JR’s antique carriage collection celebrates 110 years of history. At the age of 14, Joseph R. Burtard purchased a Vilie Surrey that was built in 1903 by the Grandson (Willard Lamb Velie) of John Deere. The surrey tells an interesting story of the John Deere family and the transportation revolution in America.
Willard Lamb Velie was an executive at Deere & Company before starting his own companies, which grew to become Velie Motor Company. He developed advanced engines for automobiles and even airplanes. He was the third of five children born to Stephen H. Velie and Emma Deere, the daughter of John Deere.
In 1902 Velie founded his first company, the Velie Carriage Company of Moline. It manufactured buggies, carriages, surreys, driving wagons, and spring wagons called the “Wrought Iron Line” of vehicles. In 1907 alone the company made 21,000 buggies and surreys. When his cousin William Butterworth became president of Deere & Company in 1908, Velie was elected vice-president. Three years later he became the first chairman of the executive committee when it was formed. At the same time he founded the Velie Engineering Company, which produced gas, steam and electric motors and engines, plus automobile accessories and motor trucks.
In 1916 he merged his two companies and began making tractors. Their first was the Velie Biltwel 12-24, a four-cylinder tractor powered by a Velie-built engine. While this appeared to be a conflict of interest, Velie was a strong supporter of Deere & Company’s acquisition or development of a tractor. For the most part, Velie’s product lines and Deere’s lines remained separate. He and Butterworth were in disagreement, however, about the company’s operation and so Velie resigned his executive committee positions in 1918 and severed all ties with the company in 1921.
While still at Deere & Company, W.L Velie incorporated the Velie Motor Vehicle Company in 1908. While he kept his tractor lines separate from the Deere line, his automobiles were marketed through Deere’s branch houses. When he merged his companies in 1916 he formed the Velie Motor Company. The products produced by the company came to be known for their quality at a reasonable price. By 1912 the company’s stock was valued at $1.5 million and four years later it was worth $2 million. Between 1913 and 1915 the Velie factory was turning out an average of 30 cars a day.
The beginning of the school year seems to be weighing heavy on everyone’s mind. This means summer break is quickly coming to an end. JR’s Carriage Service teamed up with other local businesses to host an annual Family Fun Fair. The objective of the Family Fun Fair is to provide an entertaining environment for families to help them prepare for the upcoming school year. The event offers FREE services and activities for the entire family, including; haircuts, backpacks, school supplies, bump-n-jumps and carriage rides.
We are excited to announce our feature story in the Fence Post! The Fence Post is a nationwide agricultural based newspaper that reaches around 80,000 readers each week. The article on JR’s Carriage Service highlights our educational horse-drawn wine tours in Palisade, Colorado. In addition to learning about wine, our clients have an opportunity to hitch a ride in the drivers seat. Each participant gets to take hold of the reins and experience the art of driving a team. Visit the article and let us know your thoughts!
JR’s Carriage Service is celebrating Independence Day at the Downtown Grand Junction 4th of July Parade. We are excited to announce that our hitch was selected, for the second year in a row, to promote the upcoming Mesa County Fair. Our team of horses will be number 19 in the lineup. The parade starts at 10am. Make sure you show up early so you can get a good view of “the boys” as they make their way down Main Street. We can’t wait to see you and your family out celebrating our independence. We have a busy weekend ahead of us with horse-drawn wine tours, a horse-drawn orchard tour and of course, time with our amazing family.
Did you know? The 56 signers of the Declaration did not sign on July 4, 1776, nor were they in the same room at the same time on the original Independence Day. The official signing event took place on August 2, 1776 when 50 men signed the document. Several months passed before all 56 signatures were in place. The last man to sign, Thomas McKean, did so in January of 1777, seven months after the document was approved by Congress. Robert R. Livingston, one of the five original drafters, never signed it at all since he believed it was too soon to declare independence.
Wishing you and your family a happy and safe Independence Day!
