The announcement was made during the Kansas Explorers Club meeting on the last day of the 2019 Big Kansas Road Trip (BKRT) that took place May 2-5 in the northwest Kansas counties of Cheyenne, Sherman and Wallace. Representing the 2020 BKRT area was Kylee Luckeroth of Seneca Downtown Impact, Linda Duesing of the Hiawatha Chamber and her husband Wes, and Jerry Kissel of the Shoe Tree, Wetmore.
The Kansas Sampler Foundation met in April with
representatives from Brown, Doniphan and Nemaha counties to explain what
it would take to host the BKRT in 2020. The decision was made to move forward. Those in attendance were asked to keep the news quiet until
the official announcement.
The Inman-based Kansas Sampler Foundation whose mission is to preserve and sustain rural culture created the BKRT after ending their 28-year Kansas Sampler Festival in 2017. Foundation director Marci Penner said, "The purpose of the BKRT is to provide first-hand experiences with the people and places of rural communities. All we ask of the communities is to be good at being themselves. If they want to create activities to help the public get to know them, that's great. It's like a big, tri-county open house."
Hundreds of people attended the 2019 BKRT to drive through the
Arikaree Breaks of Cheyenne County; visit the St. Francis Motorcycle
Museum; find Mount Sunflower, the highest point in the state in Wallace
County; see 1,300 wild horses near the Fort Wallace Cemetery; take in a
car show in St. Francis; and gawk at the giant Van Gogh sunflower
painting in Goodland. There were tours of a buffalo herd, a bean
processing plant, a sunflower oil plant, Hell's Half Acre, a garden, a
historic theatre,and cemeteries. There were many more things to see and
do. People shopped and ate at locally-owned businesses. The small
cities of Bird City, Edson, Kanorado, Weskan and Wallace also had many
The inaugural BKRT was held in Barber, Comanche and Kiowa counties in 2018.
Foundation director Marci Penner said, "We are excited to bring the BKRT
to these northeast counties. From the St. Mary's Church in St.
Benedict and the Davis Memorial in Hiawatha to the Four-State Lookout and piggy bank history in White Cloud, there are so many historic and geographic points of
interest, first-class veteran's memorials, Section Art in several post offices,
Tall Oaks, an antique car collection, the Shoe Tree, small grocery stores, historic barns, beautiful scenic drives, and so much more."
Penner and WenDee Rowe, assistant director, will be coming to each county to work with the locals in preparation for the event. The duo co-authored the Kansas Guidebook 2 for Explorers after researching every incorporated city in Kansas. "We love what these three counties have to offer, "said Rowe, "and know the public will love exploring this area."
For more information go to bigkansasroadtrip.com.