Medora to Deadwood Wagon and Trail Ride
The Medora to Deadwood Wagon and Trail Ride will conclude the last leg of the journey this summer. The northern route will begin at the Niemi Ranch near Buffalo, S.D., Aug. 31, 2013, and end in Medora, N.D., on Sept. 7, 2013. The southern route from Buffalo to Deadwood was completed last year. Proceeds from the ride will benefit Deadwood History’s Days of ’76 Museum, Deadwood, S.D., and the Billings County Museum, Medora, N.D.
During the late nineteenth century in the west, all roads led to Deadwood. The site of one of America’s last great gold rushes, Deadwood attracted thousands of men and women from all walks of life. Hearing the reports of gold in the Black Hills, aristocratic French nobleman Marquis de Mores established his own stage line from Medora to Deadwood in 1884. He charged 10 cents per mile. 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 for team changes and passenger breaks. While some passengers may have been keen on getting rich in the gold rush, many historians believe the stage was used by job seekers and tourists to shuttle between the two cities from 1884 to 1886. In 2013, modern day trail riders will once again relive the journey.
Leona Odermann, Billings County Museum manager and Medora Area Conventions and Visitors Bureau CEO, is helping to organize the trail ride. “This once in a lifetime experience allows wagons and horseback riders to cross over the area National Grasslands and endure the terrain stage coaches dealt with in an earlier era,” said Odermann.
The 2013 Medora to Deadwood Wagon and Trail Ride Committee includes Linda and Ray Gilbert, Gordon and Lil O’Dell, Kim Shade, Leona and James Odermann, Kathy Miller, Gregg and Nadine Radtke, Bob and Doreen Folske, Jon Mattson, Doug Ellison and Karin Savoie. Ray and Linda Gilbert will be the lead wagon with Dick Herman, Leroy Dean and Kim Shade as the trail bosses.
Sponsors of the ride include: North Dakota Tourism, Chateau deMores State Historical Society, Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation, Whiting Oil, Dan’s Supermarket, Stockmen’s Livestock Exchange Inc., National Grasslands and Badlands and MBI. Registrations have been steady and are nearing the total of 300 applicants. There are a few openings left. Registration forms can be found at http://www.daysof76museum.com or by calling Karin Savoie at 605-578-1657.
– Deadwood History, Inc.