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A golden opportunity for all ages

By Bev Barr BCC Editor

The South Texas Chapter of the Great Western Cattle Trail Association in cooperation with the Bandera County Historical Commission and the Frontier Times Museum has prepared a wonderful opportunity for history-lovers to convene, socialize, listen to and learn from one another. Also, several entertaining and knowledgeable speakers are scheduled to participate in Bandera this weekend. Originally, the special events scheduled for Friday through Sunday were planned to support the GWCTA’s annual convention, but for reasons unavailable at this time, the national convention will not be convening in Bandera at this time.
Disappointing as the news may be to those who worked so hard to make the national convention happen, the efforts of scores of volunteers in the above mentioned organizations have created a golden opportunity for people interested in the cattle trails of yore to hear and meet with special guest speakers such as Bruce Shackleford, the historian of PBS Antique Roadshows fame, Dr. Frank Norris of the National Park Service, Sylvia Mahoney, author of “Finding the Great Western Trail,” and Dr. Stuart Rosebrook, the senior editor of True West Magazine.
And as a reminder, the Bandera County Historical Commission has placed markers along cattle trails at different locations, including Doan’s Crossing in northern Wilbarger County; at Bandera Pass, north of Bandera on Hwy. 173 North; at Quihi Pass on 173 South; and at the intersection of Hwy. 173 North and Old Upper Mason Creek Road, just 6 miles north of Bandera. The commission also has placed a historic story marker about the cattle trail in the Western Heritage City Park on Main Street in Bandera.
According to historian Mahoney, the last major Texas cattle trail proved usable for 19 years, from 1874-1893. And the 2,000-mile Great Western Cattle Trail is the longest cattle trail of all, originating in northern Mexico, with longhorns and horses gathered from both sides of the Rio Grande River, and going all the way up to the Canadian border. Drovers trailed more than 7 million head of cattle to stock open-range ranches and fulfill government military and reservation contracts.
South Texas Chapter President Ray Carter will welcome guests during a social event, from 6 to 8 pm, Thursday, Aug. 3, at the Western Trail Antiques and Marketplace, 200 Main St., in Bandera. All are invited.
Join your fellow historians for the following special events:
• Dr. Frank Norris, a nationally recognized historian with the US Department of the Interior and the National Park Service, will provide the keynote speech during lunch, at 11:30 am, Friday, Aug. 4, at the Flying L Hill Country Resort. The cost is $25 for lunch.
• On Friday afternoon there will be two highly informative and interesting sessions available to anyone who wants to attend. FREE.
• At 1:30 pm, Bruce Shackelford will lead a session about cattle entrepreneurs.
• At 3 pm, Sylvia Gan Mahoney will tell the story of finding the Great Western Cattle Trail, marking it and describing the unique community experiences along the way
• At 6 pm, Friday, Dr. Stuart Rosebrook, from True West magazine, will be the dinner speaker. Dinner will cost $25.
• On Sunday there will be a tour of San Antonio, including stops at the Witte Muscum, Briscoe Art Museum and lunch at the Buckhorn Saloon.
For more information, call Ray Carter, 361-564-6795.
For more information, visit the Bandera County Convention and Visitors Bureau, 126 State Highway 16 South, in Bandera, or call 830-796-3045; or call Ray Carter at 361-564-6795.