Festival to honor Chisholm Trail’s history

One hundred fifty years ago, herders drove their cattle from Texas to Kansas, using a well-worn path from southeren Texas to south-central Kansas.

It was known as the Chisholm Trail.

Thousands of cattle were pushed north, leaving behind a path scarred with wagon marks and worn hooves.

Saturday, Canadian County will celebrate that history.

Officials with Express Ranch, just north of Yukon, say their land was part of the historic trail. They will mark that history with a festival that includes a trail ride.

Express Ranch is owned by local entrepreneur Bob Funk. It sits in the direct path of the Chisholm Trail.

Doug Sauter, with Express Ranch, said the festival will begin at about 8 a.m. with the trail ride.

Sauter said more than 100 riders are expected to gather at OKC West and ride to Express Ranch, which is about nine miles away. There is a $20 per rider fee, he said.

Proceeds from the trail ride will be donated to the Chisholm Trail Historical Society for the construction of a church on the town front.

Once there, a festival is planned. It is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m., Sauter said. It will end around 4:30 p.m.

A miniature version of the Chisholm Trail is planned on the ranch along with a with a variety of activities.

More than 100 booths are planned, many from towns that were part of the Chisholm Trail.

In addition, there will be music, food trucks, photo opportunities and the Express Clydesdale barn will be open.

Sauter said Lyric Theater will be at the event, performing portions of “Oklahoma!” and “The Will Rogers Follies.”

“There will be entertainment all day long,” he said.

Sauter said the event is a way to celebrate Funk’s love of history.

A small pavilion on the ranch’s property includes a bronze statue of Funk. Less than 50 feet away, a large marker indicates the property was part of the Chisholm Trail.

“This the first year, and we’re doing it because it is the 150th anniversary,” he said.

Sauter said he hope everyone will dress in period attire, to give the event an historic feel.

“It’s more for the children than anything else. Give them experiences,” he said.

Children’s events include things like branding, roping, leather making and sack racing,” Sauter said.

All of the activities are free.

Sauter said this is the first time they have attempted this type of festival.

It was Funk’s idea, and a way to honor history.

“Bob has been very passionate about the trail. He likes the history,” Sauter said.

Sauter said he also is passionate about honor thing past

“I like to recognize and honor history. The Chisholm Trail was a big part of Oklahoma. It running through Express Ranch is a very unique situation. … This is a very historic site and we’ve made it special,” he said.

For more information about the trail ride or the event, contact Sauter at 613-5588.

“It’s going to be a great day,” he said.

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