Downtown Dodge, Inc. secured initial funding through the Kansas Department of Commerce Travel & Tourism Development Division (KDOC), thereby beginning the process for the Dodge City Trail of Fame. This $100,000 grant paid for initial planning, marketing and placement of the 24-inch bronze medallions into the sidewalks throughout the Dodge City historic district as well as other beautification efforts around the historic district. Additional funding through grants in aid was obtained from the City of Dodge City and the Dodge City Convention and Visitors Bureau.
In 2004, the project had grown to the point where it had taken on a life of its own so a new entity, the Dodge City Trail of Fame, Inc. was formed with its own board of directors and group of special leaders, volunteers and supporters. The organization then sheltered with the Community Foundation of Southwest Kansas until its own Federal not-for-profit status was granted. The organization was again successful with a second Attraction Development Grant from the Kansas Department of Commerce, Travel and Tourism Division for 2005.
The Dodge City Trail of Fame, Inc. is made up of a group of Dodge Citians who believe strongly in the community, including members of the Depot Theater Company, the Boot Hill Museum, the Kansas Heritage Center, the Dodge City Commissioners, and Dodge City Festivals, Inc., as well as some local businesses. There are no paid employees. A small office space was donated by Kirk Gross in Eryn's Downtown Center (previous Eckles building) in 2011. This small group of people have done what many said could not be done, and they look forward to doing far more as the years go by.
As of 2015, a total of 29 sidewalk markers have been placed as well as a larger than life statue of Wyatt Earp and a second life sized statue of John Henry "Doc" Holliday. The organization also contracts with Special US Deputy Marshall Charlie Meade to provide free walking tours of the Dodge City National Historic District.
For 2016 True West Magazine selected the Dodge City Trail of Fame as "Best Historic Town Tour' and our local Main Street program bestowed their "Downtown Advocacy" award on us for the year 2015. More statuary is in the works with the next subject planned to be a life sized statue of James Arness in his famous role as Marshall Matt Dillon. Please contact us to see who is involved with this project. Oh! And be sure to thank them the next time you see them!