This column by Donnis Hueftle-Bullock was originally published in the Sept. 23, 2021 issue of the Custer County Chief!
I grew up in Dawson County and until I moved here is 2013, I really did not know much about Junk Jaunt! I know, shocking! Since we have been here, I went around to some of the local businesses for a story on Thursday one year, but that is about all of my exposure to Junk Jaunt.
A few of the years that we have lived here, Chip and I would take a vacation this specific weekend. I remember traveling east along Hwy. 2 and the TRAFFIC, the signs, now that was an experience! A few years we traveled west; there were still signs of Junk Jaunt but not the traffic at all!
This coming weekend, we will not be doing Junk Jaunt since there is a “project” we will be doing for my Mom at the farm (funny how that all works out!).
There will be a few family items, however, that will make the scene of Junk Jaunt.
In 1985 my parents purchased a Doctors Buggy that was manufactured in 1886. As a boy, my Dad grew up working with a team, so that was familiar to him. He had always wanted to own a team and enjoy having a buggy or a wagon.
That dream was realized as his saddle horses, Bobbie and Bo (full sisters that he raised), were not only the working saddle horses for him but they also were taught to pull the buggy.
It did not matter, how busy Dad and Mom were on the farm. When they had an opportunity to do something with the buggy, they did.
We rode in parades in Eustis, Gothenburg, and Cozad. We would ride out and welcome the River City Roundup riders in Gothenburg. All that and just family time were the memories made with the buggy.
There were times, for no special reason, we would take the buggy to church, a 10-mile trip to Eustis from the farm. There was just enough room for Dad, Mom and myself to sit in the seat and Chip would ride his saddle horse, Sackett, along side.
The 10 miles went fast, listening to the clip clop of the horse’s hoofs on the pavement, enjoying the reaction of the mares to irrigation wells or the occasional semi that blew past us on the road! I said, enjoy, but it was more like being prepared for what the mares would do at those times! True horsemanship came into play; it might have been a fun hobby but one you had to always pay attention to.
Junk Jaunt this year will be a time to give new life to the buggy that has sat in my parents’ basement for years now. The mares stopped pulling the buggy, and the buggy stopped moving. None of the family members have the dream of getting their horses to pull the buggy. Mike Evans has been gracious enough to allow the family to bring it up and set it outside his business on C Street.
There will be another person who has the dream of owning and taking advantage of the age-old craft of pulling a buggy. There will be another family that will make memories to hold dear in their hearts. Junk Jaunt will give new life to many items that once were old dreams of many people.
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