Monday, February 9, 2009

The Salt Grass Trail

Reese Lockett agreed to organize the Salt Grass Trail ride to publicize the Houston Fat Stock Show. He drafted E.H. Marks who lived near Houston and who furnished a covered wagon. A total of 7 riders made the first ride. The next year it grew to about 30 riders and 2 wagons. We slept on the ground, using bedrolls. It was a nice interlude. After that the Salt Grass Trail grew out of control. At its peak, riders got hurt, one woman got raped, and thousands of riders showed up. The climax occurred when someone threw an empty beer can into the front yard of a Baptist preacher near Hempstead. That was the year that more than 2,000 riders were counted, and an elderly rider was shoved into a barbed wire post, creating a gash that required nine stitches. At an emergency meeting it was ruled that riders must be assigned to a wagon, that the Harris County Sheriff's posse would provide law and order, and that large campgrounds would be provided. A total of 40 wagons showed up, and the trail ride became organized. The popularity of a three day ride from Brenham to Houston appealed to a lot of riders who had a horse but were not in great shape for riding. Politicians showed up, enticed by the publicity. The ride struck a chord in people's hearts. One year a couple got married on the trail.

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