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April 4, 2014

Land Run Ride sets off today

NORMAN — Wagons, buggies and horseback riders will congregate today in Wynnewood to prepare for the 36th annual Land Run Ride.

The first day of riding begins Saturday and will end April 12 in Norman with the ’89er Day Parade. The ride and parade celebrates Oklahoma’s Land Run of 1989. This year also marks the 125th year of the Land Run.

“It’s not near(ly) as big as it used to be,” said Tom Thomas, president of the ’89er Wagon Train. “Most of our wagon drivers have passed away. We’re getting small in numbers.”

Thomas estimated 50 to 100 people to show up for the eight-day ride, depending on weather.

“There’s a pretty stationary bunch of about 50 every year,” he said, adding that there will be about 12 to 14 wagons this year.

The group travels from a different direction every year and this year will begin the journey in Wynnewood. Riders will travel an average of 18 miles a day, ranging in age from about 90 to 6 months old, he said.

Camping areas will be available for those participating in the ride, and potluck dinners are scheduled on a few nights, when everyone from the campground will get together and eat, Thomas said.

“Then we’ll get up in the morning and saddle up and ride — no matter what the conditions,” he said.

Thomas said he enjoys the ride because it allows for a time to get out with no TVs and no telephones. However, he said some still go on the ride with cell phones and portable TVs.

“You see more going down the road at 4 miles per hour than you can at 55. I see things going down the road I didn’t see going in the car,” he said.

Thomas encouraged all families and individuals who are interested to join the Land Run Ride.

“Everybody’s welcome,” he said. “Rain or shine, cold or hot, come prepared to ride.”

For more information, visit 89erwagontrain.com.

Jessica Bruha

366-3540

jbruha@normantranscript.com

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