Buggy and carriage collectors from as far south as Louisiana and as far north as Canada have come to Lawrence for a special auction.
Charles and Pat Ezernack go batty over buggies.
The Ezernacks traveled from Keithville, La. to come to the Douglas County Fairgrounds, 2120 Harper, for the Kansas Carriage Co.'s horse-drawn carriage and buggy auction.
The auction -- a first of its kind in Lawrence -- begins at 10 a.m. today and has drawn buyers and sellers from across the nation.
Charles Ezernack -- an aircraft technician for Rockwell International -- said he may find something to buy but he is "just looking".
But "just looking" is how he happened to become a buggy and carriage collector.
"I went to Pennsylvania to visit (Pat's) relatives, and we ended up buying a couple of buggies," Ezernack said. "I sold my airline tickets, and we had to rent a U-Haul to get back home."
Buying two buggies without having the horses to pull them led the Ezernacks to sell their house for a trailer home to purchase two horses.
"I'm back where I was 20 years ago," laughed Ezernack. "I've got all of this furniture in a trailer home and you can hardly move around, but we've got horses."
Rob Phillips and Beverly Ray, owners of the Kansas Carriage Co. Inc., 103 W. Seventh, said today's auction should feature about 100 original and custom-built carriages and buggies.
"We hope this will become an annual event," Phillips said. "We have vehicles coming in from as far away as Montreal, Canada."
Phillips said that carriages are normally sold at draft horse sales and that they are "treated as stepchildren".
"What we're trying to do is to create just a carriage sale," Phillips said. "We've got some carriages coming in from Amish communities in Indiana and Missouri. Some are just old farm wagons that have been around for 75 to 100 years."
While some collectors may come upon a carriage at an auction, Norm Holland of Wellsville said a lot of his collectibles were refurbished from the ground up -- literally.
"I found them out in pastures," Holland said. "You dig up the ironworks and then rebuild it."
Ken Krause of Overbrook said he wants to travel and was selling out his collection, which includes an original 1917 World War I machine-gun cart.
"I'm going to put it (any money from the auction) into a sailboat and go to the Caribbean," Krause said.
Each auction item will be sold on consignment. Any auction items that don't sell are usually subject to a "no-sale fee" that has to be paid by the seller.
But Ray of the Kansas Carriage Co. said there would be no no-sale fee for this year's auction.
"Some auctions require sellers to pay a no sale fee, but since this is our first year doing this, we're not going to do that," Ray said. "We think it's going to be a lot of fun, and we expect a lot more vehicles than we had originally thought."
Phillips said the auction should attract not just buyers and sellers, but anyone interested in seeing horse-drawn vehicles.
"It would be very educational," Phillips said. "A lot of people like to come to look at the carriages. A lot of these vehicles people may have seen on TV or in the movies."