Rancher On Horseback Finishes Ride Across America


Bill Inman atop his horse Blackie
as riders in Hendersonville, N.C. welcome him


January 13, 2008

 An Oregon rancher who set off on a cross-country horseback ride seven months ago in search of what’s good in America dismounted Sunday, feeling encouraged by the spirit and stories of the people he met.

Bill Inman began his journey June 2 because he felt distress over how the country was being portrayed in news coverage and on TV shows. He rode his 16-year-old thoroughbred-quarter horse Blackie.

His wife, Brenda, and a four-person support crew joined him on the trip through eight states.

Along the way, Inman collected stories of hardworking, honest everyday people in rural America.

His cross cross-country trek was dubbedUncovering America by Horseback, a website that noted his experiences, including videos.


The scenery in America is changing and I’m really proud we took snapshots at slow motion of this time period because 20 years from now it will be different,” he said.

Inman talks about the retired rancher in Idaho who he considers “a true image of America with his honesty and hospitality,” or people he’s met working multiple jobs to make ends meet, or another Idaho rancher e-mailing the progress of the journey to his son in Iraq.

“There is nothing like riding across the nation to learn about the people of this country,” he said.


Among the people he met was a Wyoming deputy sheriff who drove 25 miles through a thunderstorm to bring dinner to him and his wife, and all 17 people of a Colorado town who came out to see him ride off.

An Idaho state trooper paid him $20 for the chance to sit on top of Blackie, he said.

“Sometimes, I was more intrigued by the stories they were telling than the stories I was telling,” Inman said.

Inman finished his trip riding into the southwestern North Carolina town under overcast skies. A crowd of more than 100 people greeted Inman as he ended the journey.


Crossing the plains of Kansas

“I don’t know if that’s really sunk in yet. It may take me two or three days to think it’s over,” Inman said in a telephone interview.

Inman ticked off a list of what’s been bad about the trip — temperatures ranging from 108 degrees to freezing, pesky insects, water shortages, crossing mountains and desert and riding in a lightning storm. People aren’t on the list.

“I haven’t run into any bad people,” he said.

Inman bought Blackie in 2001. The two have clearly bonded.

“I know his capabilities and I know his flaws and I think he can say the same thing for me,” he said.  “Now if you think we’re constantly kissing buddies, I don’t think so.

Do I brag about him a lot? Yeah.”


Re-written from news sources:


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23 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. What a wonderful story, I can’t imagine being in the saddle more than 2 hrs ? Let alone seven months!
    Well done Bill Inman & Blackie.
    Its also refreshing to hear in this day an age they didn’t have a problems on the way.
    Nice to see the hand of friendship is still alive & well.

    Wayne… (equine image)

    Hi Wayne,
    Inspiring guy to have made that trip! When I saw the photo of his arrival on Blackie, I looked at the horses hooves and thought … that boy walked every step of the way! Amazing!

    I realize they did that when moving West with the covered wagons, but it’s been awhile since we’ve heard of accomplishments like that.

  2. Great post and a wonderful story. I remember hearing something of it awhile ago. Why hasn’t this been on network television national news? Or did I miss it?

    Hi Callie,
    It hit the Internet newspapers shortly after Bill Inman and Blackie arrived in North Carolina. My husband just happened to see the story two hours later. I hope this accomplishment and inspiring story gets TV coverage. I find these things … thrilling.

  3. I have read of his trip before somewhere here in blogland. I think not long after he started this journey. I’ve been wondering how it was going for him. Glad to know they make it ok.

    Hi Rising Rainbow,
    Really admire the rider … but what a horse!!

  4. What a wonderful story. Thank you for finding that and sharing it with us!

    Hi Sarah,
    Such a fantastic accomplishment. Greatly enjoyed his website.

  5. It made our local news, but we’re not that far away.

    My rear hurts just thinking about it.

    I’m even more amazed at the hooves. Yes, America was settled by people on horses, but there wasn’t any asphalt, even though I know this guy must have tried to avoid hard surfaces when he could.

    Amazing! Thanks for running this story. I hope that he’ll write a book or something.

    Hi Anne,
    I’m with you. A book and a movie would be great. His website has some fascinating footage. I sure admire the rider and crew, but to me that horse needs a big cheer!

