Great American Horse Drive delivers spectacle of ‘old West’
Great American Horse Drive brings hundreds to Maybell
May 7, 2017
Craig — Imagine standing on a remote dirt road — nothing but sky, sagebrush and rolling hills for miles — when around the bend comes a band of a dozen riders followed first by a few, then 50, then 500 horses kicking up dust and heaving down the road, a vital force of sweat, muscle and frenetic animal energy.
Sombrero Ranches' Great American Horse Drive took place Saturday and Sunday, delivering this awe-inspiring, heart-palpitating experience to those stalwart enough to find their way to western Moffat County to see it.
The largest crowds gathered in Maybell Sunday morning, as they do every year, to bask in the beauty and power of an endless sea of horses filling the highway as they pass through town.
"Just getting to see this many horses together in one event is amazing," said Jon Van Zee, who travels to Maybell from Denver every year with this family and whose brother-in-law helps run the event.
The drive serves a practical purpose — to transport 500 horses 62 miles from their winter pasture near Browns Park to summer pasture at Sombrero's ranch west of Craig — but also creates a spectacle and experience that people come back for, year after year.
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"This might be the best year yet," said Chuck Brix, also known as Silver Buck Chuck, a Florida man who has participated in the drive for eight years.
The horse drive drew 47 paying guests this year, who found their way to Moffat County from as far as Holland, Germany and throughout the U.S. to saddle up for a gritty, first-hand experience of the old West.
"This year's drive has gone spectacularly," said head wrangler Zac Truer, who's helped run the drive for 15 years. "The horses came off winter pasture looking great, fresh and ready to roll, and (the guests) have all carried more than their weight."
A total of about 50 staff riders also mounted up for the yearly event, including many family members of Sombrero Ranches owner Rex Walker.
Walker's oldest son, Justin Walker, attends every year from Tennessee, usually with at least one of his seven kids, "just for family and the fun of getting together."
Noelle Leavitt Riley contributed to this story.