Chuckwagons have become quite rare, although they can occasionally be found on large ranches, but most often in a parade or museum, such as the one owned by Vern Krinke of Auburn, Washington. Krinke, a ruggedly handsome man in his 70s, is a chuckwagon cook of extraordinary talent who prepares sumptuous dinners from his 80-130 year old Studebaker chuckwagon that he restored after finding it in a junk pile on a ranch southeast of Saratoga, Wyoming.
When the first cattle drive was organized in the late 1860’s, a common farm wagon was fitted with a large wooden box that was designed to serve as the cook’s mobile kitchen, pantry and storage. The difference between a ‘covered wagon’ and a ‘chuck wagon’ is the chuck box. From the earliest of time, any wagon could have, and usually was, fitted with wooden bows and a canvas cover. As time passed and more cattle were being driven, pushed, poked and otherwise moo-o-o-ved north, the chuck wagon was refined. This is how it became what we think of and see today. Chuck wagons are still in use on ranches and for recreation.