April 2010

Chuckwagon Races Return to Bandera
Chuckwagon Races Return to Bandera
By Karen Brown

This April the Hill Country will be hopping in more ways than one thanks to a one of a kind chuckwagon racing and rodeo event hosted by 2E Twin Elm Guest Ranch located in Bandera, TX. Beginning Saturday April 10th, the popular dude ranch will open its gates to campers and cowboys alike, allowing anyone with a tent, trailer or RV, a spot on the ranch to enjoy the week-long festivities. Ranch horses will be available for guided horseback rides but 2E Twin Elm encourages everyone to bring their own horses, as the ranch’s many trails will be open to private campers and their equine friends
The main event kicks off Friday April 16th with a classic “Dude Ranch Rodeo” at the Twin Elm arena, featuring events like a Shovel Race and Side Saddle Skidaddle. Come early for a trail ride through the town of Bandera and an afternoon of horseback games at the arena. Finish off the day with live music and dancing.

Get your roadside seat Saturday morning for the Main Street Parade of Chuckwagons and cowboys and girls aplenty. The headline event of the weekend is two sessions of fast and furious chuckwagon racing, starting at 1pm on Saturday and Sunday. Thirty one teams from as far away as Montana will be racing in head to head matches in the only Open race of its kind in Texas. The Bull Bash and Team Penning will be held on Saturday evening, April 17th.

Chuckwagon RacesThe chuckwagon races will be held in open pasture and wagons will compete in different categories based on the type of chuckwagon and pulling animals. The course covers a lot of ground and is a horseshoe design with the infield open to spectators on horseback.  Race categories include three wagon classifications:  the racing wagon, buggies and buckboards, and the Oklahoma land rush wagon. The main difference is in the weight of the wagons.  Each team consists of a driver, cook, and an outrider who races alongside the wagon on his own horse.  The outrider must cross the finish line before the nose of the team. The tent, cookstove, driver and cook must be in the wagon as it crosses the finish line.

“This is not something people have really seen in this area before,” says ranch head ‘Cap’n Kury’ Hearnsberger, the Chuckwagon race organizer. Hearnsberger is the man responsible for bringing Arkansas’ famous sport to the Lone Star State. Twin Elm hosted an event like this once before in 2003, but a seven year hiatus from the ranch for Cap’n ended the event after the first year. Chuckwagon races
Now the seasoned cowboy and Chuckwagon aficionado is back and he’s bringing the races with him, much to the delight of Bandera locals. Cap’n has been attending Arkansas’ National Chuckwagon Race Finals for the last 15 years to revisit this age old pastime and help keep it alive. Familiar to the Midwest, most of the weekend’s teams will be traveling from states like Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri. But Texas is prime territory for a race of this kind.

Cap’n Kury and Mz. Victoria have brought together the finest the sport has to offer with the best in Hill Country hospitality to ensure the cowboy tradition is alive and well for one week in April.  “We have something to offer all week long, from organized trail rides to barrel racing, pole bending, mutton bustin’ and calf scrambles,” Cap’n declares. In addition, guests of the ranch can look forward to dance bands, classic ranch cooking and a bevy of western vendors and educational clinics. Not to mention the ranch’s many regular attractions like beautiful trails and scenic views along the Medina River. Along with ample camping, the ranch’s rooms and cabins will all be available for reservations. Showers and toilet facilities will be made available to campers but electrical and water hook-ups will not. $10 a day per person will win you a prime camping spot, Non-Stop Cowboy Fun and a welcome seat at everything the ranch has to offer during this annual event.

Twin Elm Guest Ranch is located on FM470 just north of Bandera off Highway 16 North.  For questions, reservations or to learn more contact 2E Twin Elm Guest Ranch at 830-796-3628 or 888-567-3049. The tentative schedule of events can be viewed online at www.twinelmranch.net.

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