COLEMAN, S.D. (KDLT) — The weather was well below freezing Sunday, but that didn’t delay the Dakota 38+2 Memorial Ride.
The horseback riders still made the trip as scheduled along Highway 34, north of Sioux Falls.
Wilfred Keeble has been doing the Dakota 38+2 Memorial Ride since it started in 2005.
“It’s cold, this time of year. It’s cold,” he said.
And even with the cold weather, he still rides to honor the 38 Dakota Warriors who were hung in Mankato, Minnesota in 1862 and two more in 1864.
Keeble said, “This ride is reconciliation and healing. That’s the message that this ride carries.”
The riders start their 17-day journey in Lower Brule, South Dakota, with their final destination being Mankato, Minnesota. To most people, they just see horseback riders on the side of the road, but the purpose has a deeper meaning.
“This is a prayer ride, so we’re in prayer. We’re enduring this cold and we’re praying and that’s a sacrifice,” Keeble said.
The number of riders varies day-to-day, but Keeble says as long as the younger generations keep riding, the tradition of the Dakota 38+2 Memorial Ride will live on.
“The kids are the driving force behind this, I think. For me, it is anyway. We are going to continue to do this as long as we can," Keeble added. “I think it is going to go on after I’m gone, it’ll probably still be going.”
In total, their route is 325 miles; passing through countless towns along the way.
“We appreciate all the support that’s been given to us throughout the years from all the communities along the route,” Keeble stated.
The Memorial Ride ends on Dec. 26 in Mankato.
Today is day 6 of 17 and the riders traveled 28 miles from Madison to Flandreau.