The History of our 117-Year-Old Show Wagon

In the summer of 2004, Tony took on the duanting task of rebuilding the white wagon we currently use for performances. This involved taking it apart board by board, determining which pieces could be reused and which pieces needed to be replaced, and finally putting it back together. This process took a little over one year to complete.

The wagon was originally built in 1897 for the Buffalo Gilt Edge Brewing Company located in Sacramento, CA. The company used the wagon to transport beer throughout the area. In the early 1930's, a horse and mule dealer by the name of Bill Bowers purchased the wagon from the brewing company. During this time, Bill Bowers and Harry Castagnasso participated in shows as Bowers and Castagnasso. They blended their hitches together when participating in competitions and exhibitions. In 1937 during an exhibition at the California State Fair, Bill Bowers was killed while driving an 8-horse hitch. As he entered the racetrack, the band began to play. This spooked the horses and they tried to exit the racetrack the way they had come in. Bill Bowers was thrown from the wagon and died from his injuries. The tragedy could have taken more lives because the horses were headed directly toward the carnival area. The horses managed to stop themselves when several of them fell down and couldn't get up. All the horses survived.

After Bill Bowers' death, Harry Castagnasso purchased the wagon from Bill's widow. Harry used the wagon until the early 1950's when it was replaced with the big red wagon.

The finished wagon.