Buffalo Soldiers relive West Texas history

MORTON, TX (PRESS RELEASE) - The weekend of June 24-26, 2011, Morton, Texas will host its eighth annual encampment of the Texas Buffalo Soldiers Living History Program in the Cochran County Park in connection with Texas' Last Frontier Heritage Celebration.  All non-meal events are free, so come and bring the whole family!
Vintage Baseball Game.  The festivities will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, June 24th, in Levelland with a vintage baseball game.  A team of Buffalo Soldiers will compete against the "I Beat Pete" Christy-KCBD-TV.  The game will be at Barty Johnson Field in Levelland City Park rather than, as announced previously, at the Levelland High School Baseball Field.   To get to Barty Johnson Field, from State Highway 114 in Levelland, take Avenue Q south to Wilson Street and turn right (west).

Downtown Parade.  At 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 25th, the Cochran County Chamber of Commerce will host a downtown parade in Morton with horses and riders, antique cars, and floats.  The theme of this year's parade is "Frontier Fun and Games".  If you would like to join in or enter an entry in the parade feel free to line up at 9:30 a.m. at Strickland Park (Garfield Avenue & 3rd Street) in Morton.

Military Ceremony & Drills.  An opening ceremony at the County Park at 11:00 a.m. features an impressive Flag Ceremony, Battalion Inspection, & Morning Gun Salute by the Texas Buffalo Soldier Regiment.

Frontier Life & Skills.  Starting at 11:00 a.m. and throughout the afternoon until 6:00 p.m., visitors are invited to visit the variety of interactive booths and displays that highlight the life and times of soldiers, settlers, comancheros, and native peoples, sponsored by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Fort Concho Buffalo Soldier Programs, 2nd U.S. Cavalry Pack Camel Corps & Scouts, and area partners:

• Buffalo Soldiers:  military encampment, marching drills, military cannon display, map and compass games, pack camel demonstrations (Yes!  There will be camels at the park!)
• American Indians:  archery/bow & arrow target shooting, arrowhead and tool making
• Hispanics/Comancheros:  scouting and tracking skills taught by a descendant of  a 2nd U.S. Cavalry Hispanic scout
• Frontier Women:  storytelling of women's life and times on the frontier by Eva Balenton, Lou Burleson, & Rosieleeta Reed; tea cake baking contest sponsored by the ladies of New Trinity Baptist Church, Morton; chuckwagon dutch oven cooking demonstration by Rev. Harold Harrison

Public Launch of Geocache Tour.  At 11:15 a.m. in the park, Dr. Elizabeth Louden, Director of Cultural and Architectural Resources Management Associates, LLC (CARMA), will announce the official public launch of GPS-based Geocaching and Google Earth tours of the route taken by the Buffalo Soldier Expedition of 1877.  Whiteface teacher Lisa Johnson and student volunteers will be available until 4:00 p.m. for a workshop to teach visitors how to do Geocaching, do a 5-point sample tour of the 1877 expedition in the park, and/or get launched on the actual Geocaching tour through Lynn, Terry, Hockley, Cochran, and Lubbock Counties in Texas and Roosevelt County in eastern New Mexico.

Buffalo Soldier Expedition Re-enactment.  The 1877 Lost Troop Expedition literally marched across the area that is now the Cochran County Park.  At 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 25th, members of the Texas Buffalo Soldier regiments and the Cochran County 4-H and other enactors on horseback and on foot will re-live this historic trek of Buffalo Soldiers and their buffalo hunter companions, commanded by Capt. Nicholas M. Nolan and Lt. Charles L. Cooper.

Iron Riders Parade & Competition.  Starting at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, children 10 years of age and under are invited to decorate their bikes in a western theme and parade them at the slab at the Cochran County Park.  The first fifty riders will be provided with western hats, bandanas, badges, and/or handcuffs.  Cash prizes will be awarded to bikes and riders in each of 3 age categories (< 6, 6-8, 9-10) that best fit the western theme:  1st prize-$15; 2nd prize-$10; 3rd prize-$5.  Representatives of the Oasis Worship Center and Morton Community Church will assist with the event.

Young Ladies' Prairie Tea.  A new event being featured this year is a Young Ladies' Prairie Tea.  Around 3:00 p.m. girls 18 years of age or younger are invited to don western dresses and hats (that will be provided), and enjoy a chuckwagon-catered tea, just like the ladies on the far western frontier celebrated.

Frontier Stories.  At 4:30 p.m., gather around and enjoy hearing descendants of early settlers tell stories of the early frontier history of the Cochran County Towns of Morton and Whiteface.

Campfire and Sing-a-Long.  At around 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, plan to bring your singing voice, a favorite story or poem, a musical instrument, and a folding chair and gather around the campfire in Cochran County Park for storytelling and an old-fashioned sing-a-long of gospel, country, and beloved folk tunes.

Country Music & Dancing.  Starting at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, until…, kick up your heels to country & western music for the entire family by Freddy Lewis & the Night Shift Band.

Community Worship Service.  A culminating highlight of the weekend will be Sunday morning at 11:00 a.m., when worshipers from all of the churches in the area will gather for an outdoor community worship service in the park with ministry and music, sponsored by the Cochran County Ministerial Alliance.

Food & Refreshments.  On Saturday, June 25th, a chicken dinner ($7.00) will be served at noon and a hamburger supper ($6.00) at 6:00 p.m., at the Cochran County Park, catered by the Oasis Worship Center of Morton.  Following the outdoor Sunday morning community worship service enjoy a barbecue and soul food dinner ($10.00-adults; $5.00-children), catered by Katherine Joyce, JJ's Barbeque of Morton.

Museum Tours.  The Texas' Last Frontier Museum, 108 S. W. 1st Street, Morton, headquarters of the Trails of the Last Frontier segment of the statewide Buffalo Soldiers Heritage Trail, will be open by appointment on Saturday, June 25, 2010.  If you and your family would like to tour this very special museum, contact Betty Akin, BETTYJAKIN@HOTMAIL.COM, (806) 266-8684.

Information From Cochran County Historical Society.