Hatteberg's People - His World Is Wichita of the 1870s: Mike Tracy

By: Larry Hatteberg Email
By: Larry Hatteberg Email

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Sunday, August 12, 2012

On Hatteberg's People, the folks at Cowtown work in another time. Mike Tracy is one of them. He's called a "teamster" because he drives the wagons and gives folks a feeling for travel in 1870.

"There are things that you can do here that you can't do in any other walk of life. The connection to history and the connection to visitors is something I wouldn't like to give up," said Tracy.

"Tim and Barney are my counselors and my psychologist. Taking a big animal like that and touching them and grooming them, taking care of them, paying attention to them - it's just good for a person."

"It slows me down, it gives me perspective, it gives me ties to the earth. It has a level of technology that I can understand. I can rebuild a wagon. I can rebuild a harness and I know how the parts go together and what they all do. If I leave Cowtown, I get out in a pretty complex busy world that sometimes it makes me dizzy."

"I can stay pretty busy here, but it is all a relaxing kind of busy. We need to relate to our past to give us perspective on what is going on now."

"These last few years, I'm here because these museum visitors are the kind of people I want to be around. On their time off, I help them enjoy that time off. I just like them."

"But it's all part of the ritual of life that gets us through our days and makes us sleep good at night."

The sad thing is that many Wichitians have never visited Cowtown. It's a peak at our history, at ourselves and a time when the sun, the animals and the weather controlled our lives. If you haven't been there, make it a priority. It's dusty, can get warm or cold but it deserves our time and our support.

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