by Redhorse

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                The 25th Anniversary of the Jim Bowie Days/Menard Trail Ride was held September 29 thru October 2, 2012.  It served as a reunion for many riders and Menard residents.  Gene & Doris Crisp were honored with a belt buckle from their Grandson, Emmitt Crisp, and the trailriders in attendance.  This writer prepared video containing photos from the first ride thru 2011.

                Frequently, in the past 25 years, the trailriders brought rains to Menard.  This year was no exception. A steady, gentle rain fell off and on for over 24 hours.  Many ranchers had just put in crops, and the timing was perfect.

                Saturday morning, Trailboss, Emmitt Crisp led a handful of riders out in the pouring rain to the Kothmann Ranch.  Later that afternoon, riders headed out to Kothmann’s again, but endured gentler mist.  Sunday the ride headed to the Menard Cowboy Church.  Following the service, the parishioners provided a delicious lunch.

                Sunday afternoon, a group of riders explored the old pecan bottom, on the north side of the San Saba River.  This location served as the Camp for several years in the early 1990’s.  Deer were sharing the ride with us.  We discovered a short cut to the Country Club and Golf Course; without impacting the golfers.  As we approached the SANTA CRUZ DE SAN SABA MISSION, we met John Cook from Bastrop, Texas.  He is with the Texas Historical Society, Friends of Fort McKavett and President of the Friends of The Lost Pines State Parks. He was working on a photo project and requested our group to enter the Mission single file for photos.  Rarely trailriders turn down such an exciting invitation!

                The residents of Menard, as always, were generous and welcoming.  The Dutch Oven Cookers were on hand again with their mouth-watering dishes of cobblers, biscuits, meatloaf and chili.  Sunday night’s Pot-Luck supper was followed by the drawing for Pasture Prizes and some western swing music by local musicians.

                Monday found riders and the lone wagon circling through town to visit the Nursing Home and School children.  Several senior citizens were on the porch glad to see the riders and buckboard.  The students let out a group “YEEHAW” as riders passed. Then the ride headed out to the Martin Ranch.  A young doe was sharing the same highway easement with riders and a game fence.  Riders held up so she could scoot her way past us.  The usually running, rock bottom creek was mostly dry but the dammed area was full.  Lorrie Phillips was sure wishing for her fishing pole!

                We gathered on the shady patio of the Jose Lopez home for lunch.  We will always fondly remember the delicious, fresh tortillas and cookies that Mrs. Lopez had waiting on our arrival each year.  She now spends a lot of time between her son and daughter’s homes.  Occasionally, she and Jesus will stay at the ranch a couple of days.

                Of course, the Menard Trail Ride isn’t complete until the BBQ and Dance at the American Legion, Post 378, on Monday evening.  Wayne Davis, Tommy Crisp, and several others cook brisket, cabrito (goat), chicken and sausage all day; others are making several kinds of salads, beans and desserts.  The spread is legendary and feeds a small army!

Following supper, a surprise entertainer was with the regular band; Justin Trevino. The cornmeal on the dance floor took a beating and buckles were polished brightly!  The 25th Menard Trail Ride Anniversary was a lot of fun and memorable.  Thanks to Gene & Doris Crisp for the memories and Congratulations to the new Trail Boss, Emmitt Crisp.  We look forward to another 25 years under his leadership!


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