INSP 'Legends of the Stagecoach' Program

Published by: David Sneed
Published on:
12/01/23
Imagery Courtesy of INSP
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INSP 'Legends of the Stagecoach' Program

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a new blog. Life sometimes undergoes a shift and, when it does, a new normal takes over for a while. For me, the shift amounted to helping a new company get off the ground. While that was happening, I decided to put the blog in neutral. Nonetheless, the research side of things has held its own and we’ve added an enormous amount of primary source material to our archives. 


Likewise, we’ve continued to seek out the rarest of survivors for our vehicle collection and were fortunate to come across an unrestored, Heavy Overland stage in 2019. I’ve spent the last 4 ½ years tracking down the history of the stage. It’s been a long road but there have been huge rewards. To date, we’ve been able to chronicle close to 90% of its life. We’ve even located photos taken while it was still working in the West. From the early 1860’s through 1915, this western icon ran routes in Utah, Montana, and Idaho. It was made by legendary coach builder, J. Stephens Abbot (Abbot-Downing) in Concord, NH and we’re hoping to share more about it in 2024.


In the midst of the past few years,our research travels have found us in California, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Ohio, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Texas, Washington D.C., Vermont, and more. More recently, I was interviewed for a program that will air on the INSP network this coming January 4th at 8pm ET. The show is called, Legends of the Stagecoach and offers an incredible look into how these vehicles are so tightly woven into the fame and fabric of the American West. While the program focuses on Concord Coaches, many other types of stages traversed the frontier and we’ll be focusing on some of those in the coming months as well. 


With that said, the Concords are amazing symbols and INSP is showcasing the beauty, brawn, and historical significance of these vehicles. Beyond the intriguing stories in the production, I believe the hour-long program helps reinforce the long-overlooked importance of this country’s first transportation industry. In contrast to overland travel by horse or mule, my plane trip to Burbank, California for the INSP interview was relatively quick. Start to finish, it was a great experience with some really good folks... and, after seeing the staging footage they shot in Montana, I wish I could have been there as well! For more details on this upcoming western program from INSP, here's their press release... 


(Indian Land, SC – November 7, 2023) – Top rated Western themed cable network INSP announced today their upcoming special television event, Legends of the Stagecoach will make its exclusive prime time premiere on Thursday, January 4th, 2024, at 8:00pm EST.

 Doug Butts, EVP of Programming for INSP, lauded the special, which highlights the little-known impact of the iconic stagecoach on the Wild West, as having wide appeal to everyone from history buffs to adventure seekers to fans of classic Western dramas.

 “Think stagecoaches were just wooden boxes on wheels? Think again!” said Butts. “These were the engineering marvels of the early 1800s, traversing uncharted territories and connecting the East to the West for the first time. Stagecoaches and their drivers made front-page news, blazing trails as they ferried people, precious cargo, and life-altering communications across the great American landscape.”

Butts continued, “Legends of the Stagecoach is not just a journey back in time. It’s a deep dive into the lives of unsung heroes who sat at the reins. These brave souls were the celebrities of their day, their courage and mettle tested as they navigated treacherous terrains and faced perilous challenges. This special doesn’t just recount history; it brings these vital characters roaring back to life.”

Legends of the Stagecoach stampedes into America’s living rooms on Thursday, January 4th, at 8 PM ET on INSP. 

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We're looking forward to the release of this program as well as the opportunity to grow the audience of early western vehicles. As we jump back into regular postings, what more can you expect from the Wheels That Won The West® blog? You’ll have to be a frequent visitor to know for sure but we’re going to start with monthly stories instead of a weekly schedule (still too many irons in the fire to try the weekly pace). Overall, though, we’ll look at more individual brands, technology, different vehicle types, the collecting process, regional differences, upcoming events, and a lot more. Who knows what will come out of this relaunch of the blog but it will be an interesting ride. Speaking of relaunch, we’ve also just finished the redesign of our website. It was overdue and, hopefully, will continue to help collectors, historians, writers, enthusiasts, and others to better understand how a massive, wood-wheeled industry drove the Old West. Mark your calendars for January 4th and let me know what you think about the INSP stagecoach program. Kuddos to the network for continually investing in programming that promotes the western lifestyle!


All the best,


David

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