A bullwhacker was a driver of an ox wagon or other heavy freight wagon especially in the early settlement of the West. Though not part of the mainstream of the time, bullwhackers played an important role – especially before the advent of the railroads.
“The bullwhackers were fright movers. They operated waggons pull by draft animals (oxen and mules). The got their name from the oxen (a castrated bull) and their used of rawhide whips used to urge the beasts forward. Another name for bullwhip is bullehack. I am not sure when the bullwhackers first appeared or when the term was first used, but it was a well established mode of transport by the mid-19th century. Bullwhackers were teamsters along with muleskinners”.
Bullwhackers are remembered at an annual event, Wild West Show and Bullwhacker Days at the Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop and Farm in Olathe, Kansas.
The event is a multi-cultural celebration of Olathe’s Santa Fe Trail heritage with 1800’s period demonstrations.The Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop itself was along the Santa Fe and Oregon trails and it served up warm mkeals for travelers as a stagecoach stop from 1863 to 1869.
The event features Mexican and American music, childrens’ games and stagecoach rides (including staged robberies). The Wild West Show will be held 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, September 24 and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, September 25
Mutton busting (competitive sheep riding) will be available for children weighing less than 50 pounds will be held Sunday. Registration at the arena the morning of the event is required. The Youth Rodeo will be held on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. with Mutton Busting following.
The weekend event will also feature many activities for children including a petting zoo, shooting gallery, gold panning, live entertainment and more. A chuckwagon cook-off will be held Saturday only, with limited samples and voting opportunities. Some games and activities have an additional fee. Free event parking with a shuttle to Mahaffie will be available at nearby Olathe North High School, 600 E Prairie, Olathe, KS. Handicapped accessible parking will be available at the Heritage Center.Share