KU News Release

May 14, 2010
Contact: Mike Krings, University Relations, (785) 864-8860

Rural health care, historic places focus of Wheat State Whirlwind Tour day three

More Information

LAWRENCE — More than 40 University of Kansas faculty and staff will roam with buffalo — both live and bronze — learn about rural health care and visit unique, historic Kansas landmarks on May 19, the third day of the 2010 Wheat State Whirlwind Tour.

Now in its 12th year, the tour takes faculty and staff, many new to Kansas, on a five-day, 1,000-mile journey to learn more about Kansas and its history, economy, culture and landscape.

The third day of the week-long tour will begin with a visit to the Gove County Medical Center in Quinter. Dr. Shelly Greunbacher will lead a tour of the facility and discuss the challenges facing rural health care centers in the state. Both KU and the KU Medical Center work closely with rural health care providers and educate doctors, nurses, pharmacists and residents who work in practices throughout the state.

From Quinter, the tour will venture to Oakley, where the group will get a look at the larger-than-life bronze buffalo sculpture. The sculpture depicts Buffalo Bill Cody on the hunt. “The legend of Buffalo Bill” is said to have been born in Logan County. Cody was active in hunting buffalo in the area to clear the way for railroad construction when he was dubbed “Buffalo Bill.”

The tour will go from a bronze buffalo to the real thing. The next stop is Duff’s Buffalo Ranch in Logan County. Richard Duff, owner of Beef Belt Feeders of Scott City, and his staff will take tour participants on a ride through their pastures on flat bed trucks. The Duffs have given tourgoers an up-close look at their nearly 200 head of buffalo each year of the tour.

The Keystone Gallery, near the pasture, showcases some of the natural wonders found in the area. The area, rich with fossils, has been a hotbed of discovery for many years.

The bus will then roll on to Ness City, where the group will have a catered lunch at the “Skyscraper of the Plains.” Built to house the Ness County Bank, the structure was completed in 1890 and was called “The finest and most imposing structure west of Topeka.” The building has gone through a number of renovations over the years, and the ground floor is now home to the Ness City Chamber of Commerce and a “Kansas Store” operated by volunteers. All proceeds go to the continued renovation of the building.

After lunch, the tour will travel to the Fort Larned National Historic Site in Pawnee County. The fort was established as an Army outpost intended to keep peace between white travelers on the Santa Fe Trail and native populations. The tour will also visit the nearby Fort Larned before traveling to the Quivera National Wildlife Refuge visitors center to view migrating birds in wetlands habitats.

That evening, tour participants will have dinner at the Kansas Sampler Center near Inman. Director Marci Penner, a KU alumna, will detail her work with the center. Penner has made a career of promoting Kansas communities, products and culture. The group will spend the evening in Hutchinson.

This year, tour participants will share highlights of the trip on Twitter. Visit twitter.com/kuwheatstate from May 17 to 21 for daily updates, impressions from participants and more. To view daily itineraries, maps of this year’s route and photos of previous tours, visit www.wheatstate.ku.edu.

Itinerary for Wednesday, May 19

7:15 a.m. – Load bus
7:30 a.m. – Depart hotel
8 a.m. – Gove County Medical Center, Quinter
8:45 a.m. – Depart Quinter
9:15 a.m. – Point of interest, Bronze Buffalo, Monument Rocks
10 a.m. – Arrive for buffalo roam, Duff Ranch, and visit Keystone Gallery
11 a.m. – Depart Duff Ranch for Ness City
12:15 p.m. – Lunch at Ness City, Skyscraper of the Plains
1 p.m. – Depart Ness City
2 p.m. – Arrive at Fort Larned National Historic Site
2:30 p.m. – Depart Fort Larned
3:30 p.m. – Arrive Quivera National Wildlife Refuge
4:15 p.m. – Depart Quivera National Wildlife Refuge
5 p.m. – Arrive Holiday Inn Express, Hutchinson
5:45 p.m. Depart for Kansas Sampler Center
6:15 p.m. – Arrive at Kansas Sampler Center, dinner with Marci Penner
8:30 p.m. – Depart for hotel

The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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