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Photo of four men in cowboy hats cooking outside
Cooking on the trail during the inaugural Salt Grass Trail Ride in 1952 (left to right): John Warnasch, E. H. Marks, Pat Flaherty, and Reese Lockett

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The History of the Salt Grass Trail Ride
A Local Legacy

You might not think that an 88-year-old woman could handle a 70-mile trail ride, but that's exactly what Atha Marks Dimon did in 1999 during the Salt Grass Trail Ride in Texas.

By going on the ride Atha was following in her father's footsteps many years earlier. In the 19th century, pioneer cattlemen herded their cattle to Houston up from the salt grass pastures on the Gulf Coast of Texas, where their cattle had been grazing and fattening up. Times change, and since 1900, cattlemen have not needed to herd their cattle across the open land; instead they use trains.

In 1952, four old-time cowmen decided to stage a re-enactment and joined a group of people on the first Salt Grass Trail Ride. One of those four cowmen was E.H. Marks. In 1999, Marks's daughter, Atha Marks Dimon (at the age of 88), her daughter Athene, her grandson Boyd Vaughan, and great-grandson Reagan Vaughan, rode the Salt Grass Trail -- 70 miles from Brenham to Houston -- in memory of the original cattlemen.

The people that have gone on the trail ride include bankers, fire fighters, even middle school students. The trail ride has caught on, and now more than 6,000 riders participate.

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