Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Alabama Wagon Train prepares for 32nd annual ride to Montgomery, hopes it won't be the last - Full Story

February 21 2012
By Amber Acker,

Montgomery Alabama - -- In a few weeks, riding enthusiasts from around the country will gather for an annual horseback and wagon ride that tours the natural landscape of Alabama, starting in Talladega and ending at the state rodeo in Montgomery.

For a generation, the Alabama Wagon Train has culminated at the Southeastern Livestock Exposition and Rodeo, with participants forgoing modern transportation in exchange for the chance to experience travel in the style of their ancestors.

Now, the Alabama Wagon Train faces hard times. A lack of sponsors, traffic issues and other problems may prevent the tradition from continuing after this year.

The last founding member and "train boss," Don Thomas, is retiring and the Sand Mountain Saddle Ranch is no longer able to sponsor the ride.

The train started in 1980 when a group of five men in the Sand Mountain Saddle Club decided to ride in wagons and on horseback to the exposition and rodeo instead of driving. While at the time it just seemed a chance to bond with each other and their animals, the idea soon spawned into a tradition that attracted horse enthusiasts from around the country.

"They had an idea to try it out and just do something different that grew from 40 riders to 72 wagons and 1,200 horses," said assistant train boss Ronnie Jones...

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