Usually when we tour around a new destination it requires one of us to do the driving. This makes it difficult to truly enjoy the sights. That is one of the reasons we strive to park and walk most of the time, as it helps us get a better lay of the land. In Dodge city we had the opportunity to take a trolley tour, which would offer a great overview of the city. As we headed out of the CVB parking lot, we found ourselves rolling through Dodge City in style.
We want to thank the Dodge City CVB for their hospitality. Rest assured that all opinions are our own.
On Your Left…
Our tour guide, Steve, seemed well versed on not only the layout of the city, but also some interesting tidbits of history. During the next hour, he would share many of these with the group. We find it helpful to get a local’s viewpoint, since they will usually know much more than what can be gleaned from a brochure. Our air-conditioned coach was a welcome relief from the July heat, and soon we were all comfortably scanning the horizon for the points of interest Steve was showing us.
Dodge City has a colorful past that is tied to some famous cowboy names, real and fictional. A statue of Marshall Dillon, from the show Gunsmoke, can be found just outside of the Visitors Bureau building. The bigger than life replica of James Arness, the actor who portrayed Matt Dillon, stands watch over what was at one time the “Deadline”. This unseen, but well observed line separated the rowdy cowboys from the more respectable residents of Dodge City.
Dodge City has and is a cow town. They have embraced this title and it has served them well. Since the cattle drives of the late 1800’s, this city has been a welcome sight to trail weary cowboys. Along the Front Street area we came upon this statue that commemorates the importance of the Texas Longhorns. These hardy cattle were driven by droves up the Chisholm Trail to the awaiting merchants in Dodge City. This species was introduced to the lands in the 1500’s, when Spanish travelers began exploring the New World.
As our tour continued, Steve took us out to the large cattle lots that sit on the edge of the city. As we rode along, he explained the importance of this business for Dodge City, as well as the entire beef eating country. A quick stop by a large field yielded a picture perfect moment of a pair of longhorns. This calf seemed curious about our arrival, but didn’t dare wander from its mother’s side.
Everyone Loves A Parade
Dodge City Days was a perfect time to make our visit. This annual event lasts for over a week and is filled with fun events. One that we made sure to catch was the Dodge City Days Parade. Our contact at the Dodge City CVB (Convention and Visitors Bureau) had clued us in on a good spot for viewing. After grabbing some coffee at a nearby shop, we made our way to our roost. Before long we saw the long line of entrants begin to arrive. Obviously there were plenty of riders on horseback. I mean, after all this is Dodge City!
It seems like just about everybody in the city showed up for this event. They were either one of the hundreds of participants or they were standing along the curb watching. Everyone seemed to know at least a few of the people in the parade and we would occasionally hear shouts of acknowledgement. We enjoy seeing this camaraderie of neighbors showing pride in their city.
Welcome Back To The Past
Not everyone was on horseback. Some walked or rode on floats. There were plenty who ran along the edges of the streets, mingling with the crowds. Candy was tossed and handed out. Political flyers were dispersed and lots of “Hey! Haven’t seen you in a while!” comments were made. Periodically we would catch sight of some vintage vehicles as they passed our location. Cruising along the brick streets made them seem like they had traveled back in time to the days when they were new.
Something For Everyone
During the parade we also saw a few unexpected sights. A skywriter soared overhead, drawing attention away from the passing floats. After a few passes, most went back to the main attraction. When a miniature van came along, we were sure it must be remote controlled. You can imagine our surprise when we saw a head popping out from it. This was certainly an attention getter and very popular with the kids. The hot summer day gave plenty of reasons for some floats of kids to spray water on the gathered crowds, as they passed. It appears to be a common occurrence, since most welcomed the cooling spray.
We were quickly discovering that Dodge City has tons to see and do and lots of it is in the great outdoors. The downtown is amazingly walk-able, which we loved. It allowed us a chance to see all of the beautiful details in the sculptures, as well as checking out the architecture of the city. During our time at the parade, we struck up conversation with some locals beside us. It reconfirmed what many have discovered. The people of the Central U.S. are some of the friendliest and most inviting that can be found. That alone is enough of a reason to make your plans for a Dodge City visit. Of course, you will also get the added bonus of seeing an actual city that has ties back to the Wild West. Yeehaw! Did you like this article? Leave us a comment letting us know what you think about it!