John Shaddox Wagon Train
The John Henry Shaddox Wagon Train will once again make its annual trek from Harrison to Springdale. It has grown considerably since 1976, when John Henry Shaddox and his family participated in the Northwest Arkansas Wagon Train that met the regional bi-centennial wagon train as it entered Arkansas. Dusty Richards was the local wagon master and many locals participated. as well as people from all over Arkansas. During that miserably cold week in March, the John Shaddox Wagon Train began with a gleam in John Henry’s eye.
Shaddox thought there would be a wagon train to start in his hometown of Harrison and end up in Springdale to help promote the Rodeo of the Ozarks and celebrate the 4th of July. He also thought that if all went well, it might happen for a few more years.
That gleam has become a full grown wagon train. Each year the trek begins at Harrison. All wagons, buggies, and horseback riders leave the Boone County Fair Grounds to begin the 100- mile journey, ending the trip by attending the Rodeo of the Ozarks on the first performance after participating in the parade that afternoon.
Many families have been represented in many of the trips – very few have made them all and many have made a few, all has not always gone well, but most have ended well. There has been heat, drought, rain, hail, rivers that could not be crossed but the pioneer spirit has prevailed.
What began as a few people getting together to wagon train has become an organization with a few rules and regulations to assure the safety of participants.
Many landowners and families from Harrison to Springdale anticipate a lunch or overnight visit with this organization. Some have hosted the train from the beginning. Families spend vacation time together. Old friends visit, new friends are made and tall tales are not only told but also lived.
Not often do people in this day and age spend their vacation seeing the countryside at 4-miles per hour. The John Henry Shaddox Wagon Train does, with the motto “Rodeo of the Ozarks or Bust!”