50 YEARS of THE BADLANDS TRAIL RIDERS
1960 – 2010
By Linda Morrow Schauer
After talking about “Badlands Trail Ride” off and on for many years, one day in July, 1960, Orv Lowitz and Art Shipley decided to do something about it. Art Shipley conceived the idea of the Badlands Trail Riders and Orv Lowitz helped him give birth to the reality. Letters were sent to 100 towns. The response was good. Earl Clyde, then of Garrison, and Dick Swindler of Mott took hold of it as did Bob Hauser of Hebron. They met in the back of the Gaffney-Shipley Office Supply where other interested equestrians were in attendance and all were invited to give their input.
In 1960, the First Badlands Trail Ride was held over Labor Day weekend with the ride at Halliday Springs in the South Unit of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park at Medora, ND. Park officers gave permission to camp and ride in the park. Ranger Dick Begemann Jr. and his wife, Karen, were the guides. An Organization was formed.
Orv seemed to be in charge of the food and the Bismarck Horse Club chuck wagon was available to them for the outing. Orv Lowitz was cook and his assistant was 16 year old Dennis Schroeder and other trail riders helping the Bismarck Horse Club chuck wagon. They planned for fifty riders and had 50 steaks on hand for dinner on Saturday night. Forty-nine riders were present when the cook started to grill. When they started to eat, Orv realized they had no means to keep the last steak, so it was put on to broil. Just as it got medium-rare Chet Perry appeared in camp. After dinner the “Wild Bunch” per Beeman Dockrey went into Medora. One of the highlights came when Beeman Dockrey demonstrated how to flip pancakes!
There were no tents or campers. Many slept on the ground. One of our early presidents almost got bitten by a rattlesnake in the middle of the first night and he was sleeping on a cot. There were only two factory built horse trailers. Many brought their horses in large farm trucks.
On Sunday, of that first Labor Day weekend ride, the temperature reached 113 degrees.
About 50 riders and horses were in the first ride. Wild horses, buffalo and big horn sheep were seen in the park at the time. The Petrified Forest ride was one of the longest rides taken.
The cost per person for the first ride was $7.00. The costs were shared equally by all participants. The dues were $1.00 with only North Dakota citizens voting. An additional $1.00 was charged for administrative expenses.
About one month later, the group drew up Articles of Incorporation. They are dated September 30, 1960. Those Articles outline the purpose of our non-profit corporation: “To better promote North Dakota and its people through an annual Badlands Trail Ride.”
The first officers elected for the 1960-61 year are listed as follows.
O. W. Lowitz, Fargo President Dr. Paul Freise, Bismarck 2 Yr Director
Earl Clyde, Garrison Vice President Dick Swindler, Mott 1 Yr Director
A.F. Shipley, Bismarck Sec-Treasurer Bob Hauser, Hebron 1 Yr Director
Walt Neuens, Bismarck 3 Yr Director Selmer Strand, Regent 1 Yr Director
Dr. Treacy Gibbons, Garrison 2 Yr Director Alvin Irwin, Minot 2 Yr Director