It’s been a casual start to today and seeing as I have no car projects, it’s time for another little history lesson.
Hays was established in 1867, however prior to this, was located near the territories of Arapaho, Kiowa and Pawnee. It was claimed by France as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 and became part of Kansas Territory in 1854.
Fort Fletcher was established by the US Army in 1865 (southeast of present day Hays) to protect stagecoaches traveling The Smoky Hills Trail.
In 1866, it’s name was changed in honor of the late Brig. Gen. Alexander Hays.
In 1867, with the construction of the Kansas Pacific Railroad, Fort Hays was moved northwest to better serve the railroad.
Then there is more history about a town called Rome, Hays City being formed, Rome was abandoned after cholera outbreaks and so became Hays!
A frontier town, it had its fair share of violence infamous in the American Old West. Some 79 outlaws are said to be buried in Boot Hill north of town by 1885. Wild Bill Hicock served as sheriff for a brief stint in 1869.
Germans settled in Hays around 1886, having a great influence on the culture of the town.
We continued south to Wichita, which began as a trading post on the Chisholm Trail in the 1860’s. It was a cowtown and frequent stop for cattle being driven from Texas to Kansas railroads.
The Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe Railways ran through her during its cowtown days and across the Arkansas River was the usual entertainment of brothels, saloons and lack of law enforcement. Wyatt Earp was one lawmen who at some point got Wichita back on the straight and narrow.
As early as the 1920’s and 30’s it also became known as ‘the air capital of the world’ becoming a US aircraft production hub.
So named after the Wichita people, the Keeper of the Plains monument is spectacular! We have been and visited this in person previously but here is a great sunset pic of it.
Check this out! The first ever Pizza Hut building!
Many fast food chains actually started in Wichita, Pizza Hut in 1958. The building is now located within University grounds.
We exited the I-35 to Wellington but we’re again disappointed the Chisholm Trail Museum is closed and with over an hour til opening time we had to continue on our way.
We continued to Edmond, formed during the April 22, 1889 Land Run. It was named after a Santa Fe railroad traveling freight agent. Well it was the name of the train depot was prior to the town being established but was adopted for the town name also.
The first public schoolhouse in the Oklahoma Territory was completed in August of 1889 and still stands as a historic monument on 2nd street.
The ‘Edmond Sun’ located down the street in the opposite corner is the states oldest continuing newspaper dating from July 18, 1889.
And so it is time for last catch ups, washing and packing before we head for Dallas and departure tomorrow.
Stagecoach Robbery by R A Davenport/Hip Postcard
Cowtown – Cowtowns Kansapedia – Kansas Historical Society
Well actually we are headed NW, passing Villanueva, El Pueblo, San Miguel, crossing the Pecos River a couple of times.
The landscape is once again changing, with hidden ranch’s amongst a very green landscape and red rock cliffs.
With Clancy in tow, we are headed for Manitou Springs. Others have headed for Deadwood, the Turquoise Trail or back to Australia today.
Our first stop would take us into Las Vegas, NM where a brief trip into the Rough Riders Antiques store saw Clancy buy a gorgeous silver barrette and my score was a nickel silver Mexican hat pin that simply was just too unique to pass up.
We found that the Castenada Hotel is now open with 7 rooms and the bar for afternoon drinks. The ceiling, floors, windows are still original and yet there is still a lot of work to be done in getting the rest of the Hotel open. I look forward to a future visit to see her in all her glory!
Oh, and my fascination with the Castenada? She was the first Fred Harvey track-side hotel built in East Las Vegas that fed and watered passengers who journeyed the Santa Fe railway routes. When it opened in 1899 Teddy Roosevelt held a reunion of his Rough Riders here. The Rough Riders Museum just up the street is closed Monday’s but we did get to visit it last year.
As per the brochure (and having read the Harvey Girls book) Fred Harvey civilised the west. He developed and ran all the hotels and restaurants of the Santa Fe Railway, eventually controlling a hospitality empire that spanned the continent. He introduced linen, silverware, China, crystal and impeccable service to railroad travel.
We made a stop at Charlie’s Spic n Span Bakery – not for cream puff’s! – but a donut or key lime selection and coffee. We got a view of the mural whilst there. The mural is a documentary of South West and American History. Spanning the decades of time, it was created by some 300 students and additional community members.
We took a short trip past gorgeous Victorian houses and out to Montezuma Castle. Now and International school for students you can not visit the castle as its student use only now. It is truly magnificent in its size and presence set atop the hill in a secluded section of Montezuma.
We left New Mexico over the Raton Pass at a mere 7834ft and into Colorado. We are now in Manitou Springs.
As evening sets on this tiny town of Victorian charm, pubs, and shops, we enjoyed a couple of margarita’s and some dinner before retiring for an early night.
