Riders wanted for Medora to Deadwood Trail RideAn historic trail ride connecting two Dakota towns rich in history and lore begins the last half of the route this summer.
An historic trail ride connecting two Dakota towns rich in history and lore begins the last half of the route this summer.
The historic Medora to Deadwood, S.D. trail took riders from North Dakota’s western buttes and Little Missouri River country to the wild west town of Deadwood in South Dakota’s Black Hills in the late 1880s.
Now, modern day trail riders have a chance to retrace the same path, according to a press release.
The southern route from Buffalo, S.D., to Deadwood was completed from Aug. 25 to Sept.1.
The northern route will be from Buffalo, S.D., to Medora, beginning in Buffalo on Aug. 31, and ending in Medora Sept. 7.
While travelers In the 1880s took the journey in one shot, present-day organizers are splitting the lengthy trek into two segments in hopes of enticing even more horsemen and women to make the journey.
The 1880s were a time in the west when all roads led to Deadwood for the gold rush, brought to light by Gen. George Armstrong Custer’s army and the get-rich-overnight reports of miners from all walks of life.
Hearing the reports, aristocratic French nobleman Marquis de Mores established his own stage line from Medora to Deadwood. He charged 10 cents a mile. The route followed the Badlands to the Black Hills and Deadwood.
Relay stations were set up every 10 to 15 miles along the route for team changes and passenger breaks. Perhaps some of the passengers were keen on getting rich in the gold rush, but many historians believe this stage was used mainly as a tourism shuttle between two western cities from 1884 to 1886. In 2013, visitors can once again be part of the journey, according to the press release.
The Billings County Museum and North Dakota Tourism have teamed up to facilitate this historic reenactment ride. One of the organizers of the ride is Kim Shade of Medora, who ranches south of the original trail near Medora.
Shade and his family are helping to organize the trail ride.
“Men and women risked a lot back in the day to travel from Medora to Deadwood,” he said. “The risk-versus-reward scenario was likely not much of a consideration for these travelers. It’s quite enticing to say the least. I am excited about the opportunity to revisit the history of the original trail, which passed near our ranch.”
Shade and other organizers are looking for teams and riders to join them on this ride. The Billings County Museum and Medora Area Convention and Visitors Bureau are coordinating the North Dakota entries. North Dakota Tourism has provided a grant to support this reenactment.
The ride is a joint effort of the Days of ’76 Museum in Deadwood and the Billings County Museum in Medora. Registration forms can be found at www.medorand.com or www.daysof76
More information is available by calling the Billings County Museum at 701-623-4830 or the Days of ’76 Museum at 605-578-1657.