125th wagon train route finalized
PIERRE — The route has been set for the 125th anniversary wagon train. The wagon train will start in Yankton, home of the Dakota Territory Capital, on Sept. 3 and end at the state Capitol in Pierre on Sept. 20.
"Traveling in a wagon train for 15 to 17 miles a day is hard work, but it's also a lot of fun making new friends on the ride and along the route," said wagon train organizer Gerald Kessler, who has participated in over 90 wagon trains.
The route includes stops in 13 towns and several pastures as the wagon train makes its way on roads and cross country.
Each evening when the wagon train stops, local landowners and historians will present a history of the local area. Communities and civic groups will be sponsoring evening meals and events so locals can see the wagon train up close and visit with wagon train participants.
The wagon train is being sponsored by the South Dakota Draft Horse and Mule Association. The total cost per participant is $125, regardless of whether the participant is riding for one day or all 17 days. The wagon train will supply a wagon master, outriders, toilets, water and buses to move vehicles each evening. Participants must supply their own equipment, animals, food, livestock feed and other traveling necessities. All fees and donations will be used to defray the costs of the wagon train.
Thirty-six wagons and 84 people have already signed up for the wagon train from eight states — South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin and Kentucky.
Those who would like to participate must apply online. The route map and application can be found at http://125.sd.gov. For more information, contact Gerald Kessler at 605-223-2313.