BY GREG PEAK
GOODRICH – In the spirit of the Old West, a group of local residents will be "hitting the trail" starting on April 1 as part of the first Billy the Kid Trail Ride from Hico in Central Texas all the way to Lincoln, New Mexico.
Bob Weaver of Goodrich is one of the organizers of the trip that is expected to take several weeks to complete. He is inviting all area residents who would like to make the trek to saddle up and join him for the adventure.
The native of Colorado, Weaver grew up on a working cattle ranch and learned the ins and outs of trail riding are an early age, to the point that he served as trail boss on cattle drives involving 2,000-2,500 head of livestock while still in his teens.
Weaver will be taking two authentic trail wagons on the ride that he carefully restored to as close to their original condition as possible.
"This is something that my late brother and I started working on and after he passed, I continued," he said, noting that one of the wagons will be outfitting as a "chuck wagon."
"Everybody who goes on the ride will need to bring their own food and supplies, but we'll have the chuck wagon to help with the cooking while we're on the trail," he said.
Weaver said so far there are six wagons scheduled to make the ride, including some from their destination in Lincoln, New Mexico. All will be trucked to the starting point in Hico prior to April 1.
"Anyone interested in going can bring their own wagon or saddle up their own horse and ride with us," he said, adding those making the journey will need to bring a bed roll, their own groceries and feed for their horses. During the journey, they will be stopping in towns along the way to allow the riders to purchase supplies as needed.
The ride is meant to follow a trail allegedly followed by William "Billy the Kid" Bonney from Hico to Lincoln. Although there is some dispute that the famed outlaw was from Hico, the Texas community lays claim to his legend through Ollie "Brushy Bill" Roberts. Roberts lived in Hico in the late 1940s and claimed to have been the legendary gunfighter and outlaw known as Billy the Kid.
Billy the Kid was involved in the Lincoln County War in the late 1870s and was reportedly killed by Sheriff Pat Garrett in 1881, however, subsequently there were stories alleging his death was faked and that "The Kid" went on to a new life under a new name.
"This is the first Billy the Kid Ride but I'd like to make it an annual event," Weaver said.
The ride is scheduled to leave Hico and travel on Highway 6 to Highway 380 and then proceed west into Hondo, New Mexico.