Sumner County Historical and Genealogical Society to host ‘Head ‘Em Up and Move ‘Em Out’ tonight

first_imgSubmitted to Sumner Newscow — Sumner County Historical and Genealogical Society will host “Head ‘Em Up and Move ‘Em Out,” a presentation and discussion by Jim Gray on May 23rd at 6:30 p.m.  at Good Taste Chinese Buffet, 1311 E. 16th St., Wellington.  Buffet available from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m.; business meeting at 6:00 p.m.  Members of the community are invited to attend the free program. Contact Sherry Kline, Vice President of the Sumner County Historical & Genealogical Society at 316-833-6161 for more information. The program is made possible by the Kansas Humanities Council.Jim Gray is the Trail Boss for the Chisholm Trail ’17 Cattle Drive celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the Chisholm Trail.  Gray is a sixth-generation Kansan, executive director of the National Drovers Hall of Fame, Board Member of the Smoky Hill Trail Association, co-founder of the COWBOY (Cockeyed Old West Band of Yahoos) Society to promote and preserve Kansas’s cowboy heritage through the bi-monthly newspaper, Kansas Cowboy, and author of the newspaper column “The Way West,” and author of Desperate Seed:  Ellsworth Kansas on the Violent Frontier.According to Gray, the era of the Chisholm Trail followed the Civil War, and most of the cowboys were teen agers or in their early twenties. “By the time you were in your mid-twenties you were an old man on the trail,” Gray said, “it was a young man’s job.”At age 66, Gray doesn’t remember how many cattle drives he has been on.“It’d be hard to guess,” he said, “I’ve done it since I was old enough to get in the saddle.”And it won’t be Gray’s first time to drive cattle along the Chisholm Trail.  In 2011, he was in a long drive “from south of Caldwell to Ellsworth.”Next year, the cattle drive, organized by Gray and his fiancée Fontella Knowlton, will begin with the opening ceremony on April 1st, 2017, in San Antonio, Texas.It will arrive in Kansas on or around June 10th.Gray said that the herd of 300 to 400 Texas Longhorn cattle, supplied by the Texas Longhorn Breeder’s Association, will follow the Chisholm Trail through Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas, and travel more than 700 miles before the ending ceremony in Abilene, Kansas on July 1st.  According to Gray, the herd will stop for the weekend in Caldwell on June 10th, then travel north through Sumner County, going through or near Mayfield and Wellington, then on to Clearwater and spend the weekend of June 17th in Goddard.“Weather has always been an obstacle,” Gray said, “just like today, there was flooding, but back then there were no bridges to cross the rivers or creeks. Droughts created long distances between water holes for the cattle. There was lightening, and then there was no pick-up to jump into. There were late spring snow storms, too.”“Even some of the stampedes were weather related,” Gray said.According to Gray, the cattle drive era brought us the cowboys and cattle ranches that we know today, and the early days of ranching and trail driving required stamina and determination.“Ranching today is done from the seat of a pickup or cab of the tractor,” Gray said.The drover of yesteryear had little choice but to face the elements placed before him if he was to get his wild cattle to market. This presentation will explore how today’s massive beef industry owes its beginnings to the men and women who were bold enough to “head ‘em up and move ‘em out.”“The trail driving out of Texas was responsible for the spread of ranching throughout the United States,” Gray said, “those guys were the founders of our American cattle industry.”“In our modern world we often forget that the food we find on the shelf and in the cooler comes from our farms and ranches,” said Gray. “Beefsteak was once a steer on the hoof, and so it was 150 years ago when cowboys pointed their herds across the open plains to the railroad corrals of the Kansas cattle towns. The method of delivery has changed but the spirit of the cowboy will never change as long as cattle graze and beef is on the menu.”“Head ‘Em Up and Move ‘Em Out” is part of the Kansas Humanities Council’s Kansas Stories Speakers Bureau, featuring presentations and discussions that examine our shared human experience—our innovations, culture, heritage, and conflicts.The Kansas Humanities Council conducts and supports community-based programs, serves as a financial resource through an active grant-making program, and encourages Kansans to engage in the civic and cultural life of their communities.  For more information about KHC programs contact the Kansas Humanities Council at 785/357-0359 or visit online at www.kansashumanities.org.For more information about “Head ‘Em Up and Move ‘Em Out” in Wellington, Kansas contact President Jane Moore 620-447-3266 or Vice President Sherry Kline 316-833-6161 or visit www.ksschgs.com.Follow us on Twitter. Close Forgot password? 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