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Portable Card Party Spices Up Retirement
If you ever get the chance to travel the backroads of east central Wisconsin during the summer, you may well come across one of the area's best known card games.
What makes it different from most card parties is that this game travels from town to town in a horse-drawn covered wagon built by retired farmer Ralph Mader of Brillion.
"The rolling card party sort of evolved over the past 10 years to the point where we now carry along up to 15 players, mostly retired farmers and factory workers. We hitch up my two Palominos, Hawk and Spirit, up every Thursday and travel about 20 miles round trip to neighboring towns, playing cards all the way and occasionally stopping at a local tavern for refreshments," says Mader.
He built his wagon after he bought his granddaughter a horse that turned out to be too big for her to ride.
The wagon is 6 ft. wide by 12 ft. long and is 6-ft., 4-in. high at the highest point of its arched top. Built mostly out of 2 by 8's, the wagon is equipped with a running gear out of a 1938 Ford car and is fitted with 15 in. wheels.
It has a plastic cover that keeps rain out. It also has plastic curtains on the sides that can be lowered in inclement weather. Cover and curtains attach to 3/4-in. galvanized steel bows that serve as supports.
The wagon is entered and exited via a fold-down ladder on the right side. Softly cushioned benches are arranged around the sides and rear. There are two radios, a 12-volt battery and charger, a stow-away card table, and a big card table for large gatherings.
Of course, there's also safety equipment such as slow moving vehicle emblems on back, a yellow flashing light on the left, and a rear view mirror.
The entourage travels at about 5 mph, playing sheephead, swapping stories, and imbibing sodas or beer from coolers they bring along for the ride. Their longest jaunt to date was a 30 mile round trip to Potter, Wis.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Ralph Mader, 2595 Schmidt Road, Brillion, Wis. 54110 (ph 414 989-1658).

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1997 - Volume #21, Issue #1