Taking in the trail Riders make their way along a portion of the historic Chisholm Trail during last year’s Era Masonic Lodge benefit trail ride. This year’s trail ride is scheduled for May 5 at the G C Ranch approximately five miles from Era.

The popular Era Masonic Lodge Trail Ride is back.

The ride is a family-oriented event that takes riders through twelve to thirteen miles of the historic Chisholm Trail in Cooke County.

“I was riding over part of the trail last week, and the wildflowers should be real pretty,” said Tim Bullard of the Era Masonic Lodge.

The ride begins at about 10 a.m., May 5 (a Saturday) and continues until 3:30 or 4 p.m., he said.

A large group of riders usually attend the event, sometimes as many as 50 or 60, he added.

The ride is scheduled to take place on the GC Ranch which is located three miles west and two miles south of Era.

“Take FM 922 West off of I-35 at Valley View or off FM 51 at Era, follow 922 West about three miles to County Rd 398, turn south and travel two miles to the parking area. Signage will be posted at the intersection of FM 922 and County Rd 398,” said Bullard.

This year, sponsors are going to prepare hamburgers for the participants. Drinks will be furnished.

“We always eat under a big live oak tree,” Donnie Offord, another Era lodge member said.

Donations are accepted for the meal and proceeds from the registration fees help support three main lodge efforts.

“We donate part of the proceeds for scholarships to graduating seniors at Era High School, usually it’s three or four. We also try to donate every year to Scottish Rite Hospital in Fort Worth, and we do use some for our building’s utilities,” Bullard noted.

Organizers for the ride also offer a few suggestions — that horses be shod, for example, and that riders of horses who tend to kick attach a red warning ribbon to their animal’s tail. Negative coggins tests are also a requirement.

In case of rain, the trail ride will be held May 19, Bullard said.

Offord said registered riders get an embroidered bandana with the Era Masonic Lodge emblem. The memento comes in a choice of three colors.

“We also have a drawing for someone to win back their entry fee,” Offord said.

According to a press release from the lodge, safety is a priority for the riders. Organizers ask participants not to engage in rowdy behavior, not to race their horses and not to ride too close to one another.

All minors must have a legal guardian present during the ride.

Bullard said the lodge usually holds two trail rides — one in the fall and another in the spring.

“We try to pick times when the weather is pretty mild,” he said.

For information on the trail ride contact Donnie Offord at (940) 726-6363, Al Smith at (940) 668-2426 or Tim Bullard at (940) 768-2392.

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