North Park to observe 39th annual Land Run day

Staff Writer

One of the many memorable experience many former Guymon students today recall is the annual participation in an event that remembers the events of the 1889 land run, in which hopeful pioneers awaited the crack of a gun, signaling their chance to claim a parcel of land to start a new life.
Each year, students have learned about sewing, hanging the laundry, cooking, post hole digging, games that entertained groups in the Old West, and all about life in the Oklahoma territory before it became a state.
Under the leadership of Principal Mark Strickland, North Park Elementary students will have a day filled with activities and lunch to gain that hands-on experience of one of the major events shaping the state’s history. In period appropriate costume and with homemade wagons in tow, students will take off from the starting line to stake a claim in the space behind Guymon High School, learning about life in 1889 with direct experience.
North Park students Finley Johnson and Connor Stelzer stood before the school board in period dress with their wagon for display as Strickland discussed happenings at the elementary.
“On April 22, 1889 the government opened up 1.9 million acres, and we had 50,000 to 60,000 eager people to go out and claim some of this… new land that was being offered,” Strickland said.
Strickland informed the board that the learning day will take place starting first thing in the morning on May 3 with the outdoor classroom.
“We have 230 fifth graders this year,” Strickland continued. “There’s going to be lots of activities there. It’s just a neat day.”
Students will be placed in groups of four to six and will load up their wagons with homesteading items on their way to find claims. The girls will have their rag dolls, and boys will have a stick horse.
“What we like is at twelve o’clock, we fire off the gun up there by the building by the top there, and we get lots of video of this,” Strickland said, noting that the participating students will get a chance to watch the video, and students the following year will get a chance to watch that same video to help them get excited for the day when it comes around again.
The full day of events will take place on May 3 near the Guymon Tigers baseball field off of Tiger Blvd. and Sunset Lane, to include a hotdog lunch provided to students.

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