October 8, 2019 – Warsaw, MO

The new Butterfield Stage Experience bicycle route is a historic experience along back country roads that leaves you with smiles for miles across Missouri. A mostly gravel/bikepacking route across some of the most beautiful, peaceful, and historic places in rural Missouri, you’ll re-experience an 1858 Butterfield Stage trip across Missouri.

This route was inspired in the Spring of 2018 at a regional trails meeting headed up by Kaysinger Basin Regional Planning Commission and the National Park Service RTCA program. Brent Hugh, with the Missouri Bicycle Federation was extremely instrumental in assisting the regional trail planning group with learning what was possible and how to create routes through the Kaysinger Region.

“Do what you can in your own area”, were words that resonated with the Director of the Warsaw Chamber of Commerce, Mac Vorce. He began to see possibilities of our communities being connected by this historic route, as gravel road riding and bike-pack touring are two of the fastest growing disciplines in cycling.

Going through multitudes of workshops about economic development along trails with the organization “New Growth”, it became clear that there were big possibilities with little investment from each community, utilizing existing infrastructure. “We looked at our whole county”, said Vorce, “and Lincoln became the hub linking us to the Rock Island and Katy Trails in Windsor.”

“Looking south, we were able to work with Hickory County on the development of the trail system in that direction, now linking three counties together with the Butterfield” said Vorce. “We tried to keep the route as close to the original stagecoach route as possible, while directing adventurers off of high-traffic count highways. Due to heavy traffic on Highway 83, it was necessary to work our way around Truman Lake, which brought us down into Fristoe, bringing all of Benton County together, and working our way to Quincy. This leaves Highway 83 as a scenic roadway for vehicles that might be exploring the Butterfield,” says Vorce.

In the Spring of 2019, the Missouri Bike and Pedestrian Federation (MoBikeFed) saw the success of the connectivity of the three counties along the Butterfield and mapped the entire route from Jefferson City to Springfield, creating a 254-mile regional route. “It became clear that there were big possibilities that required very little in the way of monetary investment from each community,” states Brent Hugh, Director of MOBikeFed.

With the Butterfield Stage Experience route going through a total of 27 main streets and spanning throughout nine counties, being vital to rural towns because it increases tourism and allows for economic growth and prosperity.

The entire 254 mile route with historic markers and monuments can be found at www.mobikefed.org or at ridewithgps.com/routes/30951168.

The Butterfield Stage Overland Mail operated from 1858 to 1861. John Butterfield signed a contract with the U.S. government to provide twice-a-week mail service from St. Louis to San Francisco.
In 1858, he personally carried the first bag of mail, boarding the Pacific Railroad in St. Louis. The railroad generally followed the alignment of the Amtrak route that you can still ride today (and still use to connect to points on the Butterfield Experience route): St. Louis, Kirkwood, Washington, Hermann, Jefferson City, California, and Tipton.

At Tipton, the railroad ended and the stagecoach journey began.
Butterfield had pieced together a stagecoach route from Tipton to Los Angeles and San Francisco, California, based on existing roads and routes.
In Missouri, Warren Love, District 125 State Representative and Mel Gilbert, a Missouri historian and attorney from Buffalo, wanted to preserve the history of the Butterfield Stage Overland Mail route as a historic route by introducing the Bill into Congress. It is now in the House of Representatives to be voted on.
Monuments for the route can be found at www.mobikefed.org/Butterfield or at ridewithgps.com/routes/30951168.

In 2013 Jenn Bradshaw, a resident of Warsaw, decided to do something for herself and get into better shape. She had a mountain bike and access to the local trail systems in Warsaw. Along her journey of utilizing the local trail systems, she fell in love with long distance riding and raced her first Truman Lake Mountain Bike race in 2015 where she won Cat 3 championship. Progressing through the years she won the State Champion Categories 2 and 1, and in 2019 she won the Marathon State Championship. Bradshaw is now the proud recipient of four Missouri State Championships.

