ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The 38th annual Western Heritage Classic is back in Abilene. From matched horse races to ranch rodeos, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Many brought their chuckwagons to compete in the annual cook-off at the Taylor County Expo Center.
The chuckwagon was first introduced in the late 1880s as a mobile kitchen. Used in wagon trains of settlers to feed workers like cowboys. Johnny Bowen from Roscoe said he has had his 1896 model wagon since 1994 ,first learning about chuckwagons from his grandfather.
“One of my grandads, they traveled around moving in a wagon,” said Bowen.
For decades, he has competed in chuckwagon cook-offs across Texas under the team name ‘Scorpion Cattle Company.’
“It’s a family wagon and the family does the work… One does chicken fried steak, pinto beans, potatoes of your choice,” shared Bowen.
As a grandfather himself, he wants to pass on the history of western heritage to his grandchildren.
“Help preserve the heritage of it teaching these young people. Our grandkids, they like doing it, they like the hard work part,” expressed Bowen.
His 21-year-old grandson Dakota Bowen said competing has become a family tradition.
“We get to spend time with all the cousins’ aunts’ uncles’ grandparents and all of that,” said Dakota.
Dakota added that there’s a lot of hard work that goes into it.
“I just, kind of like, help I guess. I chop up vegetables most of the time. I help make the bread dough. The hardest part, probably getting over here at 4:00 a.m. to start getting everything ready,” added Dakota.
One thing Dakota admires most about his grandfather is his mission to preserve western heritage.
“Just how hard he works for all of this to keep it going and just teaching us everything he knows,” shared Dakota.