A group of friends gathered on Monday, Feb. 6 at the farm of Tyrone and Diane Bryant on Bluecreek Road to test drive a rebuilt antique sleigh that has become a sort of cooperative project. The winter day was bright, sunny, and perfect for a sleigh ride.
When Bert and Kris Wasson of Colville decided to put the sleigh’s rail assembly to use, they asked local woodworker Bill Johnson to build the two-seat box atop the rails. Johnson owns and operates the Straw Bale Bread Company on Kramer Road with his wife, Linda. Wasson said the exact origin of the sleigh rails is unknown but has been stored, along with a set of shafts, at his property for years. Wasson also enlisted the services of The Stitch Wizards for the upholstery work on the seat.
Bryant, a commercial pilot for Alaska Airlines, provided a 12-year-old Leopard Appaloosa “Big M” and a harness for the rides along a track that he groomed around his property. “You just don’t find too many sleighs like this anymore,” he said as he drove the sleigh across the field.
Johnson said he spent several months building the box made of Baltic Birch plywood. The Johnson’s were thrilled to finally get a chance to ride in the sleigh that they helped build. The sleigh has already seen plenty of use by the Wasson’s at Christmas parties and for pictures with Santa Claus.
Wasson said he was so impressed by the quality of Johnson’s craftsmanship that he already has another project in the works – a four seat horse-drawn surrey built atop a set of Amish axles and wheels. Johnson says he is ready for the challenge.
By Jared Arnold, The Independent Staff
In the photo: Gathered after taking turns riding the rebuilt sleigh are friends (l-r) Bert Wasson, Kris Wasson, Tyrone Bryant, Linda Johnson, and Bill Johnson. Pulling the sleigh is Big M, a Leopard Appaloosa. Jared Arnold photo