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Your carriage awaits, led by Bogie and Bacall

Not everyone can say they’ve ridden in a wagon pulled by Bogie and Bacall. But if you live in or visit Southern Oregon, you may have the opportunity. Just don’t expect autographs as part of the deal.

I first met husband and wife team, Ken Moordigian and Patti Knight, about a month ago at the Eagle Point Vintage Fair, when Lynn, Renee and I hopped aboard their wagon for a free ride. Ken introduced me to Bogie and Bacall, their mule team. The sleek black critters hauled us up and down North Royal on a donation basis in an effort to help raise funds to restore the Butte Creek Mill to its former glory.

Ken and Patti own and operate Jackson Livery and Carriage, a rental service for those special events when you need something beyond the ordinary limo. Today, I had the opportunity to meet with them (Bogie and Bacall too) on their turf, pat some of their livestock and find out a little about what makes them tick.

I met their friendly Haflinger horses, a beautiful chestnut breed from the region of Northern Italy and Austria. Elegant yet well-muscled, I imagined this pair pulling their fancier, white vis-à-vis carriage for a wedding, or the surrey, complete with fringe on top for a special birthday or anniversary. They have several options available. You can see some of the rolling stock on their Facebook page at Jackson Livery & Carriage. You may reach Ken at 818-522-4292 or Patti at 541-840-7886 to arrange the perfect ride.

“We rent out wagons, mules, horses, carriages for anything you want to do. We’ll do weddings, funerals, bar mitzvahs, quinceaneras, anything.”

I learned that besides running a livery and carriage service, Ken works with Hayden Rosenaur providing animals for various movie and television productions within a type of animal cooperative. They know who has a rhinoceros for hire, as an example, or seagulls, and can line up the right animal/owner for the job.

“I have been working with Hayden for 10 years training animals for movies and television in Los Angeles. We just did a commercial for MasterCard with our pelican. We did "Zoo" for HBO, several episodes, including tortoises. Hayden’s done several bear commercials in the last couple years. Anybody in the industry who wants an animal comes to us.

“I’ve been involved with animals since I was a kid. I rodeo-ed when I was in my teens, dairy science in school, I worked in the dairies in California for a while, and my brother and I worked in movies since the 70s.”

Ken appears right at home in the oak and scrub surroundings. He admitted this was his top pick among the variety of jobs he’s held — from driving truck to the high-powered world of computers and electronics.

“I was making a lot of money in the computer industry and couldn’t stand the politics. So I got out, and my brother said, ‘Well, why don’t you work in the movies again?’ ”

In the short time I spent there, I sensed the heart of a cowboy, so it’s only fitting he left L.A. four years ago to join his long-time friend, Hayden in the Rogue Valley. He also met his sweetheart (I know because they held hands) and wife, Patti, a 26-year resident and fellow escapee from smoggier climes.

My time spent with Ken, Patti, Hayden, and their well-tended four-footed friends, amounted to a dream interview, though with Ken’s sardonic wit (my favorite brand), I thought sure he was going to wrangle the conversation. They were all extremely hospitable, driving me around to see their equipment and livestock. The next time I want to impress an interviewee with a distinctive conveyance, I’ll give Bogie and Bacall a ring, I mean, Ken and Patti.

— Peggy Dover is a freelance writer living in Eagle Point. Email her at pcdover@hotmail.com.