For three generations, cowboys have driven horses through Maybell every spring as they relocate the herd from their winter range near Browns Park to the summer pastures at Big Gulch.
On Sunday, the public is again welcomed to attend one of the biggest horse drives in the country.
Charlie Mantle began the Sombrero Ranches horse operations from his homestead in Dinosaur National Monument in the early 1900s. Charlie's grandson Cody Walker said the drive includes hundreds of mustangs that will be trucked off to summer locations that include children's camps and guest ranches. Horses also are sent to Rocky Mountain National Park, where they are used on interpretive trail rides from 12 locations in the park.
Sunday's drive will consist of a half-dozen cowboys and about 40 guests of the ranch who signed up for the authentic, Old West-style horse drive through the streets of Maybell. Repeat customers make up about 10 of the guests on the drive, with the remaining 30 being newcomers who heard about the event through the media and called the ranch to sign up for this year's drive.
It takes two days to drive the herd from Browns Park through Maybell and east to mile marker 78 on U.S. Highway 40.
Walker called the drive "the pride of Maybell" and said that customers reserve a spot on the drive months or years in advance. Customers must be in their second year of working the drive to start with the cowboys gathering the herd on the Browns Park portion of the trek, and they will earn a belt buckle upon completion of the drive.
The drive is expected to pass through Maybell between 9 a.m. and noon Sunday. Organizers said Maybell Park offers excellent viewing from a safe location. Concessions are available for breakfast and lunch, and Queeda Mantle Walker will be signing her book, "The Mantle Ranch," at Maybell Park on Sunday.
Dan Olsen can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 207, or firstname.lastname@example.org.