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Scotty Philip Memorial Wagon Train celebration on track for July 16

Members of Philip's Scotty Philip Memorial Celebration committee met with the organizers of the wagon train part of the event on the Fort Pierre end, Thursday, January 27.

A broad range of topics were discussed and some decisions were finalized. In attendance from Philip were Doug West, Chip Kemnitz, Ron Larson, Mary Burnett and Glenn Parsons.

"It was a very productive meeting," said Parsons. "Everyone is pulling for the same goals and will have a great working relationship. There are a lot of things to get done before the communities are ready for the celebration and, once it begins, there will be a large need for volunteers. Both groups discussed how staffing becomes such an issue with these kinds of events. Both committees agreed to share minutes of their weekly meetings so everyone is on the same page."

Some of the riders and wagons will begin to arrive in Philip Friday, July 15, with the majority arriving the following day. They will be camping on the Masonic Cemetery land south and east of the cemetery until Sunday morning. Then they will line up for a parade beginning at the football field and traveling east on Pine Street past Philip Livestock Auction to the trail head along the Bad River. The parade will begin at 10:00 a.m.

The planned pony express will deliver mail from the Fort Pierre post office Saturday, July 16. Mail will then leave Philip on a stage coach Sunday, July 17, bound for Fort Pierre. Authenticity will be maintained, as well as compliance with current postal regulations. The goal is to provide an educational and commemorative aspect for area students and anyone wishing to have an historic symbol of the pony express mail service these communities once depended on. The story about the pony express and an explanation of the mailing will be presented in local schools by members of each committee. For students, the plan is to provide an opportunity for a pen pal mailing between students from area schools. Anyone who wishes to participate will need to acquire a commemorative envelope that will be sold for this purpose only. Where they will be available will be announced at a later date.

Issues were discussed regarding marketing of commemorative items. While there were no final decisions made, the field was narrowed down enough to pursue more information on a few items. Issues included who will market what items, when and where and what exactly will be available, and if there will be a limited availability of some items.

The main topic was the wagon train itself. Logistics have to be worked out between the communities. These include easements with the landowners whose land will be traveled across, support personnel necessary for riders and animals, entertainment and presentations for each evening, where lunch stops will be, media coverage, personal facilities, security and safety, which emergency services will be responsible for which segments of the ride and a lot of other items.

The price to purchase a rider button to participate is $250 per person 13 years old and older, and $150 for 12 and under. The wagon train will be limited to 300 participants. Buttons will be available in late February.

Applications can be viewed at the website of www.ftpierre.com. More contacts will be posted when they become available.