Some sight seeing tomorrow before getting into Cheyenne for the duration of the week!
Friday came and went and Saturday rolled around to the final 4 stages.
This was it. Make or break time and see how things work out.
Another hot and dusty day drew to a close with Jack and I racing then to get changed into our ‘Thomas Durant’ and ‘Eva Toole’ costumes (from Hell On Wheels) and head over to the costume contest.
Costume contest done, photos taken, we headed into the big tent for the banquet. The beer was flowing and everyone had a great time.
Costume contestants did a promenade after dinner and then the winners were announced.
I won Parlor House Madam with ‘Eva Toole’.
Jack placed 3rd in B-Western/Silver Screen Mens.
In B-Western/Silver Screen Ladies, Lil Magill won 1st place with the ‘Buffalo Gal’ dress I had made.
For the Best Dressed Couples, Annie D Vine and Hawkshaw Fred won 1st place with Annie wearing the silver and bronze gown I had made last year. More on that later. Comin’ In Hot and Alamo Andy won 2nd place with their B-Western outfit I had just finished before getting here.
The Shootout competitors were then announced. Top 8 Ladies and Mens for Wild Bunch and the Top 16 Cowboys and Cowgirls. I had made it in! Happy Days!
Sunday morning the shootout gets under way with a couple of ladies not shooting, as an alternate, Pearl Starr also from Australia, had her first chance at a World Championship shootout.
Congratulations to Texas Tiger, Ladies Wild Bunch and Last Chance Morales, Mens Wild Bunch shootout winners and for Cowboys, Cowboy Carty and Cowgirls, Bonnie Macfarlane.
Awards got underway just after. Posse 33 won the posse shoot with 5.04sec, so close! Our posse shot it in a 5.17sec.
Clean shooters? You heard me say it was a different kind of match and this was about to prove it. Only 29 shooters from a total of 565 shooters were clean. Sam Balin, Alvira Sullivan Earp and myself, all from Australia were clean and received the elusive white buffalo pin. 111 of those shooters this year were also first time participants to End of Trail.
The Ladies of Cowboy Action Shooters (LOCAS) announced its Cowgirl of Honor awards and this year it went to 3rd place Little Red Sure Shot, 2nd place Shotglass and 1st place Shamrock Sadie. Well done ladies!
All in all the Aussies faired well again!! 25 of us went this year.
Spirit of The Game – Bat Masterson, K C Woody, Doc Carnegie
Lady Gunfighter 4th place – Sister Sarah Carnegie
Senior Gunfighter (oops didn’t write down what place) – K C Woody
Duelist 7th place – J P Remington
Elder Statesman Duelist 9th place – Virgil Earp
Silver Senior Duelist 4th place – Sam Balin
Frontier Cartridge 8th place – Henry Moon
Ladies Silver Senior 2nd place – Alvira Sullivan Earp
Ladies 49er’s 9th place – Mystic Meg
Ladies 49er’s 8th place – Clancy
Wrangler 8th place – Bat Masterson
Cowboy 10th place – Deadwood Gunslinger
Lady Wrangler 2nd place – Pearl Starr
Elderstatesman 9th place – Jackaroo
Lady Wrangler 1st place – Kathouse Kelli
Yay!! Another successful World Championships, a tougher match than some previous, just had to aim a little more. Dang kids ripped out some awesome times still and a huge congratulations to this years 2019 Overall World Champions – Bonnie Macfarlane and Matt Black.
We are 3 days in to being here at End of Trail, the cowboy action World Championships!
Saturday afternoon after domestic duties we headed to the range to register and pick up our shooter packs. We found Charlie Wagon and Pearl Starr and of course a bit of nonsense ensued.
Sunday Jack, myself, Pearl Starr and Clancy went to Albuquerque to shoot a club match with the Rio Grande Renegades. A good little side match as an extra warm up to the start of a very busy week.
We had a few little hiccups (and a not so good, somewhat broke pistol) but all in all a great day, thanks Rio Grande for having us!!
We had dinner with Cooncan and Bertie Winchester, our friends from Kansas, at Pizza Barn along with a good portion of the cowboy community!
Monday and we are set to begin with warm ups, shopping at vendors, catching up with heaps of cowboys and cowgirls. We did 4 warm up stages and then called it a day to go drop my pistol off for fixing.
Tuesday and its all smiles! Now there are more cowboys arrived and everyone is having a blast looking for matching numbers. In our packs this year you were given a Posse pin in addition to your shooters badge. The Posse pin has a number on the back and this is where it gets interesting. So you go and talk to new people, you try to see if they have the same number as you, when you find 1-9 other cowboys or cowgirls with the same number you go and put your name in a draw to win a custom knife and sheath from Action Shooting Network.
