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He Builds Old-Style Sheep Wagons

Old-style sheep wagons make idyllic guest cabins or can give cattle ranchers a place to stay during calving season when predators are a problem.
  Dan Rench specializes in building sheep wagons that look like ones commonly used more than a century ago. Built mostly of oak, they are sturdy and well designed, with enough space to eat, sleep and clean up.
  Rench is very familiar with sheep wagons, because his Riverton, Wyo., ranch family raised sheep and hired Peruvian shepherds to live in wagons and protect the flocks. When his family sold the sheep, Rench, decided to renovate the six wagons owned by his family. He discovered there was a demand for them and started renovating other people’s wagons and building new ones.
  “The average size is 12 ft. long by 74 or 76 in. wide, and they are built on 3 types of frames,” Rench says. “Some people want the old spoke wheel running gear under the wagon. Some want rubber tires where the front wheels turn. The most popular are the ones with an axle and tongue that go down the highway faster.”
  The oak bows in the design give Rench’s wagon the authentic look, he says. About half of his customers want a sheep wagon for sentimental reasons whether it’s one they’ve had in the family that he restores or a new one built like one they had. The rest of his customers use them for practical purposes, such as staying in them when guarding sheep or cattle.
  “Many of these old wagons were built in 1900 and are still in use. They were the old wagons pioneers came west in,” Rench explains.
  While he insulates and customizes them – one was 18 ft. long with a screened porch, for example – Rench avoids making them too “camper-like.”
  The wagons sell for $7,000-$12,000.
  “I can usually make one in 1 1/2 months,” he says. “I just enjoy doing this in my spare time.”
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Dan Rench, 685 Burma Rd., Riverton, Wyo. 82501 (ph 307 856-0312; mjrench@wyoming.com).

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