Wagon train goes on after fatal crashMan killed Thursday in accident was an organizer of event to memorialize Evans.
By: Ross Dolan, The Daily Republic
WESSINGTON SPRINGS — Kyle Evans’ 2001 death in a motorcycle-deer accident is being memorialized this week during the second annual Kyle Evans Memorial Wagon Train.
Thursday, another tragedy cast a pall over the event and required a memorial of its own.
Ron Ogren, the president of the wagon train organization, died when his tractor was struck by a fuel truck on state Highway 34 while he attempted to turn into a driveway about two miles west of Wessington Springs.
“We were going to cancel it, but we got notice from his wife Lynn to proceed with the event, because it’s what he lived for,” said fellow organizer Mark Reindl, who will be driving a covered wagon pulled by a team of palomino mares. “Now, it will be a celebration of his life.”
The event memorializes the late Kyle Fagerhaug, better known by his stage name of Kyle Evans. He was well-known throughout South Dakota for his many recordings, his band the Company Cowboys and his appointment in 1989 to serve as the state’s centennial troubadour. Elton Kaus, mounted Friday on his horse “Wrangler,” did his best to give an on-the-scene report.
“We had about 275 riders last year and it looks like we have all of that and a few more this year,” he said.
Wagons and riders, he said, were strung out along the 10-mile trail to Turtle Peak, northwest of Wessington Springs.
Wrangler broke in with a whinny. “He just wants to catch up with the rest,” Kaus said.
“It’s breezy and cool out here. Good for the horses.”
The day ended with a special memorial and musical program at base camp about three miles west of town.
Another 12-mile ride is planned for early today, followed by a parade through downtown Wessington Springs, and later tonight the 6:30 Bud Light Bull Bash at the Wessington Springs rodeo grounds. The parade is expected to roll in around 3 to 3:30 p.m. today, but that all depends on the horses.
Friday night’s trailside dinner was marked by a moment of silence and several songs sung in Ogren’s memory.
Singers at the Friday night base camp dinner included members of the original Company Cowboys: Lennis Fagerhaug, Brian Bergeleen and Dale Schimke.
The band has been playing together for more than 40 years.