Old West returns to Boggsville Saturday, Oct. 21

Making his familiar presentation of authentic cowboy food and entertainment, "Doc" Jones of La Junta is offering an evening of typical cowboy fare in the 19th century Boggsville town site on U.S. Highway 101 two miles south of Las Animas. Jones and his company of chuck wagon cooks, musicians, and cowboy poet offer it all for $30 Saturday, Oct. 21. Serving begins at 6 p. m.

However, says Jones, this is a rare opportunity for all ticket-holders to come early and watch the cooks in action with all the cookware of the period. They will be preparing a menu of chicken fried steak or brisket, several recipes of country potatoes (cooks' choices), cowboy beans, biscuits or rolls, and several flavors of cobbler. It will be an excellent opportunity to photograph the wagon crews using dutch ovens, and other paraphernalia, over open fires and talk with them about the history of cooking for cattle drives that began a century and a half ago.

Unlike the competitive "Chuckwagon Cookoffs" of previous years, this is not a competition among wagon crews, so crews are not laboring under restrictions imposed by outsiders and are able to "do their own thing" in the same friendly environment folks have enjoyed as in previous years.

Chuck wagon meals are a carryover from the days when large cattle herds were moved across the plains from ranches to rail heads, and owners had to feed their cowboys on the trail. Reliving that uniquely Western experience is a reason chuck wagon cooking and eating have been so popular today in Western settings.

Delbert "Doc" Jones is "the real deal," having spent a lifetime working on cattle ranches, competing in rodeos, and being a stock wrangler. He cooked for trail rides as an employee of the Kirkwell Cattle Co of Pritchett through Oklahoma, western Kansas, and the canyons of southeastern Colorado. He has lined up vehicles and teams evoking the Old West in parades all over this area, successfully organized chuck wagon suppers in towns through eastern Colorado, and brought his skills with horses and wheeled vehicles to the four films shot at Bent's Old Fort NHS 1976 - 85. He still volunteers as a wrangler at Bent's Old Fort for special occasions.

With his history in mind, he enjoys sharing this cooking, eating and entertainment experience with southeastern Colorado.

Boggsville, where the chuck wagon supper takes place, is owned by the Pioneer Historical Society of Bent County. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and has been named a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Founded in the 1860s, it includes the well-preserved homes of Tom Boggs, a sheep rancher, formerly an employee of William Bent; cattle baron John Prowers and his wife Amache; and for a few short months, the home of Kit Carson and his wife Josefa.

The "Doc" Jones Company includes musicians Wes McKinley and Billy Whitfield, who once played backup for Roger Miller, and cowboy poet Floyd Beard, who has just been nominated among the top five by the Western Music Association. Their performances start around 7 p. m.

"Come early, look around, visit," says Jones. "This is an event as old as our great-grandparents. You won't get many chances to see the real West as it was."

For early tickets, call (719) 469-3030, or go to the "Doc" Jones website.