YTAWMN to host "Sociability Run" on September 11

Yellowstone Trail Alliance of Western Minnesota

The Yellowstone Trail Alliance of Western Minnesota is hosting a Sociability Run along The Yellowstone Trail between Buffalo Lake and Ortonville on Saturday, September 11, 2021.  So, just what is a “Sociability Run”?  

To answer that question, we need to go back in history a bit.  When automobiles appeared on the scene, they were extremely popular, and in 1912 there were 356,000 automobiles sold in the United States.  It soon became evident that there were few good roads to drive those new cars on.  Imagine owning a wonderful horseless carriage and having only dirt roads or paths used by horses and wagons available! Getting stuck or breaking down was a common occurrence.  And then came what would become The Yellowstone TrailAssociation, a grassroots movement dedicated to improving and connecting those difficult roadways.  

Yellowstone Trail architect MIchael Dowling makes social connections in rural communities using roadway travel.

When the first 26 mile stretch of road, between Ipswich and Aberdeen South Dakota, was completed, it was celebrated with a Sociability Run. At that time a Sociability Run was a popular event involving a group of cars travelling together, enjoying food, amateur competition and club sociability.  Being able to get in a car and drive somewhere was a new form of entertainment and was much to celebrate!

Today, we take our cars and roads for granted.  We can’t imagine life without them.  The first car to be massed produced was the Ford Model T in 1908.  My grandfather would have been ten years old at the time.  His family lived on a farm west of Hector, only a few miles north of the original 1914 Yellowstone Trail.  He would have been 16 when that part of the Yellowstone Trail was finished.  Look how far we have come in just a few generations!

Runs were also held for other reasons, for example, to check the condition of a prospective route, or the durability of one’s vehicle.  The first cross country run was held in September of 1916 in conjunction with the military.  World War I had been going on in Europe for 2 years, and in about 7 months the United States would be involved as well.  The purpose of this run was to see how long it would take to deliver a message from Plymouth to Seattle.  It was run as a relay and took 121 hours.

So, today, I see a Sociability Run as a celebration of our history.  I encourage you to visit the museums in the towns along the Trail, they contain many historical gems. Celebrate how far we have come in such a short time!  You cannot fully appreciate what we have today without looking at where we have been.  

Whether you are an individual or a club, a collector or someone who just enjoys going out for a drive, check it out!  For more information visit our Facebook page and website