Bull whacker ready for business

Taking a trip back in time may be as easy as a drive to Fuji Park, at least until Saturday.

Sheryl Curtis will be there with her traveling museum, Old World Oxen-Living History Display, where she will use live oxen to demonstrate how to hitch a wagon, yoke the oxen and other techniques used by early pioneers.

As part of her presentation, Curtis reads from the journal of George R. Brown, a 21-year-old pioneer who traveled 2,785 miles west by ox train.

She said participants will "feel as though they have stepped back 150 years in time."

Curtis is one of four women ever to claim the title of bull whacker. The bull whackers were those who walked beside the ox teams and cracked whips above their heads to keep them moving.

Curtis said she is happy to be in Carson City because of its rich immigrant history.

"It's nice to be somewhere where history really means something," she said.

However, she said few people probably realize the significance of the ox in the history of the settling of the West.

"Few people have seen the bull teams that provided the primary source of supplies to the isolated West and allowed emigration to occur."

Curtis also prepares a hands-on exercise as part of her two-hour presentation to bring the past to life for participants.

She said children are also provided with muddy clothes and boots to wear to make the experience more authentic.

Curtis said if schools would like to participate, they should stop by the park and set it up with her there. The exhibit is open to the public.


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