160 People Travel By Horse And Wagon To Rodeo Kickoff

One group of wagon riders is making its annual trip from Harrison to Springdale for the Rodeo of the Ozarks.

The John Henry Shaddox Wagon Train is in its 37th year. Around 160 people traveling on horses and wagons are making the 100-mile journey this year.

“We have been riding for a couple of days,” said Dalton Lair.

“The weather has been mighty fantastic,” said Shorty Ozier. “I’ve got all of my friends here taking care of me.”

Jim Parker and his brother George have been part of this wagon train since it started back in 1977. Parker’s father-in-law is John Henry Shaddox.

“He said if it went on for ten years, he’d be happy,” said Jim Parker. “Now, its 37 years. He’s been dead for some time now, but it just keeps going.”

Each year, the trip begins in Harrison and ends in Springdale. The crew travels about 15 miles a day going an average of three miles per hour.

“Had some problems along a little bit of it,” Parker said. “We had a flat this morning, so had to change a tire.”

“We’ve been riding, been trotting and been galloping,” said Hayden Norman.

The travelers bring their own food, bathe in rivers and camp out at night to rest.

“I think my favorite part of this is when we are getting into camp and I have a good cold bud light,” Ozier said.

Many of them claim not to be as tough as the early pioneers, saying they are impressed by the endurance of those who carved the path to the West.

“We just can’t imagine how they did it,” Parker said.

The group will finish the final leg of their journey on Wednesday. They will travel from Blue Spring to Springdale for the Rodeo of the Ozarks Parade at 3 p.m.

The wagon train helps promote the Rodeo of the Ozarks and celebrate Independence Day.

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