The Dewey County Sheriff’s Department is planning its 12th annual Trail of Dreams to take place May 20 and 21.

According to Judy Junkins, office deputy, one of the former Dewey County dispatchers, Darren Whetstone, and former sheriff Doc Evans came up with the idea to host the event 12 years ago.

“He (Whetstone) had leukemia and it was in remission,” said Junkins. “He was involved with the Sunshine Kids and he and the former sheriff, Doc Evans, wanted to do something like this for kids with cancer in this part of the world. They came up with this idea and took it from there.”

Junkins also reported that Whetstone still helps with the event each year.

The Trail of Dreams is a wagon and horseback ride for children not only suffering from cancer, but those suffering from any type of catastrophic illness. According to Junkins, they will begin Friday night, May 19, at the community building in Taloga. The children and their families spend the night at the community building and then the community provides them all breakfast Saturday morning.

On Saturday, the families are then taken to the starting location west of Putnam by bus. There, they get on wagons and ride several miles before stopping for lunch.

“It’s right out there basically in the middle of nowhere,” said Junkins. “They then get back on the wagons and go to the night camping stop. There at the night camping spot they’ll be served supper and there will also be entertainment.”

She said a large water tanker is taken to the night camping spot where the children can enjoy swimming. They camp out Saturday night in tents that the families bring, or Junkins said ta large army tent will also be set up for families that do not have tents.

“Sunday morning, we’ll cook breakfast again, have a short church service, then take off and go a few more miles where we’ll stop for cookies and punch,” said Junkins.

The trail ride ends at the Taloga city park where the community and county residents provide a pot luck dinner for all the participants.

“The kids then play in the park for a while, have supper and then go home,” she said.

Because of the relatively primitive territory, handicapped facilities are limited but every attempt will be made to help families accommodate as many situations as possible. The event is also open to siblings that are unaffected by the illnesses - this is a family event for the children.

The family is responsible for providing necessary care on the ride but a physician and other medical personnel will be along to assist with any emergencies. There is no charge and all food and services are donated by the Dewey County Sheriff’s staff and Dewey County commodities.

The deadline for registration for the Trail of Dreams is May 8. Junkins said it is necessary to pre-register so they will have a head count and know how much food is needed for the meals.

To register or for more information, interested people may contact Sheriff Robert “Bud” Prentice or Office Deputy Junkins at (580) 328-5558. You may also register online at www.trailofdreams.org, where a registration page is available.

“We’d love to have anyone that wants to participate,” said Junkins. “Everybody that can and is able to come, please come join us - give us a shot and we’ll show them a great time.”

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