A herd of longhorn cattle take a walk through Dodge City
As the herd of 59 longhorn cattle was driven in a tight bunch across the 14th Avenue bridge over the Arkansas River, the pounding of their hooves could be heard resonating through the bridge's metal structure.
Kids along Wyatt Earp Boulevard could be heard crying out, telling their parents to "Look, look, look at the one with the broken horn!" as dads explained how Dodge City got famous alongside the railroad and the Texas bovine.
In a city with a lot of cattle, the long horns can still draw the thousands that lined up along the streets early to see the calm cattle from Chain Ranch in Woodward. The veteran cattle walked without incident, minus a couple bunches of landscaping grass in the median, and seemed unperturbed by the masses of onlookers with cameras or the parade of cowhands that followed them to the Roundup Arena.
The cattle drive was a first for the Boot Hill Casino that hopes to make it an annual celebration of Dodge City History during Dodge City Days.
The drive was started with a friendly skit in front of the recreated Front Street at the Boot Hill Museum as the star of Hulu's "Quick Draw," John Lehr, teased "Gunsmoke's" Buck Taylor and "The Rifleman's" Johnny Crawford that they looked familiar, though he said remembers them being much younger.
Crawford can still work a rope, Lehr discovered, and Taylor could be checking melons for ripeness in a supermarket and send townsfolk scurrying for cover.
The casino also unveiled its Wild West Walk of Fame to honor champions of western heritage. This year, Crawford and Taylor were inducted, as well as long-time Dodge City Honorary Marshal and western heritage luminary Allen Baily.