Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Carriage Rides Continue in Downtown Manhattan to Raise Funds for Local Children's Organization

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Carriage Rides Continue in Downtown Manhattan to Raise Funds for Local Children's Organization

Article excerpt

For many, the opportunity to ride in a horse-drawn carriage is one that only comes around once a year.

In downtown Manhattan, it's become a tradition in town -- and even better yet, it's free.

Gina Scroggs, executive director or Downtown Manhattan Inc., said she can't pinpoint exactly when the carriage rides began, but could say with certainty they're a crowd favorite this time of year.

"The rides start at Blue Earth Plaza and go down on to Poyntz Avenue and loop back around. It's about a 20-minute ride," Scroggs said. "But, depending on when you get there, most people want to do it at night so they can see all the lights, and if the weather is great like it has been, you could be in line over an hour."

Due to the increased popularity, two 10-person carriages are now used to transport guests, driven by Dennis Kuehler and his family, the owners of Broken Spoke Carriage Company. Scroggs explained that Broken Spoke is a new venture for Kuehler, taking on the task after the previous carriage company he drove for retired.

After the former company's retirement, Kuehler took the reins -- pardon the pun -- and invested in his own family farm to keep the tradition alive.

"He had to start a company, he had to have a logo created, he has to carry really significant insurance, and he wanted to do this as something to pass along to his grandchildren," Scroggs said. "So when the opportunity presented itself he and his wife seized it and made a significant financial investment in buying the carriages they needed -- and it's a big effort to have your horses healthy and strong enough and able to pull those people hour after hour -- it's a big effort."

On Friday night, Cindy and Claire, a pair of 13-year-old Percheron horses, were among those brought out to the plaza for rides. Kuehler has been a driver of the draft breed for 15 years. …

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