A Ride in a Cat Wagon at Sun City
One practical joke I recall is about a man in Sun City who bought a friend of his a "ride" in a "cat wagon", waited until his friend and the professional were engaged, then he and another man drug the wagon down the main street of Sun City at full speed and unhooked it - some say overturned it - in front of the friend's mother's house. Of course, they were squalling at the top of their lungs to make sure everyone was awake. Honest, Jerry, that practical joker was merciless.
-- E-mail from David Massey to Jerry Ferrin, 2008.
"Cat Wagons" kind of went away at the advent of the automobile, around Sun anyway. The "pros" were there during the rodeo, but the wagons were gone. There was a resident "pro" in Sun and she and her man ran a restaurant/beer-joint as well as sponsored the Saturday night dance. She may have brought in help then too, I don't know about that.
Back to the cat wagons. I don't know if you have ever seen a cook-shack or a sheep-herder's wagon or not, but that was what they used for a cat wagon. They were built on a lumber wagon's running gear, much like an insert camper for a pickup truck. Some had solid siding and some canvas siding as I understand it. They had either one or two girls, depending on the projected need. You get the picture that neither privacy nor a real clinical atmosphere was a great priority.
I don't know if any cat wagons were ever headquartered at Sun or not but there was an old man that lived at Sun when I was a kid who had run one out of Kiowa in the early days. His wife (legally) and another lady was his stable. Their most regular route was payday at the gyp quarry which at one time worked over a hundred men, many of which were single. They, along with the single cow-boys, probably was their regular clientele.
I only talked to one old timer that admitted to having been a patron and his description of business is better left to your imagination. A line of guys, one or two gals and little water, et cetera, etc. Those were rough times for everyone, including the girls practicing the oldest profession.
-- E-mail from David Massey to Jerry Ferrin, 2008, in which he said: "If you publish this story, please delete the person's name who was taking a "ride" in the "cat wagon" as his daughter is still alive and I'm pretty sure her daddy never shared that story with her."
For those who may think the above story about cat wagons in Sun City, Kansas, is a quaint example of "how things used to be", see the following Reuters article published on the internet on 25 June 2008:
"Brothel bus" makes last stop in Miami Beach -- "MIAMI (Reuters) - A "brothel bus" that detectives said cruised Miami Beach offering lap dances and drinks has taken its last ride, police said on Wednesday..."
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Thanks to David Massey for contributing the above recollections to this web site via e-mails in 2008 to Jerry Ferrin!
This RootsWeb website is being created by Jerry Ferrin with the able assistance of many Contributors. Your comments, suggestions and contributions of historical information and photographs to this site are welcome. Please sign the Guest Book. This page was created 31 January 2008 and was last updated 25 June 2008.