Weather Doesn’t Dampen Spirit at Big Timber Gathering

     With a chuckwagon, campfire, and beautiful scenery right out of the Old West, you could almost see and hear the history of “The Big Timber” property located about halfway between Benkelman and Bird City last weekend. Tana and Darren Dale purchased the historical Cheyenne County land about a year ago. You drive about 10-miles south on Highway 61 from Benkelman. Just before you reach the Donahue Ranch above the “S” curves, there is a historical marker on the side of the Highway, a U.S. Calvary Campsite and oasis on the Indian Traders Trail between the Republican Forks and Fort Wallace. George Custer and the 7th Calvary was there in 1867. The 5th Infantry to aid Beecher Island and the 2nd Calvary searching for Indians. They all camped at The Big Timber Round Hole, protected by the Buffalo Kill Bluff. The Dales hosted, what they called the first annual, “A Gathering at Big Timber”, on Friday and Saturday near the location of the “Buffalo Kill Bluff”. Darren said the historical property was once owned by Benjamin Bird, the cattleman whom Bird City was named. They were able to buy the property last year and returned it to native grassland. He said they wanted to host an event to celebrate its history and as a social gathering to bring people together. They had a camp fire, music and games on Friday and a trail ride through the Big Timbers beautiful scenery on Saturday. On Saturday evening there was a chuckwagon potluck dinner under a big tent in the middle of the grassland. There was live music. A good crowd of people turned out. A severe thunderstorm with 80mph winds, lightning , and heavy rain moved in a little after 6PM. Most of the people went for cover as the wind launched tables and chairs through the air. Those who stayed helped hold down the tent as the storm blew through. Once the storm passed, the camp fire was relit and the fun continued. Darren said, even though the storm sent many people home, they were still very pleased with the turnout, the spirit, and the fun people had at the event. “It’s always great when you can get people together in person,” said Darren.  “The weather was beautiful on Friday night and most of Saturday. It was a great time. Thanks to everyone who came out and who helped.”

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