A local group with an interest in Old West history will host an organizational meeting Thursday.

The Old Hays City Corral of the Westerners will meet at 6 p.m. for a dinner and lecture in the Heritage Room at Rose Garden Steak Haus, 230 E. Eighth. There also will be discussion of the formation of the local chapter, which was chartered Nov. 23 -- the date the city of Hays was founded in 1867.

Cost of the meal is $11. There will be a lecture given by Juti Winchester from the Department of History at Fort Hays State University. The topic is "Billy Dixon and Bill Cody: Scouting for Similarities."

There are interim officers for the local chapter. Officers will be elected Thursday.

"It seems as though a place as significant to Western history as Hays should have one of these corrals or posses," said Don Westfall, executive director of the Ellis County Historical Society, and a member of the new organization. "There's only one other one in Kansas, but it primarily serves eastern Kansas.

"It seems strange, too, given how important Kansas was in context of the subject matter. We thought we could rectify that by at least creating a second one that emphasizes the western part of the state."

Westfall said anybody can join, and an RSVP for Thursday's meeting is not necessary.

"It's one of the best -- if not the best -- amateur historian organizations," Westfall said.