The Stage is coming to town

Horseback and this authentic 1880s stagecoach will be the only transportation options for the Stagecoach Journey crew during a May 21-27 authentic western wagon route through Ozark County. This photo was taken by talented photographer and Stagecoach Journey crew-member Dennis Crider during an early April appearance at the Twin Pines Conservation Education Center’s Annual Heritage Day. “Cowboy Rick” Hamby, a Caulfield resident who owns the stagecoach with wife “Arkansas Bev” is shown near the center in the cowboy hat.
Authentic 1880s stagecoach to pass through Ozark County next week as part of the Ozark Mountain Heritage Trail ride

Donning his traditional cowboy hat, bandana and boots, Caulfield’s “Cowboy Rick” Hamby, along with wife “Arkansas Bev” visited the Thornfield School May 4 to deliver penpal letters that were written by students at Junction Hill and Glenwood Schools. 

The pair also collected handwritten letters from Thornfield’s students, which went into the Hamby’s mail bag and loaded onto the historic Stagecoach Journey. They were later delivered to Junction Hill School in Howell County when the western crew made a stop there to show the children the bright red, historic 1880s horse-drawn stagecoach before its upcoming May 21 - 27 Ozark Mountain Heritage Trails journey, which will wind through Ozark County. The letters will be distributed at an upcoming Stagecoach Journey stop. The group riding along will include talented photographer Dennis Crider, who will photograph the journey along the way, and Barry and Victoria Ward, who will contribute musically to the journey.

“Barry is a singer and songwriter who has won many awards through the Western Music Association,” Bev told the Times. “Barry and Victoria joined us twice on the 2004 Santa Fe Trail Trip and ended up writing two excellent songs about our group.”

The stagecoach, which was the first “ride” at Silver Dollar City soon after the popular theme park organized near Branson in 1960, was purchased by the Herschend family – thanks to a loan by the late H. T. Harlin, the president of what is now Century Bank of the Ozarks, and a few other area bankers.

The Hambys, of Caulfield, acquired the stagecoach several years ago and since then have used it to lead “journeys” throughout Texas, New Mexico and other parts of the West, carrying penpal letters to and from schoolchildren along the way. 

The Hambys also expect to have the stagecoach at this year’s Hootin an Hollarin festival. Keep an eye out in the Times for updated information as the festival nears. 


The proposed stagecoach route

The Hambys and other cowboy crew members recently released the carefully-planned Ozark County route. 

The journey will begin Sunday, May 22, when the crew will board the stagecoach and ride west through Highway 160 through Theodosia, turning north onto Highway 95 and traveling to their first campsite at the Longrun Baptist Church off County Road 908, where they’ll host a meet and greet event and watermelon tasting. 

The next day, Monday, May 23, will take the crew from Longrun to Glade Top Trail where they’ll end the day at the scenic Caney Overlook picnic area with a music night featuring local musicians. 

On Tuesday, May 24, the stagecoach is planning on leaving the Caney Overlook on Glade Top Trail and winding down JJ Highway to Thornfield where they’ll go past the Smoke Tree Scenic Overlook and to the Hayden Park pullover. The journey will have entered the historic “Old Salt Road.”

On Wednesday, May 25, they’ll continue down the Old Salt Road from Highway 95 and turn onto County Road 844/855 in front of Thornfield School and continue to County Road 850 at Hammond. Like Monday night, they’ll enjoy a good, old-fashioned music night with local musicians. 

On Thursday, May 26, the stagecoach will continue on the Old Salt Road, turning right onto County Road 850, then onto Highway Z to County Road 831 in Nottinghill to the Luna Place/Rod’s Ranch. A brush arbor meeting will be held that night. 

On Friday, May 27, the crew will wrap up the journey traveling from County Road 831 to Highway 5 and continuing south to Gainesville to the Gainesville Saddle Club Area. 


Upcoming radio broadcast

The next installment of Cowboy Rick Hamby’s “Just for Kids Radio Roundup / Great Moments in American History” will feature Senator Karla Eslinger, Representative Travis Smith, Sue Nold, Brandon Maxwell and Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe discussing the Journey Stagecoach’s upcoming trip. The radio program will be broadcast at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 21, on West Plains radio station KKDY 102.5 FM and streamed live on

Theodosia Marina Resort has sponsored the last five radio broadcasts about the upcoming stagecoach trip.

Ozark County Times

504 Third Steet
PO Box 188
Gainesville, MO 65655

Phone: (417) 679-4641
Fax: (417) 679-3423