Museum trail ride showcases local history

Some local kids saddle up for a trail ride around Legacy of the Plains Museum and the surrounding area. Dome Rock Livery is now offering the rides and should be open at least through Labor Day.

The public can now get on horseback to learn some of the area’s history as Legacy of the Plains Museum opens a new trail ride venue.

Kelly and Steve Davis of Morrill, doing business as Dome Rock Livery, have turned the old Wiedeman barn on the museum grounds into a stable to offer trail rides around the area.

“We’ve been open for just over a week, but things are going great,” Kelly said. “The community has been very positive and they’ve thanked us because there’s nothing like this in our area.”

Kelly and Steve moved to the area from Colorado about 18 months ago, where they had operated trail rides for a number of years.

“Whenever I’d drive by the museum, I thought it would be a great place to run a livery stable and offer trail rides,” Kelly said. “We also thought it would be an asset to the community.”

So they came to the museum board with a proposal. Rick Myers, one of the museum’s interim directors, said they had been looking for something to do with the Wiedeman barn for years.

“We were trying to find something that would bring more people out to see the museum,” Myers said. “The trail ride gives us the opportunity to develop the Wiedeman barn into a larger display.”

He said the museum board was supportive of the idea of a trail ride as another opportunity for people to enjoy the museum.

“The livery stable is just the beginning,” Myers said. “We plan on turning the barn into a kind of exhibit, although we’re still deciding on what that will be. For some reason, people like to look at old barns.”

With approval from the museum board, Kelly and Steve designed a trail around the museum grounds and surrounding area. Then they brought in their string of 15 horses that have spent their lives providing the transportation for trail rides.

Business has been good for the opening week and Kelly said they need to get the word out to the larger public.

The trail ride starts from the museum grounds, where Kelly talks about the early homesteaders and the types of houses they built here in the late 1800s.

From there the ride passes some of the mechanical equipment that was used by the early farmers to grow crops in western Nebraska.

Past the equipment is the corn field, where Kelly talks about corn, sugar beets, potatoes and the other crop grown in the area.

“Part of the ride is on the back side of the bluffs, so it’s a beautiful view of the other side of the monument,” she said. “While there, we talk about the Oregon Trail and how the emigrants used Mitchell Pass. We talk a lot about all the landmarks like Dome Rock and Chimney Rock and how they show up in the pioneer journals.”

The ride back to the museum goes past West Lawn Cemetery west of Gering, so Kelly talks about the founding of Gering and some of its history.

“We want people to experience some of what the early pioneers, farmers and ranchers experienced in this area,” she said.

The trail ride will be open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Legacy of the Plains Museum, 2930 Old Oregon Trail, just west of Gering on the way to Scotts Bluff National Monument. Trail rides cost $40 for a hour, but discounts may be available.

For reservations, call Dome Rock Livery at 308-672-0615, or email them at domerocklivery@gmail.com.

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Jerry Purvis is a reporter with the Star-Herald. He can be reached at 308-632-9046 or emailed at jpurvis@starherald.com.