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Battle Central at
Big River Ranch!
Information on Battle Reenactments and more!
Big River Ranch, just outside Lexington, will be a focus of many of the exciting events of the celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Lexington, including a Civil War Battle and Maneuvers at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 17, and an authentic Reenactment of the historic Battle of the Hemp Bales on Sunday, Sept. 18, from 1:30 to 3 p.m.
    Big River Ranch was chosen for the battle reenactments to allow better viewing and increased safety for visitors and reenactors alike. The ranch has 2,100 acres, which will allow for cavalry and artillery maneuvers, plus plenty of space for sutlers, food vendors and reenactor campsites.
Parking & Transportation (click here for maps)
Since Big River Ranch is at the end of Goodloe Orchard Road, a mile-long gravel road, parking at the ranch itself has been limited to the first 1,000 cars on Saturday and Sunday to avoid congestion. There is no charge for the reenactments and associated events, but there is a parking fee of $25 for passenger vehicles and RVs and $50 for buses over 10 passengers. If available, parking after 5 pm on Saturday will be $10 for passenger vehicles and RVs. Limited handicap parking is available at the ranch as close as possible to the viewing and vendor areas. Parking passes can be obtained at the closest remote parking lot just past the entrance to Goodloe Orchard Road and at other locations.
     Shuttle buses will also bring visitors to and from the ranch from free remote parking lots and downtown Lexington. Shuttle wristbands are $5 per person per day, good for unlimited rides on the shuttles. 
     No pets are allowed except service animals. No alcholic beverages or coolers can be carried in. No golf carts or other 4-wheel vehicles will be allowed to brought in or used at the ranch.There are no bleachers or seating for viewing the reenactments. Visitors should bring their own lawn chairs or blankets or be prepared to stand in the viewing area behind the Rope Line.
Sutlers and Vendors
There will be a number of sutlers with booths at Big River Ranch selling period clothing, equipment, supplies and souvenirs to both reenactors and vendors. There will also be food vendors throughout the weekend. Ample sanitary facilities will be available at the ranch.
Saturday Events
The Ranch will open at 9 am on Saturday, Sept. 17. Reenactors camps will be open for the public to view, and sutlers and vendors will be open for business. The Opening Ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. Shuttle buses will be available to take both reenactors and visitors to downtown Lexington for the Period Parade
scheduled for 12 noon.
     At 3 pm, a Generic Civil War Battle and Maneuvers will be held at the viewing area, incorporating artillery, cavalry and infantry. This will be a dress rehearsal for the battle reenactment on Sunday.
     On Saturday evening from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., there will be hayride-style Campfire Tours of the reenactor camps, giving visitors an authentic glimpse of how Civil War soldiers spent their time when not fighting. Fee is $5 per person. There will be an Artillery Fire demonstration at dusk.
     A Reenactors Civil War Ball will begin at 9 p.m. Participation in the actual Ball is limited to reenactors and those who attend in authentic period dress. Those not dressing out may attend as viewers, but space is limited for those not actually participating.
     Camps will be closed to the public after 10 p.m.
Sunday Events
The ranch will open at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 18. with reenactor campsites open for viewing and sutlers and vendors open for business. A Church Service is planned for 10 a.m.
   The Reenactment of the Battle of the Hemp Bales is scheduled to start at 1:30 p.m.on Sunday. As in the actual battle, Federal troops will be dug in behind breastworks.  Missouri State Guard units including both infantry and cavalry will advance on the Federal defenses from several directions. Round bales (johnson grass, not hemp in this case) will be used to encircle and tighten the noose around the Federal position. The final surrender of Col. Mulligan, commander of the Federal troops to Gen. Price of the Missouri State Guards will conclude the reenactment by around 3 p.m. Events will continue that afternoon in downtown Lexington.
      Robbie Maupin, operator of Big River Ranch and a dedicated reenactor and living historian, has said, “Our goal is give each visitor an experience that will raise the hairs on the back of their neck—something they can tell their grandchildren about.”