Champions and citizens of neighboring communities turned out in numbers to greet the West Plains Wagon Club as it passed through Champion in central Douglas County on Thursday, September 18, 2008.¬† The wagon train was on its annual trail ride from West Plains to Mansfield.¬† This year there were twelve wagons on the train when it pulled into Champion and there were about twenty-five accompanying outriders.¬† From year to year the numbers vary but the welcome is always warm and friendly in Champion.¬† Under the direction of 83 year-old Wagon Master Clifford Luna, the wagon train left West Plains on Monday morning.¬† They routinely make about twenty miles a day and stop at predetermined camp-sites.¬† On Thursday they camped at the Black Gate Farm just north of Skyline.¬† They arrived in Mansfield on Friday with few incidents to report.¬† A couple of outriders were thrown from their horses‚ÄĒone, when it was spooked by a motorcycle, and another when someone in a pickup suddenly opened a door and yelled.¬† The riders were not seriously injured and the trip overall was a pleasant one.¬† Luna and the West Plains Wagon Club will enjoy more rides this year, but Champions will have to wait until next year to see them rolling through the community again.

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