The Blaine County Journal News-Opinion - We've Got The County Covered

4-H Chuckwagon Will See Improvements


September 2, 2020

The chuck wagon may have been the first food truck. Texas rancher Charles Goodnight is given credit for the invention of the chuck wagon in 1866 after he converted an old army-surplus Studebaker wagon into a mobile kitchen to feed cowboys driving cattle from Texas to New Mexico. Etymologically, the term “chuck” derives from old English, referring to food, grub, or a piece of meat—hence a food wagon or food truck.

However, cowboys understood that the chuck wagon meant more than just food. In addition to food and water for the trail, it carried an array of tools, personal gear—such as tents, bedrolls, extra saddles, and farrier equipment—and medical and dental supplies.

Just as the chuck wagon was essential for taking care of nearly every detail of a cattle drive business, the 4-H Chuckwagon has been a staple of the Blaine County Fair for as far back as the fair and 4-H can trace their histories. Over those years, the six 4-H clubs in Blaine County have depended on the income generated from food sales to fund various projects just as fairgoers have depended on the Chuckwagon for a burger with fried onions or a slice of homemade pie—served with a smile by 4-H members and their families.

During this time, several additions, updates, and remodels have also occurred to the Chuckwagon, and now it’s time for another. According to Blaine County MSU-Extension Agent Juli Snedigar, in order to continue to serve the public and be back better than ever for the fair in 2021, several updates will be completed on the 4-H Chuckwagon this fall and next spring.

Among the many projects being considered, the immediate needs are for adding new electrical outlets to serve different areas in the kitchen, removal of the wood cupboards and shelving and replacing them with stainless steel, purchasing a refrigerated pie case, updating refrigerators and freezers, resurfacing the floor, replacing the wooden and screen doors, and exploring different options for cooling the building.

To finance these improvements, the Blaine County 4-H Council and 4-H Foundation will contribute funds. Furthermore, a grant from the Blaine County Community Foundation will provide the funds necessary to purchase a refrigerated pie case.

Individual clubs are also getting involved in the fundraising efforts. For example, at the Blaine County Fair Youth Livestock Sale on August 15, members of the White Pine 4-H Club donated two lots of home-raised chickens to the cause. These eight birds were auctioned off, raising $800 to aid in the Chuckwagon improvements.

“It was amazing to see the support from the community for this project,” Snedigar exclaimed. “We look forward to seeing everyone at the 4-H Chuckwagon in 2021! We will have a homemade piece of pie, cold drink and locally raised burger waiting for you all!”

Anyone wishing to make a donation to the 4-H Chuckwagon renovations project can do so by visiting the MSU-Extension Office in the Blaine County Courthouse Annex at 400 Ohio Street or by calling 357-3200 for additional information. “We have a separate fund within the Blaine County 4-H Council, which is a 501(c)3 non-profit, so we can issue receipts upon request,” Snedigar stated.


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