Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Life on the Trail

At the height of our rambunctious Salt Grass Trail we were growing without restrictions. This caused some problems. One year with 3,000 loosely controlled riders we approached Waller and paralyzed the main highway. It took us three hours to cross the Brazos River Bridge. On the other side someone had opened up a gate but it was framed by barbed wire on the posts. One old timer from Sealy made a run for the gate and was crowded into the barbed wire by some younger boisterous riders. He was taken to the emergency room where his injury required nine stitches. In downtown Waller someone threw an empty beer can onto the lawn of the Baptist preacher's house. All of these things led to bad publicity and the necessity for the board of directors to tighten up. We had a turbulent meeting and ended up issuing some strict rules. Among them was no open alcohol containers, necessity to sign up with a group, limits on the number of riders with one group, and other rules. This ended up with most groups being centered around a covered wagon. Some ambitious riders even entered with their own covered wagon. One of these wagons was driven by Pat Flaherty of Channel 2. Pat usually gave the evening news at the TV station. He was a veteran of World War II who was captured in the Phillipines and tortured. He was handicapped in one arm but his mind was strong and he had been in the TV business a long time.

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