Teamsters parade antique wagons
In 1895, 2,500 carloads of cattle per month were shipped out of Belle Fourche, South Dakota, in the peak season, making it the world’s largest livestock-shipping point at the time. Horse-drawn wagons on Main Street were a common sight at the time, but are quite a rarity in the year 2019.
So it was a treat for spectators when 14 restored antique wagons joined the historic cattle drive to kick off the Black Hills Roundup 100 year celebration.
Dennis Lindskov owns the wagons used in the wagon train.
He and his family spent about three weeks leading up to the July 2, wagon train, preparing the wagons for their trek through town.
“My wife, son-in-law, daughter, grandsons, all worked on the wagons to get them resealed, and ready for the day,” he said.
Lindskov’s wife Margaret helped him re-do and oil running gear, and much more.
The owner of Butte County Equipment said his wagon collection includes outfits from “40 miles south of Reno, Nevada,” from Arkansas, Washington, Minnesota Iowa, Kansas and more.
“Two or three came out of Nebraska. One was a U.S. army ambulance that was used in the Civil War,” he said. The ambulance was on display at the rodeo grounds throughout the rodeo, and boasts the original stretchers and paint.
“They were all authentic and there weren’t two of them the same. All different makes and models,” he said of the different vehicles.
Hanson Wheel and Wagon of Letcher, South Dakota, has been instrumental in helping Lindskov keep his passion alive. The restoration and construction crew builds wagons – including those for Wells Fargo and conducts much of the maintenance on the Budweiser trucks, said Lindskov.
Lindskov has purchased wagons from the Hansons and he counts on them to keep the wheels from coming off his wagons. Literally.
His son in law hauled about 18 wheels to the Hansons to have the steel re-shrunk to fit the wood. “They’ve got a hydraulic machine that is over 100 years old that presses the wood onto the wheel again so you don’t have to worry about it coming off,” he said.
Eighteen cylinders on the machine work together to press against the rim when you lay it down flat, shrinking it back onto the wood,” he said.
While Lindskovs were busy preparing the wagons for the big day, Scott Porterfield helped find teamsters with teams that would pull the wagons.
He and his wife Sandy enjoy their Belgian/Quarter Horse cross team purchased in Oklahoma several years ago.
Porterfield enjoys driving his team in parades, weddings and more throughout the year, when it works out.
His team responds to the usual “Gee” to turn right, “Haw,” to turn left, and “Get up,” and “Whoa.”
Lindskov said the teams that arrived to pull his wagons were attractive and well-behaved.
“They all seemed to get along well,” he said.
Lindskov said his interest in antique wagons likely came from his dad, who he remembers driving a team.
In addition to his wife, he is thankful for the help from his daughter Kenita and son in law Keith Jenson.