Check out or spe­cial Hus­sar 4-H Show and Sale sec­tion

The Drumheller Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Al­lie Ruck­man

This year’s Hus­sar 4H show is soon ap­proach­ing. The date to buy is Sun­day, May 29.

The show­ing starts off in the morn­ing at 10:00 am. Mem­bers of the Hus­sar 4H club will be dis­play­ing their proud­est work, which in­cludes 37 mar­ket cows, 6 heifers, and 5 cow calf pairs.

Crowds will gather for the sale start­ing at 3:00 pm to get their hands on the best of the best. This is the first time en­ter­ing the show for many young 4H mem­bers. Nine year old Brody Hale, son of Brad and Rox­anne Hale, spoke with

The Mail about his first up­com­ing show. Brody is a lit­tle ner­vous about show­ing his cow for the first time. He has pre­pared for the show by mak­ing sure his groom­ing box is in perfect order.

His cow, Max, has been easy to take care of this year. Luck­ily, Hale has been to a cou­ple shows be­fore this so he knows what to ex­pect.

Last year’s Grand Cham­pion was Kayla San­dum, whose 1,293 pound cow was bought be West­ern Chev.

There is nos­tal­gia wrapped up in the old wag­ons that were the work­horse of the agri­cul­tural in­dus­try for lit­er­ally cen­turies. Farm­yards and fields all over the coun­try­side have traces of the wooden wheeled, steel tired trucks.

Clay­ton Gil­lis is learn­ing the craft of restor­ing these wag­ons, and is see­ing the fruits of his labour. His em­ployer El­son McDougald had an in­ter­est in restor­ing these wag­ons that trav­elled the coun­try­side, and Gil­lis was keen to try. Today they have a ded­i­cated shop, and have be­gun to turn out freshly re­fur­bished wag­ons.

The most re­cent wagon they are build­ing be­longed to Tom Rowe, the great grand­fa­ther of Lyle Rowe.

The wagon it­self was pur­chased right out of an Ea­tons cat­a­logue, and ap­pears to be a 1918-1919 model. The wagon’s list price was a whole $59.50.

“It was a util­ity cart, so you could put any box or sur­face on it to move things around,” ex­plained Rowe.

The Rowe and McDougald fam­i­lies are long time friends. Lyle ex­plains his fa­ther John was in­ter­ested in see­ing the wagon re­stored.

“If my dad hadn’t re­quested this re­build, it would have been a pile of rot­ten wood and iron out in the cara­ganas,” said Lyle. “To see it like it was orig­i­nally, is amaz­ing.”

They took the wagon to Pioneer Acres where an­other man was in­ter­ested in do­ing the restora­tion, but this never came to fruition. They brought it home last Au­gust and Gil­lis be­gan work on the cart. He ex­plains these were mul­ti­pur­pose wag­ons.

“They bought it with some pur­pose in mind, and it prob­a­bly had sev­eral func­tions over the years. He could have put a chuck in it, he could have put a reg­u­lar flat deck or grain bin, or used it for haul­ing logs just the way it was,” he ex­plains.

Restor­ing the wagon takes the skill of a car­pen­ter, tool­maker, black­smith and a wheel­wright.

This restora­tion is ex­ten­sive. Of­ten the only sal­vage­able parts of these kinds of wag­ons is the steel, Gil­lis has fab­ri­cated only a cou­ple of the steel pieces, the rest is orig­i­nal.

“Ev­ery time I make a part, I kind of cringe, I don’t want to make his­tory, you like to try and find the orig­i­nal,” he said, right down to the nuts and bolts.

Of the wood com­po­nents, he was able to sal­vage the maple axles, and is work­ing on the wheels. Some of the spokes have been re­placed. The wagon was orig­i­nally all maple, but they are us­ing red oak as the re­place­ment tim­ber.

To learn the craft, Gil­lis has taken a course and has ex­ten­sive re­sources. One of the most im­por­tant re­sources he has found is the old mail order cat­a­logues. These show him de­signs, ma­te­ri­als, lo­gos and even older paint schemes.

“The best part is find­ing clues to help you iden­tify the wagon. The fact that John (Rowe) knew where it came from was awe­some. Some of the ones in the field we use the marks on them to try and fill in the story be­hind them,” said Gil­lis.

The Rowe wagon is nearly com­plete. They sent out the wheel hubs to be re­fur­bished in Bri­tish Columbia, and right now Gil­lis is re­assem­bling the wheels and tires. The wood­work is com­plete and the next

If my dad hadn’t re­quested this re­build, it would have been a pile of rot­ten wood and iron out in the cara­ganas.”

step is fit­ting the steel rings.

Af­ter that, it is time to paint. There are a few patches hid­den on the old wagon that gave them a clue of the orig­i­nal colour. The Ea­tons wag­ons were red with a black logo.

Plans for the wagon is to have it dis­played at Pioneer Acres near Ir­ri­cana.

As for Gil­lis, there are plenty more wagon com­po­nents in the yard and many projects ahead to perfect his craft.

“I’m still learn­ing, I am not a wheel­wright yet,” said Gil­lis.

file photo

This year’s Hus­sar 4H show is tak­ing place on Sun­day, May 29. The show starts at 10:00 am and sale starts at 3:00 pm. Pic­tured is last year’s Hus­sar 4H Grand Cham­pion, Kayla San­dum, with her 1,293 pound Charo­lais. The cow was bought by Western Chev,...

mailphoto by Pa­trick Ko­lafa

Clay­ton GIl­lis has been hon­ing his skill restor­ing farm wag­ons, and the most re­cent project is a wagon once owned by Tom Rowe at Michichi. All that is left is fin­ish­ing and in­stalling the wheels and a fresh coat of paint.

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