News Release

January 9, 2024  

RE: 2024 Big Kansas Road Trip  

FROM: Marci Penner, Kansas Sampler Foundation,; 620.960.0552  


The sixth annual Big Kansas Road Trip will take place May 2-5 in Ellsworth and Lincoln counties plus the community of Lucas in Russell County.  
Providing first-hand experiences in rural communities for the general public is the main purpose of this Kansas Sampler Foundation event.

The visiting public decides their own schedule and destinations, adventure ala carte. They can study the options ahead of time at or with a BKRT color guide that comes out in April.  

Marci Penner, co-director of the Kansas Sampler Foundation, said there is plenty to do to keep you busy and enthralled for four days but you might choose to come one day. There is grassroots art, military history, geologic gems, petroglyphs, post rock structures, hiking trails, museums, a microbrewery and made-from-scratch food restaurants, small-town shops, and, well, lots of things you won’t expect. But perhaps best of all are the events staged by locals to help you get to know them.”  

Jim Gray will be stationed at Fort Ellsworth. You can peruse over 9,000 cookbooks at The Cookbook House in Barnard. There will be demonstrations of extracting post rock from the earth. Two missile silo sights will give tours (fee). There is bingo, pie on the porch, ag and sustainable farm tours, coffee with senior citizens, dark sky viewing, movies on sides of buildings, drive-in’s, and historic theaters, and so much more.  
Penner added, “It’s the events where you really feel the connection to the locals and their rural culture. The best advice is to plan ahead but be flexible along the way. 

There is a great deal for kids to enjoy, as well. It’s inexpensive, it’s illuminating, and it really gives you the opportunity to get connected to Kansas.”  
One visitor had this observation, “Rural doesn't always show on the surface what is amazing about it but with a few more thoughtul looks, questions and conversations, it reveals itself. That's what makes the BKRT special. People identifying and loving the specialness of rural, as it is.”  

Local leaders are Stacie Schmidt and Michelle Skurkis, Ellsworth County; Kelly Gourley and Kris Heinze, Lincoln County; and Erika Nelson, Lacie Austin and Connie Dougherty, Lucas.   
For more information go to or call 620.960.0552.  For photo contact WenDee at