Old West history comes alive during on 52nd annual Wagon Train
“Go West, young man. Go West!”
Fortunately going West in 2001 does not entail the hardships the real pioneers endured, however modern day pioneers return to the 1850s for 10 days during the Highway 50 Association’s 52nd annual Wagon Train.
Bearded mountain men dressed in buckskins join this historic “granddaddy of Wagon Trains” through the rugged Sierra Nevada just as mountain men did nearly 150 years ago.
The Highway 50 Wagon Train rounded up in Dayton, Nev., on Wednesday and headed to Carson City’s Fuji Park. From there it travels up Spooner Summit Friday, June 1 and spends the night and Saturday at Spooner Lake Campground.
Sunday, the authentically costumed travelers make their way to the Horizon Casino Resort to join the Wild West Celebration. Wagon Train is scheduled to leave Spooner Lake Campgrounds at 9 a.m., make a rest stop at Glenbrook, a lunch stop at Zephyr Cove around 11:30 a.m., another rest stop at Round Hill and arrive at the Horizon at approximately 2 p.m.
The Horizon will host black powder and tomahawk demonstrations, the Sidewinders Wild West Gun Show, Western Dance Exhibition and more. A Western barbecue takes place from 2 to 5 p.m., with live music from 4 to 7:30 p.m. The public is invited to join the fun and meet the colorful folks who keep history alive.
Traveling with Wagon Train is an inexpensive vacation, according to the Diana Newborn, this year’s wagon master. Daily registration for those who would like to ride in one of the wagons is $15 per person plus $15 to the wagon owner. Maximum registration is $200 per family for the whole trip.
People from all over the country ride the Highway 50 Wagon Train. Even the late John Wayne has ridden as well as the cast of “Good Morning America.”
For the past two years, home-schooled children join the trek for a day at a time to complete their California history lessons, complete with living history demonstrations and cooking dinner in a massive kettle over an open pit fire, just like their forefathers.
“We need to keep our heritage alive.” said Vi Tara, event coordinator. “It’s one thing to read about history but it’s another thing to stand there and touch it, see it, feel it, experience it.
“Keeping Wagon Train alive is so important for our children and everyone is encouraged to ride with us, even if it’s only for one day,” Tara said.
The Wagon Train ends in Coloma June 9 and 10 with two days of living history programs, demonstrations, a barbecue and street dance and family oriented programs.
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