The manufactured stagecoach, born in the Vo-Ag FFA department at Valley High School, won a prestigious “Best of the Mechanics” award at the Utah State Fair. It is now back home on display at the Valley High School grounds.

Mark Twain described the stagecoach as a cradle on wheels, due to the unique rocking motion, instead of the bouncing of a wagon on steel springs. A passenger usually had a maximum of 15 inches of seating space. The stage may hold intrigue and interest in 2010, however in reality, the stage of 1866 could have a totally different meaning as passengers endured long hardships and discomfort while traveling across the country.

Can you imagine being seated between a large person and a mother with a fussy child as the coach slowly rumbled across rough terrain and uncomfortable weather conditions, as well as sitting knee to knee with a stranger?

English traveler William Talleck told of the hardships in 1860. Passengers helped their stagecoach through a narrow gorge where it had gotten stuck between rocky ledges, “by the dint of pulling and pushing all together.”

Truth be known, stagecoach travel also provided beautiful scenery and adventure for the traveler. Because of the stage routes, towns sprung up across the west as the routes effectively developed the face of the American West.

Perhaps the intrigue of the original stagecoach was part of the reason for the Valley FFA Vo-Ag students to take on the project of building a stagecoach from scratch.

In 2008, brainstorming began in the classroom. Finally in 2010, after a lot of planning, hard work and persistence, Mr. Cox’s class completed the project. Logan Hansen, Chase Spencer, Tyler Reese and Colton Spencer were the most involved students in the completion of the project.

The teamwork efforts in the manufacturing of the coach paid off. Chase Spencer did most of the welding. Tyler Reese and Logan Hansen were responsible for the upholstery (genuine cowhide) covering the seats. Colton Spencer and Tyler Reese completed most of the woodwork.

The entire team of boys worked hard to complete the project, which was transported to the Utah State Fair. Mr. Cox (Sarge) and the boys made the trip where their entry took best overall mechanics entry at the fair in Salt Lake City. Great job boys.

What is next on the docket? What next for the stagecoach? It is currently on display at the Valley High School grounds and could be transported to southern Arizona to a buyer who has shown interest in purchasing the stagecoach. The students all agreed it was so rewarding to take an a project of this magnitude, and realize the reward of recognition from the state fair judges, which proved both exciting and fulfilling for the boys who put the time, energy and effort into a project which proved to be very successful.