Courtesy of Adam Brown
By Nicole Plegge
During the past twenty-eight years, Jerry Brown’s Custom Wagons in Dexter has crafted more than 750 horse-drawn wagons. Some have appeared at draft horse and mule competitions, parades, weddings, funerals, and other events in forty-nine states and other countries. His famous clientele include David Letterman and The Walt Disney Company, among others, and he’s snagged more than two thousand awards along the way.
Brown’s wagons aren't built from plans but rather from his own ingenuity and customers’ specifications.
“We've never made two alike,” he says. “We build them in every size, from wagons for miniature horses to large work teams.”
Each piece of the wagon is built in Brown’s shop, except for the upholstery and chrome plating. He retrofits them with four-wheel hydraulic brakes, which increase safety when loading passengers, among their other advantages.
Wagons were always a part of Brown’s life growing up on the farm. In the 1980s, he took that legacy a step further and designed and constructed his first wagon. Since then, his hobby has blossomed into a successful business.
One of his most beloved wagons was a wooden-wheel chuck wagon that he donated to the Cape County Cowboy Church. It’s still there, more than seven years later.
According to Brown, he always has at least eight wagons
in stock, but he'll craft any show wagon his customers request. Prices typically range from three thousand dollars to ten thousand dollars.