A history lesson in blue & gray

Herald/Steven Doll - A Confederate soldier retreats away from Union fire during a Civil War battle re-enactment Sunday afternoon at the 2008 Ogletree Gap Heritage Festival in Copperas Cove.

By Mason W. Canales

Killeen Daily Herald

COPPERAS COVE – The echo of rifles and pistols being shot carried through Union and Confederate camps and onto the open fields of Ogletree Gap. Smoke from each gun dissipated in the air.

Onlookers, shoppers and festival goers watched many various forms of entertainments and history lessons while visiting the Ogletree Gap Heritage Festival over the weekend.

"It is the trying to keep the history alive," said Marty Smith, Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce president. "It is to bring the community together so they remember their history."

The festival, now in its 23rd year, always has brought a Civil War re-enactment to Copperas Cove, Smith said.

Often in the last few years, there has been performance by a gun-slinging group, the Brazos Bottom Cowographers; demonstrations for 1st Cavalry Horse Detachment; dances by the Sahawe Indian Dancers from Uvalde; information from the Buffalo Soldiers; demonstrations by Pony Express riders; and more.

The festival also had its fair share of vendors from food to woodcarvers.

All weekend long a nice flow of people have been coming and going from the festival, said Betty Price, the chamber's vice president.

Price said that a lot of people have really enjoyed the historical information they received from the event.

David Lott and his family, his parents from Spokane, Wash., his wife and his 11-month-old daughter, rested on a hay bale out of the sun's reach beneath the pavilion after watching the Sahawe Indian Dancers on Sunday.

"It is kind of cool," Lott said after they all finished a funnel cake. "It is fun to look at some of the old weapons."

His mother enjoyed the tribal dancers.

"It was fun to watch the kids dance," Becky Lott said. "It is nice for them to be able to participate in their heritage."

The Sahawe Indian Dancers dressed in bright-colored full Native American regalia and performed various dances from tribes that lived in the United States.

As the day continued the Cowographers' director of skits, Chuck Clark, explained the difference between what they do and re-enactments.

"We are entertainers," Clark said, explaining the group was going to put on a show about gunfighters during the Old West, much like the show "Lonesome Dove."

The Cowographers' show was not only full of entertainment, though, they spent time lecturing about gun safety and how actual gunfights used to occur.

"The main thing that we do is entertain people, and we try to get people interested in history," Clark said in between skits.

Contact Mason W. Canales at mcanales@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7554.

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