During her tenure at the Warsaw Chamber of Commerce Jenn was involved with the planning process of the Butterfield Stage Experience. Coupled with this knowledge and her love of long distance cycling, along with her passion for the communities in Benton County, she decided to be the first to ride the entire 254 mile Butterfield Stage Experience. “I wanted to do my part and ride the entire route, making sure the GPS coordinates were accurate and documenting my experience for other interested riders”, says Bradshaw.

The experience for her was “an adventure through Missouri with views of endless fields, rolling hills, forests, small towns and friendly folks and dogs. Plus, the GPS routes were spot on”, states Bradshaw. Even though Bradshaw is a State Champion, she feels the importance of getting to explore Missouri on two wheels for the adventure and fun and states “I didn’t treat the Butterfield Stage Experience as a race, I took my time and enjoyed the ride.”

Not only is Bradshaw a role model for women but she’s now a spokesperson for creating inspirations for others to dream big and work hard towards their goals. Bradshaw states, “This experience has become about promoting the connectivity of rural towns through the passion of cycling. I am really thankful to my team mates and all who made the Butterfield Stage Experience happen. I can’t wait to ride it again.”


Kaysinger Basin Regional Planning Commission
Sheridan Garman-Neeman, Director

The primary focus of the organization upon its inception has been to provide professional planning services and technical assistance to members within the region. The seven county region was formed when a group of local residents and elected officials met to discuss the need of a unified effort to work cooperatively to solve problems and to plan for future development of human, natural, and economic resources of the region. It was decided that regional planning is an indispensable guide to local units of government in accomplishing a coordinated and efficient development of the region which will best promote the public health, safety, general welfare, and economic prosperity in accordance with existing and future needs. KBRPC helps communities help themselves, now and in the future. KBRPC formed a cooperative relationship with county and city governments to help communities make life easier for citizens. KBRPC staff forges links between local leaders and state and federal agencies. Established in 1968, we serve more than 100,000 people in seven counties: Bates, Benton, Cedar, Henry, Hickory, St. Clair and Vernon.
Kaysinger Basin Regional Planning Commission serves as an economic development district for Bates, Benton, Cedar, Henry, Hickory, St. Clair, and Vernon Counties. Staff members aid these counties and their communities in areas of grant writing and administration services, economic development planning, transportation planning, solid waste management, hazard mitigation planning, homeland security planning, and more.

West Central Community Action Agency – New Growth
Patty Cantrell, Director

New Growth works in tandem with its parent organization, the West Central Missouri Community Action Agency, to improve lives and livelihoods in nine west central Missouri counties: Bates, Benton, Cass, Cedar, Henry, Hickory, Morgan, St. Clair, and Vernon. New Growth, West Central and partners are pulling together the resources, organizations, and regional will needed to launch a new era of community health and wealth in west central Missouri. As a community development corporation, New Growth works to advance rural people and places toward a stronger tomorrow. It builds on West Central’s work since 1965 to assist individuals and families in need today.

Warsaw Chamber of Commerce
Mac Vorce, Director

The mission of the chamber is to develop, promote, facilitate and advocate for a sound economic environment in which the business community can grow and prosper.
The vision is to be recognized as an effective resource, providing relevant, innovative and impactful programming that endure a healthy business climate and an enhanced quality of life for the Warsaw area.

Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation
Brett Hugh, Director

The Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation is a statewide membership organization that supports and protects the rights and interests of bicyclists and pedestrians in Missouri. We make Missouri a better, safer place for bicycling, walking, and trails by championing safety, a world-class statewide network, and a strong, unified statewide movement that encourages more Missourians to bike and walk more often.

Press Release written by:
Benton County Tourism & Recreation
Lynette Stokes, Director

Benton County Tourism and Recreation is a 501c3 non-profit organization whose mission is to increase visitation and awareness of the Benton County Area. Our goal is to harness the county’s great tourism potential and transform it into an engine for growth and development that contributes to the goal of a prosperous economic future.
By utilizing the transient guest tax combined with corporate support for this continued economic growth, we will develop an Annual County Tourism Plan. The Plan focuses on highlighting our natural assets as well as our heritage in order to provide a rewarding and memorable experience to all visitors.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *