Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting for the Butterfield Stage Experience & Butterfield 60 Gravel Road Ride Sat Oct 26

A grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Butterfield Stage Experience Route will take place on Saturday, October 26, 2019 at the Warsaw Courthouse Butterfield Monument, located at 316 Van Buren, Warsaw, Missouri.

Following the grand opening, the first ride/race event utilizing a portion of the route, the Butterfield 60 Gravel Road Event, will take place.

Butterfield 60 Gravel Road Gran Fondo - Sat Oct 26, 2019
Butterfield 60 Gravel Road Gran Fondo - Sat Oct 26, 2019

The Gravel Gran Fondo is a timed race for those who want to do it competitively but it's also just a fun ride at your own pace for everyone else.

Have fun with the Landmark Photo Challenge as you visit all the cool historic landmarks along the way!

About the Butterfield Stage Experience route

The new Butterfield Stage Experience bicycle route is a historic experience along back country roads that leaves you with smiles for miles across Missouri. A mostly gravel/bikepacking route across some of the most beautiful, peaceful, and historic places in rural Missouri, you’ll re-experience an 1858 Butterfield Stage trip across Missouri.

This route was inspired in the Spring of 2018 at a regional trails meeting headed up by Kaysinger Basin Regional Planning Commission and the National Park Service RTCA program.  Brent Hugh, with the Missouri Bicycle Federation was extremely instrumental in assisting the regional trail planning group with learning what was possible and how to create routes through the Kaysinger Region. 

“Do what you can in your own area”, were words that resonated with the Director of the Warsaw Chamber of Commerce, Mac Vorce.  He began to see possibilities of our communities being connected by this historic route, as gravel road riding and bike-pack touring are two of the fastest growing disciplines in cycling.

Going through multitudes of workshops about economic development along trails with the organization “New Growth”, it became clear that there were big possibilities with little investment from each community, utilizing existing infrastructure.  “We looked at our whole county”, said Vorce, “and Lincoln became the hub linking us to the Rock Island and Katy Trails in Windsor.”
“Looking south, we were able to work with Hickory County on the development of the trail system in that direction, now linking three counties together with the Butterfield” said Vorce.  “We tried to keep the route as close to the original stagecoach route as possible, while directing adventurers off of high-traffic count highways.  Due to heavy traffic on Highway 83, it was necessary to work our way around Truman Lake, which brought us down into Fristoe, bringing all of Benton County together, and working our way to Quincy.  This leaves Highway 83 as a scenic roadway for vehicles that might be exploring the Butterfield,” says Vorce.

In the Spring of 2019, the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation (MoBikeFed) saw the success of the connectivity of the three counties along the Butterfield and mapped the entire route from Jefferson City to Springfield, creating a 254-mile regional route.  “It became clear that there were big possibilities that required very little in the way of monetary investment from each community,” said Brent Hugh, Director of MoBikeFed.

With the Butterfield Stage Experience route going through a total of 27 main streets and spanning throughout nine counties, being vital to rural towns because it increases tourism and allows for economic growth and prosperity.

The entire 254 mile route with historic markers and monuments can be found at www.mobikefed.org/Butterfield or at RideWithGPS.com/routes/30951168.

The Butterfield Stage Experience - Butterfield Stage History

The Butterfield Stage Overland Mail operated from 1858 to 1861. John Butterfield signed a contract with the U.S. government to provide twice-a-week mail service from St. Louis to San Francisco.

In 1858, he personally carried the first bag of mail, boarding the Pacific Railroad in St. Louis. The railroad generally followed the alignment of the Amtrak route that you can still ride today (and still use to connect to points on the Butterfield Experience route): St. Louis, Kirkwood, Washington, Hermann, Jefferson City, California, and Tipton.

At Tipton, the railroad ended and the stagecoach journey began.

Butterfield had pieced together a stagecoach route from Tipton to Los Angeles and San Francisco, California, based on existing roads and routes.

In Missouri, Warren Love, District 125 State Representative and Mel Gilbert, a Missouri historian and attorney from Buffalo, wanted to preserve the history of the Butterfield Stage Overland Mail route as a historic route by introducing the Bill into Congress.  It is now in the House of Representatives to be voted on.

Monuments and historical markers along the route are mapped at www.mobikefed.org/Butterfield or RideWithGPS.com/routes/30951168.

FOUR-TIME MISSOURI STATE CHAMPION COMPLETES THE ENTIRE 254 MILE BUTTERFIELD STAGE EXPERIENCE ROUTE

In 2013 Jenn Bradshaw, a resident of Warsaw, decided to do something for herself and get into better shape.  She had a mountain bike and access to the local trail systems in Warsaw.  Along her journey of utilizing the local trail systems, she fell in love with long distance riding and raced her first Truman Lake Mountain Bike race in 2015 where she won Cat 3 championship.  Progressing through the years she won the State Champion Categories 2 and 1, and in 2019 she won the Marathon State Championship. Bradshaw is now the proud recipient of four Missouri State Championships.

During her tenure at the Warsaw Chamber of Commerce Jenn was involved with the planning process of the Butterfield Stage Experience.  Coupled with this knowledge and her love of long distance cycling, along with her passion for the communities in Benton County, she decided to be the first to ride the entire 254 mile Butterfield Stage Experience.  “I wanted to do my part and ride the entire route, making sure the GPS coordinates were accurate and documenting my experience for other interested riders”, says Bradshaw.

The experience for her was “an adventure through Missouri with views of endless fields, rolling hills, forests, small towns and friendly folks and dogs. Plus, the GPS routes were spot on”, states Bradshaw.  Even though Bradshaw is a State Champion, she feels the importance of getting to explore Missouri on two wheels for the adventure and fun and states “I didn’t treat the Butterfield Stage Experience as a race, I took my time and enjoyed the ride.”

Not only is Bradshaw a role model for women but she’s now a spokesperson for creating inspirations for others to dream big and work hard towards their goals.  Bradshaw states, “This experience has become about promoting the connectivity of rural towns through the passion of cycling. I am really thankful to my team mates and all who made the Butterfield Stage Experience happen.  I can’t wait to ride it again.”

Creating a world-class bicycle route network in Missouri is one of the four major goals of MoBikeFed's Vision for Bicycling and Walking in Missouri. Working with communities across Missouri to build new routes like the Butterfield Stage Experience is one way we work towards that goal--and help fire up local communities across the state to get excited about making their cities more walk and bicycle friendly.

Your ongoing membership and generous financial support help turn our Vision into reality!

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