moves along well. Rollin'. Rollin'. Rollin'. Made the Oliver Ranch by 2 p.m. Time to relax.
Wednesday, Sept. 7, 6:49 a.m.
Another great day on the trail! Had entertainment and prime rib last night. It's good to be a cowboy!
Tuesday, Sept. 6, 3:53 p.m.
It's a lot like the old boom days at the end of the trail. Caldwell reports that its restaurants sold out of food. Eight kegs of beer sold at the beer garden and people from all over the county were in town. Met some folks out on the trail today from Fort Worth. Drove up just to watch us trail over the country. Folks still like cattle, horses and cowboys!
Tuesday, Sept. 6, 7 a.m.
The herd made 16 miles Monday, but it was not without incident. I rode "Moon" (Jim's horse) into a line of weeds. Got hung up in barbed wire. The Cowboy went over "Moon's" head. Cut "Moon" a little bit, but he is fine. We are on the old Chisholm-Cox Trail now. Will do 14 miles today.
Monday, Labor Day, 7:06 p.m.
We hit Caldwell on the fly. Bedded 'em down on a hill nearby. The cattle stampeded south of town. We drove into Caldwell with the song "Rawhide" playing on the speakers and thousands of people cheering us on. Another small stampede livened up the streets. Caldwell won't forget us!
Monday, Labor Day, 4:42 a.m.
It's up in the morning before the light, before I sleep the moon shines bright. It's 4:30 a.m. Cookie is frying breakfast. Got my horse fed. Ready for a big day on the trail. Caldwell, here we come.!
Sunday, Sept. 4, 9:25 p.m.
The Border Queen Belles visited the cow camp. Put on a great show! The cowboys are looking forward to hitting Caldwell tomorrow morning. The girls might have something to do with that!
Sunday, Sept. 4, 7:07 p.m.
I woke up one morning on the old Chisholm trail, a rope in my hand and a cow by the tail. We'd trailed the cattle today four about six miles. They went on a run for about two. Settled down pretty good after that. We'll be in Caldwell Monday morning. See ya on the trail!
Sunday, Sept. 4, 8:46 a.m.
Guess we should have started this drive two months ago. Maybe we would have brought rain then. Dry grass turned springtime green overnight.
Saturday, Sept. 3, 9:26 p.m.
Ghost riders rolled in from the southwest. The rolling dust ahead of a thunderstorm look just like riders coming at us! Cool wind and rain was a welcome change from the hot day. It's just the way it should be for an old-time cattle drive.
Friday, Sept. 2
There are going to be exciting times in Caldwell Saturday! The town celebrates its 140th anniversay with all kinds of cowboy activities. You won't want to miss the "Shoot Out at High Noon" followed by the lineup of Caldwell chorus girls plus the gals from Medicine Lodge and the Delano Dollies out of Wichita. May be more than a Cowboy can stand! The Cowboy will present the Kansas Humanities program, "Kansas Cattletowns" at 2 p.m. Check out the website at kansascattledrive2011. Click on "Cowtowns" for more activities.
See ya there
Wednesday, Aug. 31
Preparations for the cattle drive are coming together. We are driving into Ellsworth from the south, just the way they did in the old days. We will cross the river bridge on Douglas, drive north through town, and end up in camp north of Old Highway 40.
The beginning in Caldwell Sept. 5; the end in Ellsworth Sept. 24.
With three weeks on the trail, there's bound to be some excitement! I'll keep you informed. Check back often four trail updates.
So long, the Cowboy
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