- Associated Press - Monday, January 9, 2017

EMPORIA, Kan. (AP) - A Kansas native is starting an Emporia-based sightseeing tour company to showcase the state, its heritage and culture.

Casey Cagle decided late last year to create Prairie Earth Tours after spending several years working as a cross-country tour guide. Cagle said he rarely ventured into his home state of Kansas, the Wichita Eagle (https://bit.ly/2i6HYhE ) reported.

“It pretty much went everywhere but Kansas - cross country across northern states or southern states,” he said. “In the beginning, I couldn’t help but think, ‘Man, I wish I was in Kansas right now. … I could really knock it out of the park.’”

Cagle’s new company will offer guided tours of Kansas, specializing in trips through the Flint Hills. Tour groups would be limited to about 14 people, the maximum he can hold in his van.

“If you have a group that size, then you can go to the small, hole-in-the-wall restaurants or the stuff that’s a little trickier to get to - if you’re going to a small town, you’re not descending on this small town with 50 people and changing the experience,” he said. “You’re experiencing it like a local would.”

Until the Flint Hills trips begin this spring, Cagle is offering Kansas brewery tours. He plans to eventually offer Kansas winery trips and tours that are advantageous for photography. Cagle said all the current tours start and end in Emporia.

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Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, https://www.kansas.com

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