More warm up stages! A little more shopping! Wild Bunch Awards!
A shout out to the SASS team for putting together a polished ceremony again. Whilst Jack and I didn’t shoot Wild Bunch this year we still went to support Charlie Wagon just in case he should buckle. We are happy to report however that our Oklahoman, Elwood James won a few side match awards and finished 7th in Mens Modern!! Way to go EJ!! AND outstanding costuming for awards my friend!
Congratulations also to Mens Modern winner – Last Chance Morales, Mens Modern Senior winner – Evil Roy, Ladies Modern winner – Idaho Sixgun Sam, Ladies Modern Senior winner – Second Fiddle Sue, Mens Traditional winner – ?? new guy, his name escapes me, Mens Traditional Senior – ??whoops, did it again, and Ladies Traditional winner – Lady Jane!
Overall winners for Wild Bunch were, Last Chance Morales and Idaho Six Gun Sam.
Congratulations to all participants!!!
Tomorrow is another fun packed day. Til then, these weary feet must make there way to bed.
Silverton is certainly a lot quieter of a morning before the first train arrives. Locals were up, the famous Blair Street (which is still dirt, is being rolled for the day and some shops begin to open in readiness.
After breakfast at The Brown Bag, we took off again on another cloudless sunny blue skied day winding further into the mountains.
We made a quick stop at Molas Pass and were pleasantly surprised that at 10,910ft it wasn’t as cool as we had expected. The views were just incredible and Jack stood still long enough for me to get an uninterrupted panoramic pic.
Continuing our way down the mountain into Durango, we encounter a mountain goat just wandering ahead of the tow truck. Horns blast and the goat decides to move but thinks it would be smart to venture back in front of us. He eventually gets out of the way with the truck behind us giving him a good blast also!
We arrived into Durango and first things first, located a boot repairer to fix my shooting boots. I didn’t think it would get done but when I finally located Mervin, with the help of the young guy from Browns Shoe Fit, he was more than happy to have them and would ensure they were done in speedy time.
The rest of the afternoon, we spent wandering in and out of shops and pubs, looking at remarkable old hotels and buildings before checking in at the motel.
We spent the evening with Singin’ Sue, Shanley Shooter, Wooden Nichols and Marilyn for dinner and entertainment at the Bar D Wranglers Chuckwagon.
These guys are an absolute hoot, very funny, amazing entertainers and the greatest voices and harmonies to be found. Totally over fed, totally entertained. Was an awesome evening.
We left our gracious hosts, Union Jack and Babe Ruthless, this morning to head for Ridgeway, Ouray and on to Silverton.
Leaving with a stunning view to the San Juan mountain ranges we headed out of town. Our first quick stop would be Ridgeway and the True Grit Cafe. The scene from the original True Grit with John Wayne playing Marhsal Rooster Cogburn, takes a ruffian and boots him out of the space marked as Chambers Groceries.
True Grit Cafe boasts the sign ‘Chambers Groceries’ that was used in the film and is a tribute to John Wayne, offering great food and a view to much memorabilia. However!! Again, we arrive and it is closed!! We kept thinking it was Monday’s it was closed but must be Tuesday’s which was soooooo frustrating!! So no, we still have not seen the inside of the True Grit Cafe.
We continued on our way to Ouray. Its scenery is often referred to as the Switzerland of America and of course is just stunning and one of my favourite places to go through. With its many historic buildings lining Main Street, I am just in awe of the secrets these must hold every time we visit. Of course we couldn’t go past the O’Briens Irish Pub without a pint of Guiness!
In the mid to late 1800’s, miners came to Ouray for silver and gold. It has hot springs that are still used today and along the Million Dollar Highway the view back to the valley in Ouray was featured in the opening credits of the Netflix series The Ranch. One of Jack’s and my favorites with Sam Elliott of a non-cowboy film nature.
We continued up the winding roads climbing again to some 10,000ft and dropping down into Silverton which sits at 9,318ft above sea level. We found a motel for the night and walked up the street to the sounds of the steam train.
The Durango-Silvertown Narrow Gauge Railway runs on a 3ft (914mm) wide track along 45.2m (72.7km) between the two Colorado towns. We have done this trip before but the sound of the whistle just draws you in!
We got up to the depot but she is turned around and ready for departure back to Durango. Still such a spectacular site and sound.
Wandering in and out of shops, we headed for the Handlebars Saloon. This place we have also been to on other occasions and is definitely the place to go when in Silverton. Handlebars has relocated from behind the Indian Store to its new location on Greene Street, the main street in town.
It still boasts its usual paraphernalia of taxidermy, weird signs and humor!! It has not lost its uniqueness at all and the food is still outstanding!
Back to the Motel for time out and a rest! Tomorrow we will head down through to Durango.