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The Chuckwagon was adopted as the Texas State Vehicle in 2005.
Members of the American Chuck Wagon Association in Texas are responsible for the introduction and final approval of Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 8. The chuck wagon became the official vehicle of Texas when Governor Rick Perry signed Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 8 on May 27, 2005.
Trail drives lasted only about 20 years, from the end of the Civil War to the mid -1880's. In that brief period of time around 10 million cows walked
the trails from Texas to the rail heads in Kansas and Missouri. Many of these went as far as Wyoming and even into Canada.
In the early days of the great trail drives the cowhand had to make do with what he could carry with him. This caused some rather hungry, uncomfortable times on the trail. Texas rancher Charles Goodnight saw an opportunity to fill this basic need and in 1866 created the prototype for the chuck wagon.
Goodnight rebuilt an army surplus Studebaker wagon for his creation. The Studebaker was a sturdy wagon with steel axles that could withstand trail drives that could last up to 5 months. Goodnight designed and added a chuck box and boot to the rear of his wagon and this became the prototype for all the chuck wagons that followed. The chuck box was comprised of a number of shelves and drawers to hold what the cook would need over the course of the day. Once the hinged lid was dropped down to serve as a work surface the cook had everything he needed within easy reach. The boot carried the Dutch ovens and other cooking utensils the cook would need to provide hot meals for ten or more cowboys on long trail drives. A water barrel large enough to hold two days' water supply was attached to the side of the wagon along with an assortment of tool and catch-all boxes, hooks, brackets and the vital coffee grinder. Naturally, wood for cook fires is scarce on the prairie. By suspending a canvas beneath the wagon in hammock fashion the cook had a convenient container for any fuel he collected during each day's move. The wagon box was used to carry the cowboys' bedrolls and personal effects as well as bulk food supplies, feed for the horses and what ever else the crew felt was needed. In some cases a second "hoodlum" wagon was used to carry the gear and supplies of large crews. It was not uncommon to hear a cowboy say that he worked for a "wagon" as opposed to a particular ranch.
Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 8, 79th Legislature, Regular Session (2005)
By: Seliger, Duncan S.C.R. No. 8
SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION
WHEREAS, The Legislature of the State of Texas is pleased to
recognize the importance of the chuck wagon to the state's history
and culture and to designate it as the official vehicle of Texas;
WHEREAS, The chuck wagon has been important in Texas since
the great cattle drives that lasted from the end of the Civil War to
the mid-1880s; during that period, approximately 10 million head of
cattle were driven along trails all the way from Texas to railheads
in Kansas, Missouri, Wyoming, and Canada; and
WHEREAS, During the early days of the trail drives, a cowboy
relied for survival strictly on what he could carry with him,
experiencing hunger and discomfort; and
WHEREAS, In 1866, Texas rancher and Civil War veteran Charles
Goodnight first used an army surplus Studebaker wagon on the trail
drive; the Studebaker proved itself sturdy enough to withstand
trail drives that could last up to five months; and
WHEREAS, Goodnight then designed and added a chuck box and a
boot to the rear of his wagon; this innovation became the prototype
for all future chuck wagons; the wagon's box was used to carry the
cowboys' bedrolls, guns, personal effects, bulk food supplies, feed
for the horses, and other supplies; and
WHEREAS, Today The American Chuck Wagon Association has 123
registered chuck wagons and over 200 members; the association's
members are committed to restoring and maintaining chuck wagons
with their own resources, which has ensured that the chuck wagon
will continue to function as a viable tool on many of our Texas
ranches and add to our state's historical and cultural charm; now,
therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the 79th Legislature of the State of Texas
hereby acknowledge the important value of preserving the chuck
wagon and designate the chuck wagon as the official vehicle of
Texas; and, be it further
RESOLVED, That a copy of this resolution be prepared as an
expression of esteem from the Texas Legislature.