Lost a Schuttler - Gained a Friend

Published by: David Sneed, Wheels That Won The West® Archives, LLC
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Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of getting toknow quite a few folks with similar interests in early western vehicles.  Just as we’re often asked about the Wheels That Won The West® story, many others also have intriguing backgrounds toshare.  In this first of several brief interviews,we thought we’d highlight a few more folks that regularly work to keep thispart of America’s past alive and well.
The first time I met Kathy Christensen of Midwest Buggy (Lockney, Texas), was at an auction in Arkansas.  We were locked in a mini bidding war, vyingfor the privilege of owning an old, dusty, and paint-less Peter Schuttlerwagon.  As the bidding wore on, Iwondered, ‘Who is this lady and why doesn’t she stop bidding?’  Ha! She ended up with the wagon and I’m glad she did.  It gave me a chance to find out just who thatTexan was and what she was up to. 

Kathy and I quickly become friends and I never ceaseto be amazed at the good wagons she finds and brings back to life.  Her commitment to the American Chuck Wagon Association goes far beyond the wagon and cooking competitions as she’s workedtirelessly behind the scenes of the organization for years.  With that as a brief backdrop, we asked Kathya few questions about her business and vehicle interests below. 
Kathy, can you give us a little insightinto the primary focus of your business?

My business is more of a hobby, becauseI love what I do.  I enjoy restoringwagons and making some into chuck wagons. It’s a good feeling to see the finished product.

How did you get started?

I started into the business with myinterest in buggies.  I startedcollecting and working on buggies many years ago.  When I moved to Texas, I was introduced tothe chuck wagon…I was hooked. 

What do you consider your mostsignificant accomplishment with this hobby/business?

If I’ve accomplished anything, it’s beensaving wagons.  I’ve been blessed to havehad the opportunity to introduce youth to wagons and chuck wagon cooking.

What's the most memorable vehicle (orpart) that you've found or worked on?

The most memorable vehicle was a Rhodeswagon.  With the help of David Sneed, heidentified the make and history of this wagon for me. 

What are some of the projects youcurrently have in your shop?

I’m currently making a great Newtonwagon into a chuck wagon.  I’ve cleanedand colored a New Stoughton wagon which will be the next chuck wagon.  Scheduled, is a chuck wagon to color anddetail.  If I get caught up, I hope toreturn to the restoration of an old sheepherder wagon.  (Editor’s Note:  I’ve seen part of her initial work on thissheep camp wagon and can’t wait to see it finished!)

What's your favorite early vehicle brandand why?

My favorite wagon is a Bain, probablybecause it was my first chuck wagon and I still own it.  I haven’t competed in chuck wagon cookingcompetitions for several years with the Bain.  I will be using it in 2014.

What do you enjoy most about the workyou do?

The best part of working on wagons forme has been meeting great people and making wonderful, long lastingfriendships.

I’m thankful to Kathy and the others we’reinterviewing for sharing part of their story. Ultimately, these enthusiasts are among a great group of folkscontinually promoting one of the most historical parts of the American West.  Their commitment to rescuing and sharinghistory will be felt for generations to come.
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