Members from Prairie Action League and the Prairie County Motorcycle Association, along with other volunteers, were involved in the all-day effort to restore Terry's T.
When Prairie Action League members decided about five years ago to restore Terry’s T, they really had no idea what an undertaking the project would turn out to be.
“It sounded like a good idea,” recalled PAL member Delite Dukart, noting it originated with fellow PAL member Walt Stepper.
The first steps of the project proved to be the easiest.
The group called on like-minded community members to donate $10 for each stone. Each donation ensured the donor’s name would appear on a stone.
After local cement business owner Newell Clarke formed the stones to be used on the T, charging the group a nominal fee, PAL members then hand painted each stone white, adding donors names in purple paint formed from computerized font.
Placing the 190 octagon shaped stones, each weighing 22-pounds, on Terry’s T located north of Terry - amid some of the roughest and steepest sections of the badlands - would prove a much more difficult task.
In the past several years some stones were packed in by foot. Others were hauled in using mules. But with the remaining 150-plus stones sitting in the garage of Gary and Bev Ostermiller, PAL members knew they needed outside help to finish the job.
That’s when the Prairie County Motorcycle Association stepped in.
Hearing about the project earlier this year, PCMA member Blayne Watts knew it was a task the motorcycle group could help with.
“This has got to be done,” Watts said, recalling his initial reaction to the project. “This has got to be done by TerryYippee.”
June rainstorms postponed a scheduled PCMA date last month to move the stones. More volunteers and riders were ready to show up then, Watts said. But with this past weekend’s drier conditions, PCMA and PAL members along with other volunteers decided to gather on Sunday in an impromptu setting to begin moving the stones. About 16 volunteers were on hand to help with the project.
The stones were placed on three pallets and loaded onto a 1-ton flatbed pickup. Parking along the south side of Scenic View Road, about a mile past the towers, a Ranger utility vehicle was then used to carry the stones further down the trail towards the T, traveling as far as possible in the rough terrain. From there, four motorcycle riders followed the jeep trail to the T, with an estimated distance of about three-quarters of a mile.
One stone, loaded in a backpack, was carried on each ride.
An assembly line of volunteers – those adding stones to backpacks at the front end and others unloading stones at the back end - was utilized.
“These guys didn’t waste any time,” Watts said. “These guys were real troopers.”
Most volunteers began at 2 p.m., with a few getting an earlier 11 a.m. start. By 7 p.m. the remaining stones, that will be used to outline the T, had been delivered.
PAL members and other volunteers plan on going to the T from now until the end of the month to set the stones. Although the horizontal top end of the T is completed, Dukart noted the vertical end of the stones still needs to be placed. The group will then spray paint the rocks inside the stone-T border white.
Although restoring the T began with PAL, Dukart noted that it was only through the volunteer manpower and motorcycle machine power of others that helped see the project to its near completion.
“It was wonderful when they stepped forward and helped us,” Dukart said.
Published July 13, 2011