Americana found in heart of Copeland

Copeland, Kansas, is situated on U.S. Highway 56 near the Old Santa Fe Trail in southwest Kansas. The town is centered almost 40 miles as the crow flies from the three largest cities in the region, Dodge City, Garden City and Liberal.

I grew up on a large farm seven miles southwest of town. My father and grandfather were both life-long farmers. Both sides of my family hail from this tiny hamlet on the rolling plains, so the town was basically my entire world growing up. I think most of my family would say they were proud to be three generations of Copeland Vikings. In 1991, when I was a sophomore, the high school closed down and merged with our closest neighbor to the east, Montezuma. We became the South Gray Rebels, a perennial power in 1A sports. Consequently I knew many people there too, as my mother was a registered nurse at the Montezuma Clinic for almost 20 years.

I remember my days on the farm fondly. Harvest time with my dad, brother and uncles, and riding ATVs with my cousins stand out clearly in mind, even some 35 years later. They should…I hit a mailbox when I was eight and was known to my friends as the infamous “mailbox killer” for several years after. This was just one of several significant motorized mishaps and misjudgments on my part. I can laugh about it all now because the community was truly home and the people there were my extended family. Everyone knew each other and I’m guessing they probably still do. I don’t get back as often as I would like, but Copeland will always be home to me.

Luke Waldron can be reached at [email protected].