    I get very emotional about his horse facing the elements and putting one foot in front of the other … all across America.

  6. I have been following his progress on http://www.uncoveringamerica.com He is from Oregon, so I caught the story on the news and have been checking it. What a dream come true to ride across America! Someday:-)

  7. Mr.Inman,
    WOW! My name is Dee & about a year ago I met a guy named Ted Yates who shared a dream of his with me to ride horses across America. I don’t believe he’s aware this trip has already been taken but I want you to know that you, your wife & the horsemen who accompanied you are heroes in my heart. Altho Ted & I procrastinated too long to be the first ones to make the journey, thanks to you & your group the road has been paved & one day I’ll cross America on horseback as well. WOW! Kudos to you all!!! Dee Miller, Modesto, CA

  8. I professed as a young girl to a rancher in N.D., that I wanted to ride across America on horseback. He was amused to think a young girl would want to do such a thing. I love America and I love horses. The media has many a hateful thing to say about our country…and if we believe them, and the president elect, our spirits will be surely be crushed. There are millions of us who love this land and well know, that it was bought and paid for with a high price…the blood of American servicemen and women. God help us for the hard times we are about to go through. Let us never forget God’s mercy endures forever and ever. This is an inspirational story of a man who wanted to see for himself, that there are people just like him who still love this land of ours.

  9. I am so energized by these people doing our country by horseback. Tom Seay will do border to border (Mexico to Canada) starting in April 2009. I just want to jump in here so bad and feel this emotion by riding a part of something??. Some of us just could not organize a trip like this but would love to be a part of a part meaning a week or a few weeks. I think there is a real market here. For me just riding across my home state of Virginia would give me a great deal of satisfaction.

    I commend you Bill Inman for your perseverance and Blackie’s devotion and hard work. I hope to see more of you in the future and more people fulfulling their dreams with their horses.

  10. Howdy Bill and Blackie, Envious, yes that is the word, as I also plan to make a trek with my trusty steed, Bleu. I’m so please that you enjoyed the time well spent with your friend and the friends made along the way. I was curious, would you mind sending me a line so that we may converse about this. Looking forward to hearing from you soonly. Thank-you ever so kindly. Pinto & Bleu

  11. i have wanted to ride from here in ky to wyoming. it was so good to read about the ride. if anyone reads this would you please e-mail if you know the best way to go and how to get ready for a ride like that. thanks for the great story.

  12. Hello, It has been a week since finding you online and sendning a note of inquery. Please reply as I have begun to make extensive plans for the trek my horse and I plan to make in May of 2009.

    Howdy! I’m Pinto from the Lansing Jackson area. My travels on horseback have taken me all over.
    Currently I plan to ride my trusty steed – Mr. Bleusman, AKA Bleudie, through the great state of Michigan! My ride will begin May 30 2009, in Sturgis, Michigan on route 66. Our path will continue to Mack city, over and up to the Upper Pen. following Hwy 2 to 77 , eventually ending at the Wisconsin border.
    Anyone wishing to join me for a few laughs, hours, or even a couple of days should connect with me via facebook. Looking forward to hearing from all. Happy trails, Pinto

  13. Welcome home cowboy, great ride. I rode the santa fe trail 879 miles in 1989 and to tell you the truth it still hasn’t set in to this day, as I plan a new trip of a little over 3000 miles that will take place in the spring of 2010. I hope that your horse will live a great and easy life from this point on, take care and my you have many happy trails Patrick

  14. I think this trip would be awesome for anyone to take part in. Something of this magitude would take a lot of dedication. I,m currently a Principal at West Salem Grade School in Southern Illinois. Im 40 yrs. old and I’m planning on retiring in 15 years. I’m wanting to head to Montana-Canada border and ride south to New Mexico. I’m starting to put things together so I will be ready when the time comes. The one big thing is I don’t want to have a trailor in front of me each day. I know this seems crazy but I want to follow water routes as much as possible. This will take some planning but this is going to be my ultimate goal in life after retirement. I used to coach high school baseball and basketball and I’m all about goals in life. I want to make this my grand championship goal. I have tried to start small on some trips locally by horse backpacking into Shawnee National Forest on New Years Eve and sleeping in a cave with temps of 17 degrees. If anyone could help on the experience for this trip or just to say that it is not possible please email me at daleschmittler@gmail.com By the way believe me because you will be reading about it in the near future.

