3-week cattle drive kicks off near Caldwell

? The history of Kansas will come alive in the next three weeks, as Texas Longhorns and other horned cattle are driven across part of the state to celebrate Kansas’ 150th anniversary.

The event began Saturday, with about 200 cattle gathered in a pasture south of Caldwell near the Kansas-Oklahoma border. On Labor Day, at least seven drovers will round up the herd and start the 200-mile journey to Ellsworth in central Kansas.

The herd will grow to about 400 head as the drive continues, said Dennis Katzenmeier, of Ellsworth, one of the event organizers. Extreme drought in southern Kansas meant the herd had to be smaller at the beginning and grow as the drive gets into grass country, he said.

From Caldwell, the cattle will be driven northwest to Kingman on the old Ellsworth/Cox Cattle Trail.

The herd will be driven through Kingman on Friday, then on to Ellinwood, where a procession is planned Sept. 17.

Several cow camps will be staged along the way, The Salina Journal reported. The only cow camp not open to the public is the first stop in Ellsworth County because it is on the range and hard to get to, Katzenmeier said.

The drive will include a trail boss, Mike Clover, of Kingman, who is in charge of two chuckwagons, four cooks, seven drovers, seven guest drovers and a string of horses.

Special events are planned at each town and several of the cow camps before the cattle hit the end of the trail with a parade through downtown Ellsworth on Sept. 24.

A number of activities are planned in Ellsworth beginning Sept. 23, including music entertainers, a Texas Hold ’em poker tournament, food booths, re-enactors and other western attractions. An “End of the Trail” concert will be held Sept. 24

The herd will be loaded onto semitrailers on the morning of Sept. 25.

“It would be nice if they could be loaded onto a railroad cattle car like the good ol’ days,” Katzenmeier said. “They don’t have those anymore.”