Medora-to-Deadwood Trail Ride departing Aug. 25

DEADWOOD, SD – A trail ride connecting historical gems – Medora, N.D. and Deadwood, S.D. begins Saturday, Aug. 25 in Buffalo, SD. More than 125 riders have registered, leaving just a few spots open for riders wanting to participate in this historical trail route.

Aug. 25, begins the southern route of the trip, which takes participants from Buffalo into Deadwood. The second leg – Medora to Buffalo – will take place next summer. The kick-off celebration will be held at the Tipperary Arena in Buffalo with a meal and cowboy music at Buffalo High School on Friday afternoon and evening, Aug. 24. Wagons and riders will leave Buffalo at 6 a.m. on Saturday, August 25. Other overnight stops along the way include the Ray and Linda Gilbert ranch (ride organizers) south of Buffalo, SD, the Gary Clanton Ranch north of Redig, SD, the John Johnson Ranch near the Moreau River, the Ron Stempke Ranch near the Center of the Nation and Belle Fourche and Spearfish. Programs for the participants will be held nightly as well, at each stop, including music, historians and other entertainment.

The wagons will arrive in Deadwood on Saturday, Sept. 1, with a planned arrival at 2 p.m., when riders will parade down Deadwood’s Main Street before a trail’s end event at the new Days of ‘76 Museum, including a Badlands Circuit Final steer roping and ranch rodeo event. Awards will be given out to trail riders after the rodeo at the Days of ‘76 Museum.

Ray and Linda Gilbert will be the lead wagon the trip and Dick Herman and Leroy Dean are the trail bosses. Hand-picked outriders will assist, and the route is mostly void of blacktop roads.

This historic trail ride connects two Dakota towns rich in history and lore. In the 1880s, the Medora-to-Deadwood Trail took stagecoach, wagon and horseback travelers from the western buttes and Little Missouri River country of what is now North Dakota to the Wild West town of Deadwood in the Black Hills. While this trail ride will be done in two parts, travelers in the 1880s did the journey in one shot.

The 1880s were a time in the West when all roads led to Deadwood. In the wake of the Custer Expedition’s 1874 Black Hills gold discovery, fortune-seekers from all walks of life came streaming to Deadwood. French nobleman Marquis de Mores established his own stage line from Medora to Deadwood. He charged 10 cents a mile, and the route took the stage to Deadwood, through the Black Hills and to the Badlands. Relay stations were set up every 10 to 15 miles along the route for team changes and passenger breaks. Perhaps some of the passengers were keen on getting rich in the gold rush, but many historians believe this stage was used mainly as a tourism shuttle between the two Western cities between 1884 and 1886.

This trail ride will benefit the Days of ‘76 Museum in Deadwood, one of the largest museums dedicated to preserving the West. Registration forms can be found at or by calling the Museum at (605) 578-1657.