By Mark Hebert

50th annual Wagon Train plans shaping up


Mark Hebert

Milk River Wagon Train Trail Boss Les Gray and Wagon Boss John Hasler at the group's June meeting at Trafton Park on Sunday.

The Milk River Wagon Train (MRWT) celebrates its golden anniversary this year and with the annual wagon train just about eight weeks away, 25 members met in Trafton Park last Sunday to discuss the festivities and followed it with an afternoon barbeque picnic.

Amongst those in attendance on Sunday afternoon were this year's Trail Boss, Les Gray, and Wagon Boss, John Hasler, who talked about this year's trail, where the train will stop at night and who will be providing food and, for at least one night, live music and dance.

The 50th annual Milk River Wagon Train hits the trail on Wednesday, August 28 and concludes on Monday, September 2, Labor Day, with the parade through Malta at 11 a.m. In-between those two dates, tentatively scheduled events along the trail include leaving from Mae Walsh's place near Zortman the first night; a meal hosted by Tom LaFond Friday, August 30, at the Ester Lake camp; the Land Owners Feed hosted by the MRWT on Saturday, August 31; and then on the final night before the last leg of the trip, a Sunday evening dance hosted by the Phillips County Museum with live music from Warren Taylor. Please note that these plans are still somewhat tentative and if you have questions please call Gray at 406-945-7098, Hasler at 406-390-0930, or Tasha Hines at 406-654-7157. Registrations need to be to Hines by August 10 and she can be emailed at and for more MRWT information, visit their Facebook page at

The Milk River Wagon Train is a reenactment of an old west train and 50 years ago, in 1970, Duke Seel called the groups very first meeting to order with 13 of Phillips County's finest in attendance. Most of the men at that first ever meeting are no longer with us and lost two of the original and most dedicated members this past year with the passing of Dr. Jim "Kicker" Curtis and Craig Mangis. One tradition that started the first year of the MRWT was a Friday memorial service for those who had passed in Phillips County during the year. The year the first wagon train was set to happen, Beatrice "Birdie" Boyce passed days before the expedition was to leave Landusky. Kicker and Craig will be amongst those honored on this year's event which will once again be presided over by Malta Lutheran Church's Pastor Bob Nagy.

Greg and Katie Skiff of Malta's Prairie DeSigns will be doing custom made and general made-to-order merchandise for the Wagon Train's 50th including hats, shirts, bandanas, and jackets. If people want to stop in for orders, they can do so, or order online through the MRWT Facebook page. No sales at the event, but orders can be made before or after (also note that the last day to have MRWT merchandise created at Prairie DeSigns prior to the the event will be Saturday, August 10.)

The final meeting of the MRWT before the train leaves Zortman will be Sunday, August 3 at 3 p.m. at Trafton Park.


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