By Emery Styron
River Hills Traveler
Don Collop of the Flying T—E Ranch, Rutledge, Mo., added historic flavor to the Outdoor Expo at Busch Shooting Range on Saturday, July 28.
Collop is a “cousie,” that is a chuckwagon cook, and brought along his 1910 wagon and cooking acoutrements, for the education of the many hunters, anglers, campers and others who attended the event and might want to compare notes on outdoor cooking.
Lonehand.com’s website credits Texas rancher Charlie Goodnight with creation of the prototype chuckwagon in 1866, during the era of the great cattle drives from Western lands to railheads in Kansas. Goodnight rebuilt a Studebaker wagon to carry water, firewood and provisions and cowboys bedrolls. Key features were the hinged lid of the chuck box, that dropped down to provide a work surface, and a canvas hammock suspended beneath the wagon to carry any scarce fuel collected along the way.
Collop’s wagon was manufactured by Peter Shetler in Chicago and first retailed by Roberts Bros. & Green Mercantile in Centralia, Mo. He has it outfitted with typical cowboy cooking gear. He and his wife, Evelyn, enjoy taking the wagon to schools and various events to make presentations on the cowboy way of life. Rounding out the chuckwagon gang are “hoodlums” (that’s what the cousie’s assistants were called) Hershel Linnenbringer and Gary Gooch.