A new event, The Cavalcade, is set for Sept. 19. The event is promoted by Palomino Ranch with support from the Dodge City Area Chamber of Commerce, local businesses and the Dodge City Festivals board of directors.
Omar Lopez, who owns Palomino Ranch along with Leobardo Del Real, said 300 riders are already enrolled in the event. Those riders will come from Garden City, Liberal, Ulysses, Lakin and Wichita. Riders from Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas will also participate.
To participate, riders must have trained their horses for a five-hour cavalcade. Additionally, riders must be in good physical shape and wear white long sleeve shirts, hats and charro-style pants.
Lopez said the event is open to the entire community.
Organizers have named the annual event “The Bicentennial Cavalcade” to honor the 200th anniversary of Mexican independence.
Most of the funding for the $8,000 event came from Western Beverage, Tacos Jalisco, El Korita Restaurant, El Pastorcito, Tortilleria Madero, El Mexicano Auto, Malibu Nightclub, Lucky Liquor, Discount Glass and Magouirk's, among others. Organizers also received a $1,000 grant from Dodge City Festivals to support the event.
Micaela Morales, director of membership for the Dodge City Area Chamber of Commerce, said riders will begin the event by re-enacting an important historical event along a long-distance trial.
The cavalcade will start at 8 a.m. in Cimarron and follow a country road to the Palomino Ranch, and approximately 300 riders are expected to participate.
Upon arriving at Palomino Ranch, the riders will enjoy a free dinner and food vendors. After the dinner, there will be a rodeo, live music and dancing until 8:30 p.m. Morales said riders will be not charged for participating, and the event is free to the community.
Lopez said the cavalcade is the first of several events whose objective is to attract participants not only from Dodge City and surrounding areas, but also from the rest of Kansas and other states.
For instance, a horse sale and rodeo are scheduled for May 21 and 22, 2011, at Palomino Ranch. That event will be hosted by Wyo Quarter Horse Ranch Sales of Wyoming, which is famous for its elite ranching and performing horses from the Great Plains.
“We hope the first cavalcade and the future Palomino Ranch events have an economic impact in Dodge City, since there will be participants from surrounding areas and other states," Lopez said. "And it’s our goal that the Palomino Ranch events attract people not only from the community, but also from other states."
Palomino Ranch's owners are expanding their facilities so they can host events like the cavalcade.
Lopez said a roofed facility with bleachers has been built to accommodate 6,000, with seating for 3,000. Until now, he said, only 2,100 people could be seated. The race track will also be extended to 3,000 feet.
“This horse racetrack will be one of the best of Kansas. We are also doing new electric installations and remodeling bathrooms, and we have built a control cottage. So, this year our focus has been to construct in preparation for major events in the near future.”
Lopez said after the cavalcade, a circus will performing Sept. 24, 25 and 26 at Palomino Ranch.
“Our purpose is to turn the Palomino Ranch into a place where the entire community, no matter what race, can find good and healthy recreation. Children will be special for us, since we already do not charge them to attend events; they will enjoy gold riding and ‘charreadas’ performed also for children, contest and musicals,” Lopez said.