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APHA
Joy Rides

Making Practical Pretty

Transform an old trailer into a purposeful getaway with tips from Megan and Tyler Jones of Saddles & Sapphires.

By Alana Harrison

When Megan and Tyler Jones got engaged, they never anticipated that Margaret Thatcher and Winston Churchill would be the most celebrated guests at their August 2020 wedding in Weatherford, Texas. “Maggie” the mobilebar, a vintage two-horse, straight-load trailer, was the belle of the ball, serving up cocktails at the newlyweds’ rustic-chic reception. While “Winston”the photo booth, a classic two-horse, slant-load trailer, was busy making smiles and memories with his unforgettable party-pic setup.

Delighting guests at events in the greater Dallas/Fort Worth area since 2018, Maggie and Winston comprise the two-trailer fleet of Saddles & Sapphires Trailer Company. The brainchild of husband-and-wife team Mark and Suzanne Brooke of Heath, Texas, Saddles & Sapphires is a unique mobile business specializing in one-of-a-kind event experiences with the equestrian verve of its classic and vintage repurposed horse trailers.

Serving as a backyard bar, burger shack, coffeehouse, lounge area, she-shed or man cave, repurposed trailers add a distinctive quality to your outdoor living spaces and make the perfectparty fixture for small gatherings with friends, family reunions, graduations or holiday and birthday celebrations. For the modern-day nomads, trailers can even be converted into nifty little travel campers. You can carve out a cozy spot on a patio or deck to create your own backyard watering hole or keep your rig travel-ready to surprise friends on a whim or to enjoy it wherever the road takes you.

“There’s really no end to what you can do,” Mark said. “Horse trailers are extremely versatile when it comes to use.”

Relatively easy to customize, maintain and tow, trailers also make ideal vehicles for mobile businesses. In this rapidly growing industry, savvy entrepreneurs are transforming them into everything from traveling hair and nail salons, pop-up retail boutiques and flower or vegetable carts, to wine-and-cheese stations, pizza stands, ice-cream parlors and full-barista bars.

These equally ingenious and adorable pop-ups-on-wheels make ideal additions for weddings, corporate events, city festivals, business grand openings, famers’ markets, food-truck lots, parks, music concerts or any special occasion—large or small.

If you have an old horse trailer taking up space on your property or are retiring your current rig for an upgrade, consider repurposing it into one of many unique, super-fun and utilitarian possibilities that you, family and friends can enjoy at home or on the go.

Rustic Charm

Never without his cowboy hat—whether he’s working a barbecue or black-tie affair—Mark is invariably met with quizzical looks when he reveals his British accent.

“Everyone always asks me what part of Australia I’m from,” he laughed. “I guess because I grew up in Birmingham, England, and I don’t talk like they do on the BBC.”

While taking a break from college in England, Mark planned to travel to the U.S. and South Africa; he touched down in Dallas in 1985, met Suzanne and never left the Lone Star State. For more than two decades, the couple worked as a small, two-person marketing firm specializing in local event planning, where they gained invaluable experience developing creative ideas to entertain guests. When the 2008 food-truck craze that started in Los Angeles began to take hold in the rest of the country, the British ex-pat couldn’t shake the idea of repurposing horse trailers.

“We thought trailers would be ideal for a mobile business in Texas with its iconic cowboy heritage and Western lifestyle,” Mark said. “Our name, Saddles & Sapphires, is meant to reflect our upscale-rustic style—a blend of elegance and Western-chic.”

To bring their vision to reality, the couple did extensive research on the mobile-business market and trailer designs and eventually settled on Maggie and Winston. While Mark designed Winston with specific features in mind necessary for a photo booth, Maggie’s build allows for more versatile use. In addition to offering her high-end bar services, she’s also had successful stints as a popsicle stand, coffee cart, dessert station and root-beer bar, and she’s even dished out homemade buttermilk pies at a local Fourth of July celebration.

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This is an excerpt from the full article—get the whole story in the Fall 2021 Chrome magazine, which is sent to all current APHA members. Not a member? Join or renew at apha.com/join.

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