At 98-years-old, Carl Wagner says he’s been a farmer since he can remember. After decades of hard work, he and his wife decided to retire from the farm, and that has given him more time to pursue his other passion.
A couple months ago KX News went out to do a story with Carl and his wife Anita as they were celebrating their 75th anniversary.
Since the 70’s he’s been rebuilding old wagons, buggies, and carriages. If you ever see one of his finished projects it will definitely make you look twice.
Carl Wagner says, “Things have changed a lot and I think it was better back then.”
Born and raised in Tuttle, North Dakota, Carl Wagner has experienced his fair share of life changes especially when it comes to getting around town.
Wagner says, “We went to Bible School about 6 miles southeast of Tuttle and we drove with horse and buggy.”
In fact, most of his childhood transportation was on a horse and buggy, so he grew to love them and says there was never a dull moment.
“Tipped the buggy over so the kids fell out and I guess he let loose of the lines and the horses ran home with the buggy and by the time they got home– they didn’t have much left of the buggy,” says Wagner.
That’s when he started fixing these buggies up, teaching himself how to do it all …. well, mostly.
“Actually I got a book,” says Wagner. “I don’t know where I bought a book but it’s a good book that explains how to build wheels not the rest of it but it explains how to rebuild the wheels.”
He buys all his old buggies from auctions and basically starts from scratch, turning what some might consider worthless, into something that he says becomes priceless.
“It’s a challenge… everyone you do is a little bit different and it is a challenge to do that. Cuz these farmers nowadays– they weren’t brought up in the horse and buggy days so they don’t have that stuff anymore.”
So far he’s rebuilt 10 buggies, giving them all his own unique touch.
Wagner tells KX News he can spend up to two years on just one of them depending on the size or condition.
Wagner, “Sometimes it doesn’t turn out the way I want it to and I have to maybe throw it away and start over.”
He’s been able to show his work in parades and horse races across the state– turning just about every head that passes.
But more importantly to Wagner, his hobby has been a way to bring his family together.
“We had grandchildren and they liked it. They liked it. I used to give them. I used to give them rides with the sleighs and the buggy’s, oh yeah they thought that was fun,” says Wagner.
At 98-years-old, Carl says he has no intention to slow down– showing age is merely just a number — and to always do what you love.
“I’m proud of it… that I could do that. Yeah I’m glad I could do that. I get lots of enjoyment out of it,” says Wagner.
Wagner has only sold one of his buggies, but he says he does plan on having an auction next year for the rest of them.
It is getting harder for Carl to find supplies to make these wagons and he has to get most it shipped from Indiana.
Carl does plan on having an auction next year and KX News wishes him the best of luck.