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National Day of the Cowboy

July 24, 2014
Saturday, July 26

All trails lead to Abilene to celebrate the National Day of the Cowboy on Saturday, July 26 in Old Abilene Town. There will be gunfights, Can Can dances, live entertainment and living history demonstrations. From 10 am to 4 pm, there will be something for the whole family. Admission is free, however donations are welcomed.

This is the 10th Annual National Day of the Cowboy celebrated nationwide. Started in 2004, by the American Cowboy magazine, congress passed a solution claiming the fourth Saturday of July will be a day to celebrate the heritage of the American cowboy. President George Bush stated, "We celebrate the Cowboy as a symbol of the grand history of the American West. The Cowboy's love of the land and love of county are examples for all Americans."

On Saturday, July 26, Abilene will join the national celebration to honor the American Cowboy. Old Abilene Town will host an all-day program beginning at 10 am. There will be activities, programs, and entertainment throughout the day.

At 10 am and 2 pm the Abilene & Smoky Valley Railroad will run their National Historic 1919 ATSF Steam Locomotive. Rides will be $30 for adults (12 and over) and children (3-11) are $15. The steam locomotive will also run at 2 pm on Sunday.

At 10:30 am Dave Zerfas of Manhattan will perform. He will sing songs of the old west, cattle drives and Kansas ballads. Also performing will be Ernie Masden, a cowboy poet and storyteller at 12:15 pm and 3 pm and Harold "Trail Song Willie" Williams will sing trail songs at 2:25 pm.

The gunfights will take place at 11:30 am, 1:30 pm, and 3:30 pm on Saturday. On Sunday the times will be 1:30 pm and 3:30 pm.

The Can Can Dancers will perform in the Alamo Saloon at 12 pm, 1 pm and 2 pm on Saturday. They will also perform on Sunday at 1 pm, 2 pm and 3 pm. While in Alamo you may enjoy a cold refreshing sarsaparilla and other snacks.

The cattle drive history is very important to Abilene. This is what put Abilene on the map. In 1867 Joseph McCoy came west looking for a suitable location to build a stockyards and chose Abilene. In the years 1867 through 1871 over one and a half million head of longhorn cattle were driven from Texas to Abilene up the trail which became known as the Chisholm Trail.

This is what started the cattle drive era which lasted from 1867 to 1885. Thousands of young men rode the trails and visited the cattle towns like Abilene. This short time is when many of the legends of the Old West were born. So on Saturday, July 26 come and celebrate the Old West in Abilene.

Throughout Saturday there will also be living history demonstrations and stage coach rides. The stage coach rides are $5 per adult (12 and over) and children (3-11) $2.

Starting at 11:00 am through 2 pm a special "cowboy" lunch will be served at the Hitching Post Restaurant located in Old Abilene Town.

So head your herd to Abilene and celebrate the National Day of the Cowboy in Old Abilene Town where the "Trail Ends and the Legends Begin." For more information call 785-479-0952.


Tags: Kansas news

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