  15. Simply fascinating! I would love to ride a horse up through the Los Padres National Forest in California but don’t have any idea of how to do this, yet. I learning as much as I can right now.

    Great story and adventure.

  16. This is what I wanna do when I grow up!
    It is so wonderful, the world on horseback!

  17. Your Journey has been intense! I applaud you with your determination and stamina! For decades, this has been a dream of mine.. As a teen in Michigan, I would go out everyday riding my horse, from dawn until dusk during the weekends and after school days were over,riding into town, and to the next one, sometimes having another one of my horses in tow,to get exersise.My yearning became stronger, in my journey over my mountains and obstacles, I have been crossing. I am now at my pinnicle, and moving forwards. I intend following through with my dream. My cause I ride for is about Domestic Violence, to advocate to get programs in our schools, so, children,teens,and adults will have the opportunity to empower oneself with knowledge! And be a voice for victims, to let them know there is a way out,by determination and strength within.. I am combining my love for horses, and the earth,and my passion for this important cause. I started a page on facebook, so all my friends can follow my steps. Which includes a fellow longrider. Stan Perdue. I am in the beginning stages of giving birth to this adventure. So info I am in need of, and researching much. I admire you and are an inspiration to me, and others. You are a true longrider!

  18. I have to know: Is Blackie barefoot?

  19. Hello Bill and Blackie! My name is Taani and I was truly moved by your experiences on your cross country ride. I too am a horse lover and have a ranch here in Northern California where I board. I came across this site because I am researching for a cross country ride with my daughter (13) to benefit and raise funds for the Wild Mustangs of America. We want to complete the journey in 100 days. From Sacramento to Virginia (we think). I have rescued and trained Mustangs and appreciate how important it is to preserve these beautiful animals that are such an integral part of our nations history. They deserve a chance to thrive, just as the “common man” needs to be appreciated and protected. They are the backbone of this country. I have tried writing letters, going to the inhumane helicopter “gathers” to try and protest and get them stopped. They all say they understand, but it is for the Mustangs best interest and there is nothing they can do. I will not let that stand. My daughter and I want to ride across this beautiful country to bring awareness and funds to save these majestic creatures. We want people to join our ride, even for a short distance to help us raise attention and funds, get the media involved if we can, so that our voice is heard and paid attention to. I know in my heart that if it was put out there, for the majorities to see, this slow “secret” erasure of a national treasure would be stopped, and the Mustangs would be preserved with newly educated standards preventing their extinction. Please, if anyone, including you Bill and Blackie, would like to get involved, or has helpful information for my daughter and I to accomplish this, please contact me via email; taani1@aol.com. with the subject line “Mustangs”. I thank you all in advance for taking the time to see this and think about it. Sincerely Hoping For Help, Taani

  20. Hello, I think its cool that you did it. I am gonna do the same thing in about 2weeks, I have been excited and anxious to leave my self. I would love to ask you some other questions in your email vs. here if you feel comfortable. My email is rdwags_931@hotmail.com.

    This is my page I made for people to follow my ride.


    Happy Trails,

  21. I actually met this man. One day working in my yard with my nephew in Vidor,Tx,a stranger on a horse rides up and introduces himself and then proceeds to tell me of his goal to ride across America on horseback. I honestly didn’t think much of it at the time but only that it was an admirable goal and wished him luck on his journeys. Now about a year and a half later I thought of that man and wonder how he managed. I am happy to see his mission complete and wish him all the luck and happiness in the years that follow. Good job Mr. Inman and keep truckin.
    Aaron Smith

  22. I have had horses most of my life and have thought about doing this after the wagon train did it in 1976. Since then several people have done this. I recently found an interview with Eustace Conway “a modern day mountain man” and he had did this when he was younger and totally into the mountain man way of life. So I started searching the web to do a little estimating on how long it would take and what would be a good route. That is when I found this site and then I remembered seeing a report of Bill doing this but at the time he was still in the western part of the US. So I just wanted to say congratulations.

    Bill in Ohio

  23. I work with Bill Inman now at Padres Mesa Ranch, in Chambers,AZ now, he is the ranch manager and my boss

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