Rural Missouri - February 2011 - (Page 32)

N E I G H B O R S messing around with them and I needed a hobby,” says Buddy, a member of Co-Mo Electric Cooperative. “Now, rowing up during whenever we’re out, I’m the Great Depresalways on the lookout.” sion, Howard Buddy’s collection com“Buddy” Wilder prises sleds representing sevdidn’t have much to call his eral decades of production own living in Marshall and during the 20th century. He later on his grandparents’ has sleds designed for one farm in Glasgow. What he rider and sleds designed for did have, he shared with multiple riders. During its his older sister and three heyday, Flexible Flyer proyounger brothers. duced sleds that could carry Every Christmas, though, up to six adults. The largest the children would each tipped the scales at more find a new pair of boots than 40 pounds. under the tree and a toy to In addition to the flagshare. Sometimes, it would ship brand, Flexible Flyer be a new bicycle. Other produced sleds under other years, it would be a brand brand names, and rival comnew Flexible Flyer sled. panies produced their own When the first snowflakes of versions. Not only did sleds winter began to fly, it was a have to be fast on the slopes, race to the sledding hill to but they also had to have be the first to guide the red names that sounded fast. steel runners through the From Rocket Racers, Silver fresh white powder. Streaks and Flying Arrows to “It was always a one-man Western Clippers, Shooting sled, one of the small ones,” Stars and Snow Sport Torrecalls Buddy, who now Since moving to Ivy Bend on the Lake of the Ozarks in 2002, Buddy Wilder has amassed a collection of pedoes, Buddy’s collection lives south of Stover along more than 110 sleds. While none is particularly valuable, the hobby keeps the 79-year-old active. contains most of them. the Lake of the Ozarks’ Ivy While his collection Bend. “We’d fight over who includes a few brand-new was going to ride it first.” sleds that have never Today, the 79-year-old touched snow and a couple retired welder, plumber that are unique — including and all-around handyman an antique German sled that doesn’t have to fight with is kept in the house — most anyone over a sled. In the have experienced the wear past decade, he’s amassed and tear of years on the more than 110 slopes and abuse by careless children. However, of the nostalgic even severely damaged sleds find new life thanks toys. He displays to Buddy’s metal and woodworking skills. most of his treasures “I’ll take them if they’re tore up and fix them,” in the breezeway • Stover he says. “My grandson brought me one that his between his home and father-in-law found. A truck had run over it, bent woodworking shop. it all to heck. But I straightened up the runners They cover not only and put some new boards on it. The next time my the walls — but also grandson was down, he couldn’t believe it was the entire ceiling. the same sled.” “When he was 75 years old, I told him he had Buddy searches for sleds at flea markets and to stop at 75 sleds because he was already at 73 antique shops, and if he sees one hanging on a and was up to the front door with them,” says fence or a barn, he’s been known to stop and ask Buddy’s wife, Judy. “But he didn’t listen to me. if it’s for sale. He says the hobby is supposed to He went out one day and came home with four help spend his time, not necessarily his money. more, and it just hasn’t stopped!” He claims he’s never paid more than $25. The Flexible Flyer sled — with its red steel “He may have only paid $25, but I’ve paid runners, wooden-slat seat and steering bar and quite a bit more than that,” says Judy, who also distinctive flying eagle trademark — was a classic collects miniature decorative sleds. “The going toy loved by generations of American children price these days usually falls somewhere between who could choose to ride down snowy slopes $35 to $45.” feet-first or head-first. Patented in 1889 by SamWithout question, the biggest fans of Buddy’s uel Leeds Allen, it was the world’s first steerable collection are his three grandchildren and seven runner sled with a design that varied little for great grandchildren. Although he’s been diagmore than a century. Though other sleds connosed with congestive heart failure, Buddy shows tinue to emulate the design, production of the no sign of hanging up his hobby. Flexible Flyer ceased in 1999. “I ain’t ready to go yet,” he says with a smile. It was a few years later, in 2002, when Judy “There are still sleds to collect.” and Buddy (both of whom were widowed) married and moved to the Lake of the Ozarks. At the You may contact Buddy by calling 573-372-5979, time, Buddy’s sled collection could be numbered Buddy has covered every square of inch of his breezeway, or send him a letter at 33708 Ivy Bend Road, Stover, on one hand. But that soon changed. MO 65078. “I’m not sure exactly how it started, but I liked both the walls and the ceiling, with his collection of sleds. by Jason Jenkins jjenkins@ruralmissouri.coop G Stover’s Sled Man Howard “Buddy” Wilder collects the sleds of his youth 32 WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP http://WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - February 2011

Rural Missouri - February 2011
Table of Contents
Comments
Columns
Life Behind Bars
A Powerful Idea
Mail Bag
Angels Among Us
Out Of The Way Eats
The Store Time Forgot
Hearth and Home
News Briefs
For the Birds
Out With the Old...
World Wide Wood
Marketplace
Around Missouri
Neighbors
Just 4 Kids

Rural Missouri - February 2011

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