HOWELLS, Neb. — How about a trip down memory lane with a horse and buggy?
There they were — a display of 10 horse-drawn black carriages or buggies and a buckboard box just like you’d see in old Western movies, with British royalty or in European history.
The spotless black carriages are the collection of Reynold Vering of Howells, whose interest in carriages evolved from his pride in his team of quarterhorses. The buggies were shown at the recent Howells Q125 celebration.
Each buggy was identified by date, manufacturer and warranty. The 1872 model was listed as a ladies buggy. Another from 1872 was a Canadian buggy. An 1888 and an 1896 were two-seated carriages. Three buggies from the 1890s were designated as doctors carriages as they were built for single riders. The buckboard wagon was from the late 1800s.
Vering said, “I started a driving team in the early 1980s and drove them until 1995 when the horses got too old. ... So we began when the Nebraska State Fair had five-state competition in carriage classes. They used to compete in single driving, team driving and costume driving. With 20 to 30 buggies in a class, we’d fill the State Fair Coliseum with spectators.”
In the costume class, Vering would wear a suit and stovepipe hat. His wife would wear a long dress. “But our son hated wearing knickers,” Vering said with a laugh.
Vering was part of the Nebraska Spinning Spokes, a club of carriage owners.
“We did about 50 weddings where the bride and groom would ride off with a horse and carriage,” Vering said. “Weddings were a lot of work. We started in the morning, loaded the buggy and horse to take to the wedding location. It took all day to get ready for a wedding as the horse had to be washed, and the surrey was given the white-glove touch-up.”
Vering is training another team of horses for use with his carriages.