I want you all to meet “Miss. Western Wishes”, Mackenzie Matarozzo. At the age of 3, “Kenzie” was diagnosed with a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy. Her family was informed that she would be restricted to a wheelchair by the age of 6 and would need to have a heart replacement by the age of 10. What the doctors didn’t know about Kenzie is that she is too strong willed to be in a wheelchair and has far too caring of a heart to have it replaced. Kenzie is growing up on a ranch, right here in Western Colorado, with only three passions; God, her family and horses. Kenzie has always wanted to become a rodeo queen. Her dream came true this year when she was crowned “Miss Western Wishes” at the Cheyenne Frontier Days in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Kenzie is everything a rodeo queen should be and she has done an amazing job representing our western heritage, the rodeo sport, the contestants and the pride that this industry was founded on. I had an opportunity to spend three action packed days with her at the Colorado Pro Rodeo Finals this past weekend. It didn’t take me long to get attached to this young lady nor did it take her long to take hold of the reins of 3,660lbs of horse power! JR’s Carriage Service had the honor of taking her through the grand entry each night of the rodeo – where her smile lit up the entire arena. When we weren’t in the arena, she was parading me around introducing me to everyone she knew (I see a future in politics for you Kenzie!). There are times in our lives that we come across certain individuals who inspire us, who touch our hearts and who make us feel emotions we forgot we had. This young lady is one of those individuals.
JR’s Carriage Service is honored to announce that our services have been nominated and selected for “The Wedding Pink”!! The Wedding Pink is an annual, heartfelt wedding giveaway package presented to a couple whose lives have been recently touched by breast cancer. Cheryl Ungar, the founder of The Wedding Pink, is a 21-year breast cancer survivor and a wedding photographer. In addition to Cheryl donating her own wedding photography services, she has put together an extraordinary team of some of Colorado’s top wedding vendors — all of whom have generously agreed to donate their services and products to ensure The Wedding Pink is a spectacular event for one very special couple. For more information on The Wedding Pink, please visit their heart touching website at: http://www.cherylungargives.com/
JR’s has been a sponsor/supporter of MANY local charities. In 2011, JR’s donated over $10,000 in services to foundations, charities, non-profits and other organizations similar to Cheryl Ungar Gives. Joseph R. Burtard, owner of JR’s Carriage Service, had an opportunity to sit down with Cheryl Ungar and, the recently selected couple, Ben and Erin. To read about their story, visit: http://www.cherylungargives.com/meet-erin-ben/
Ben and Joseph already have several activities planned during their visit from Virgina to Western Colorado. Including experiencing several of the local breweries and hiking Mt. Garfield with high hopes of running into the herd of wild horses. Watch for more information on The Wedding Pink as the May 2013 date approaches. JR’s is really looking forward to this opportunity and our new found friendship with Ben and Erin.
After much anticipation, the Hitched in GJ Bridal Experience event has come and gone. JR’s Carriage Service was featured as the “Grand Prize” vendor after offering a prize package, for one lucky bride and groom, valued at $1,000. The wedding expo attracted hundreds of brides-to-be to partake in the various hands-on activities the Western Slope wedding vendors had to offer.
I spent four hours that morning cleaning “Commander n’ Chief” which we had hitched to our black “New Victoria” wedding carriage. The ‘boys’ are starting to get their winter coats which made them look like giant black teddy bears. Located at the entrance, our booth made a great first impression of the experience the brides were going to get at the show. In addition to featuring our wedding carriage, our booth highlighted our horse-drawn pub crawls and wine tours (the perfect bachelor/Bachelorette party idea). I was very proud of the boys for hanging out at the expo all day – on their best behavior. We would take a break from our booth and give a couple rides around the nearby parking lot to some of the younger spectators.
It was really exciting to see and visit with so many eager brides. September of 2013 seems to be a very popular time of the year to take someone’s hand in marriage. We should be finding out very soon who the winner of the grand prize will be! Can’t wait to be a part of their special day! A huge THANK YOU to the staff at Hitched In GJ for putting on this event!