JOIN US AT THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
at the Prairie Village Museum
August 9-10th in Rugby, North Dakota

Plans for the 2014 WCWA Annual General Meeting (AGM) are well underway, thanks to the enthusiastic leadership of North Dakota members and the staff at the Prairie Village Museum in Rugby, North Dakota. The museum staff are promising to do their best to provide an appreciative audience and a memorable experience for members and their families. Check out their website at http://www.prairievillagemuseum.com/

The AGM will coincide with the Museum's 29th annual Village Fair, with live music, pioneer demonstrations, special activities for the kids, and lots of wonderful food. Last year approximately 800 people attended the Fair so there should be large audiences for the WCWA wheelwright demonstrations.

Why would a wheelwright attend an AGM?  To meet other wheelwrights, of course. Also, to tell each other stories, to see the wheelwrighting demonstrations (great learning opportunity) and to just have an excuse to go to Rugby, North Dakota, which is the geographical centre of North America!  Last, but not least, this is an opportunity to have a say in your association - the Wheelwright Association of Western Canada!! 

Registration is $75 for participants and $50 for a spouse (yes, they are very welcome!); children are free.  Click here to get the application form. If you have questions, please contact Terry Bailey by typing in the email address  membership  then follow that immediately with @wcwa.ca

Welcome ....

The Western Canadian Wheelwright's Association (WCWA) is a non-profit society set up to foster the skills associated with the carriage trade. We are not a professional trade organization which licenses or bonds our members. The membership of WCWA includes men and women at all levels of proficiency who are encouraged to share their knowledge with each other. The purpose of the Association is to promote and encourage the craft of wheelwrighting.

THE RETURN OF THE WHEELWRIGHT

When you arrive at this website you may be wondering why anyone would want to start an association related to the topic of building wooden wheels. It is, after all, the beginning of the 21st century. In terms of technology, we are light-years away from the horse and buggy era. But in recent years, more and more people have discovered the joys of driving horse-drawn vehicles. Carriage driving, wagon treks, pleasure driving, competitive driving, and chuck-wagon racing are just a few of the ways people use horse-drawn vehicles. I doubt if anyone could have predicted this turn of events in the early part of the last century, when automobiles inspired the public imagination. As carriage shops gave way to automobile factories, who would have thought wheelwrights would once again be in demand.

Today in North America, and in other areas of the world, the numbers of part- and full-time wheelwrights are growing steadily, accompanied by a growing need for information. Organizations such as the WCWA and their publication, The Traveller disseminate technical information to this growing body of interest. In recent years, new books on carriage building and the technical aspects of wheel building have found a ready market. The need for relevant technical information is particularly acute because many of the tradesmen who would have passed on their knowledge are gone. Gone too are the apprenticeship systems that supported the industry.

HOW THE WCWA GOT STARTED

We have been in existence since 1992, when three founding members got together to talk about networking and possibly doing a newsletter. The concept was that wheelwrights often work in isolation, in their garage or shop and in rural areas, in a barn. They seldom have the opportunity to talk to, and learn from, others of like interests. Several people came forward to establish the Association, a newsletter was started, and as they say, the rest is history. Currently, the Association has about 180 members and while a large number of our members are living in western Canada, we also have many members from the United States, England and Australia.

The Executive of the WCWA would like to extend a warm welcome to anyone who is interested in becoming a member. View the page "Membership" for more information.


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