ELLINWOOD — The old Ellsworth Cox Cattle Trail from Caldwell, Okla. to Ellsworth, long abandoned and disused, will once again come alive from Sept. 3 to Sept. 19 as 400 thronging head of long horn cattle will be driven 200 miles to Ellsworth for the 150th Anniversary of Kansas’ birthday. After many years of only having people and cars, the Main Street of Ellinwood on Sept. 17 will echo with the sounds of hoofs and lowing cattle.
Beginning Sept. 3, the cattle will be rounded up and then head north in an authentic drive, beginning in Caldwell and passing through Kingman and Ellinwood.
The route follows the old Cox Cattle Trail blazed in 1873 to the Kansas Pacific Railroad and will be as authentic as possible with two chuck wagons, a trail boss, seven drovers, seven"guest drovers," and horses. The group will head cross-country as much as is possible.
"I think its exciting," said Ellinwood volunteer Lloyd Kurtz. "It something we ought to take advantage of. It’s an opportunity to have lots of things going on. Most kids have never seen a cattle drive."
Committees of thrilled residents have begun plans for the re-enactment.
"Whatever we want to make of it, we can," said Jacque Isern, volunteer. Ideas and plans are being brainstormed for the event, and the community met last week to make plans. Three Ellinwood experienced volunteer cattle drovers are needed for each week-long leg of the drive, according to Kurtz. In addition,15 inexperienced greenhorns can ride along for $2500.
The event is expected to benefit the community in many ways. All of the supplies for the drive will be purchased locally from each community.
The city will provide 5,000 to 6,000 gallons of water each day for the cattle when they near Ellinwood, and the community will provide brome hay for the horses. Brome hay is a Kansas grass that is harvested in full leaf. Firewood will also need to be provided.
For the cowboys, the life on the drive will be authentic. They will sleep on the ground and pull shifts to watch the herd, like it was really done.
There are no worries about the the animals, though. Sick or lame animals will be transported out daily by truck daily to receive first aid.
An evening of entertainment has been added as well. Flying W Productions in Colorado will provide western artists for each of the four communities using Kansas singers. Judy Coder, Topeka, will sing on Sept. 19.
For more information, contact the Ellinwood Chamber of Commerce.