What History Taught Me

Steve Shaw, Tour Operator

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I reluctantly acquiesced to my wife Marcie’s idea that we take a steamboat cruise on the Mississippi River in 1998; I assumed it would be boring. We chose to dress in period-appropriate clothing—as a riverboat gambler and his lady. We had a ball! We enlightened our like-minded friends; then we thought, let’s organize trips so more people can enjoy this!

Our trips are different from most because I cram them with the history of the area. Civil War battlefields, antebellum homes, knowledgeable guides—I throw it all in. Plus, and this isn’t mandatory, the group dresses in period-correct clothing, which really separates us from the crowd.

We get silly with red long-john pajama parties. For the most part, attire on these trips includes hoop skirts and bustled gowns for the women; military uniforms, knee high boots, frock coats and vests or buckskins for the guys.

The best thing anyone said to me after a trip was that he gained confidence riding with me. This Cowboy Mounted Shooter, who rode with me on “Custer’s Ride to Glory,” said the trip proved he could spend six hours in the saddle every day, jump creeks, swim on horseback across a swift, swollen Little Bighorn River and learn cavalry maneuvers. He had ridden more, seen more and learned more than he ever had previously.

Our 7th Cavalry troops become well-trained cavalrymen. We ride in columns, with Custer and his scouts in the lead. When a...

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