Wagon train to retrace trail from Nebraska to South Dakota

SIDNEY, Neb. (AP) - A major piece of a western Nebraska town’s history will be commemorated when a wagon train retraces the Sidney to Deadwood, South Dakota, Trail.

More than 25 wagons and 150 trailblazers already have signed up to retrace a portion of the trail, from Ardmore, South Dakota, to Deadwood over nine days beginning Aug. 27. The Sidney to Deadwood section will be traveled next summer, The Sidney Sun-Telegraph (http://bit.ly/1JgfuHM ) reported.

Millions of pounds of goods were shipped by railway to Sidney in the 1870s and 1880s before being loaded onto wagon trains headed for bustling Deadwood. Others also joined the wagon trains in search of gold in the Black Hills.

This year’s trip will cover between 12 and 15 miles each day, which is consistent with what earlier travelers on the trail accomplished, said Sidney resident Ray Stokes, who’s helping with preparations for next year’s journey. Stokes, 76, said he won’t be able to make the trip from Ardmore to Deadwood, but is looking forward to participating next summer.

Mornings on the expedition will begin early with participants and horses eating a hearty meal before heading out. Once the horses are harnessed and hitched, the wagon master will give a signal to begin the day’s journey.

“He will make the determination when the train stops, when it lets the horses rest, whatever is needed,” Stokes said.

He said organizers try to make sure that all wagons travel together, similar to how “they did it in the old days.” The wagon train also offers participants a departure from the hustle and bustle of life today.

Beyond having a horse and knowing how to ride, Stokes said there aren’t any specific requirements for those considering joining the wagon train.

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