In the spring of this year Werner Wagon Works, owned by Don and Connie Werner, of Horton, Kansas, was contracted by McCrossen Boys Ranch of South Dakota to build a “show hitch wagon”, a 12 foot long by 65” wide by 9 foot high to the top of the seat rail, horse-drawn wagon, built for show or commercial use. The boys ranch received a very generous anonymous donation for the building of the wagon. During the process of building the hitch wagon, the Werners were contacted by Troy Geis, the ranch’s admissions director, stating that the ranch may be in the running for an entry in the 2009 Presidential Parade. Geis said, “Make sure Don puts an extra special touch on it.” The Werners received word last week from the boys ranch that, indeed, the ranch will be participating in the Inauguration Parade with a group of boys riding in the hitch wagon which will be drawn by a team of 6 Belgian horses. The wagon is metallic green, with and all chrome plating, extra passenger seats are hung in the wagon box with handrails, the drivers seat easily holds four adults. There were 100 finalists selected from 1,400 entries for the parade. This historic parade in the nation’s capital was first held in 1801 when Thomas Jefferson became the first President to be sworn in in Washington, D.C., the location chosen for the permanent capital and the site of all but a handful of Inaugural ceremonies. Jefferson showed his taste for simplicity by going on foot to the Capitol for the oath taking and returning to his boardinghouse afterwards for dinner. After his second Inauguration, however, Jefferson rode on horseback from the Capitol to the President’s House (the name then used for the White House) amid music and a spontaneous gathering of mechanics from the nearby Navy Yard – a procession that grew into today’s Inaugural Parade. The 2009 parade is scheduled to air on January 20th, 2009. For the past 20 years Werner Wagon Works has been building and restoring wagons and is one of only a handful in the United States that builds from the ground up. Don is a self-taught wainwright (builder of wagons) and wheelwright, learning mostly from hard knocks and listening to those with knowledge of wagon building. The Werners build anything from buckboards to stagecoaches and custom builds what the customers orders.
~Click below to see stages of completion~