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Rancher brings back old style sheep wagons
Old-style sheepwagons, which were once a big part of the Old West, make great "recreational vehicles" for modem day campers, says Dwight Lyman, Ten Sleep, Wyo., who builds the old-time wagons on his sheep ranch.
"In the old days, sheep wagons were a common sight in the West. They were the original recreational vehicle," says Lyman. "Ranchers hired five or ten sheepherders at a time, and they often lived in the wagons year around, getting free room and board plus a salary. Some of them came from foreign countries and went home with a lot of money. However, manufacturers quit making sheep wagons about 40 years ago."
The wagons are 8 1/2-ft. high and 6 ft. 2 in. wide, the same height and width as original sheepwagons, but area bit longer at 12 to 16 ft. long. The body is built from oak like the original wagons but instead of canvas, the arched roof is made from light weight aluminum.
Lyman's wagons have all of the amenities of the old wagons, including two "grub boxes" which fit on the outside of the wagon and are accessible from the inside, a wood stove, three-drawer cabinet behind the stove for pots, pans, and dishes, as well as several other storage drawers. The floor is seamless linoleum, which also extends 18 in. up the walls. A solar panel, mounted on the side of the wagon, operates lights and a TV. The wood stove and a two-burner hot plate LP gas stove are standard, while a three-burner stove with oven and an LP gas-powered refrigerator are optional. Lyman began building sheepwagons from scratch after rebuilding several old wagons for area ranchers. "Oak makes the wagons quite expensive. I could build them cheaper by using plywood, but then they wouldn't look authentic. The 75- and 80-year-old ones that I rebuilt still held together because they were built with oak. I want mine to last just as long."
Most of Lyman's wagons see action on working sheep ranches, but one customer uses his wagon as a spare bedroom at his vacation home. Another uses his wagon as a once-a-year mountain hunting camp for elk and deer.
A4 by 8-ft. two-wheel supply wagon that trails behind the sheep wagon is also avail-able for storing saddles, feed, extra firewood, a generator, 50 lb. propane tank or other equipment.
Sheepwagons sell for $6,500 to $8,500 depending on length and number of interior accessories. The supply wagon sells for $1,850.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Dwight Lyman, HC30, Box 1250, Ten Sleep, Wy. 82442 (ph 307 366-2554).


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1989 - Volume #13, Issue #3