Local man utilizes his driving passion

James Beckner (right), of Rockfield, drives Jeremy and Meg Rodgers (left), of Bowling Green, around Fountain Square Park on a downtown carriage ride Friday night. Beckner and his family run Rockin’ B Horse and Carriage and spend their Friday and Saturday nights giving carriage rides around downtown Bowling Green. CHRIS FRYER/HERALD

Jacob Ryan

Rockfield resident Jimmy Beckner drives a semi-truck five days a week for a heavy equipment rental company, but what he really enjoys is driving his horse-drawn carriage downtown on the weekends.

“I drive a truck everyday on the interstate,” he said.”It’s good to get out with the horse and just slow down and take in the scenery and relax.”

Beckner and his wife, Gina, started The Rocking B Horse and Carriage Company last March.

Every weekend, weather permitting, he and his wife wait outside for riders to board at 440 Main Restaurant from about 8 p.m. to midnight with their amish-made bridal carriage and horse, Mama’s Magic.

Gina Beckner said the biggest challenge is preparing for a night, which can take about three to five hours.

Rides are $5 for an adult and $1 for children under 13, he said.

“It may be the best value in town,” said Eric Holycross, an Ohio State student who was visiting Bowling Green with his girlfriend, Christy Straun, for the weekend.

Straun said riding in a carriage on a warm night was romantic.

“It’s an old-time feeling,” she said.  “Almost surreal.”

Jimmy Beckner,48, said rides aren’t restricted to a pre-determined route, making each one worth remembering.

“We can take people pretty much anywhere they want to go,” he said.”I’ve even taken the family through the McDonald’s drive-thru for ice cream.”

It was his family, Jimmy Beckner said, that began his interest in the business.

His family’s fascination with horses began after their daughter, Lyndsey, watched “Black Beauty,” when she was two years-old.

Jimmy Beckner grew up on a farm in Bowling Green where cattle was his main priority, he said.

“Once my daughter got interested I had to learn how to handle a horse, the love for horses I have now just kinda grew from then,” he said.

The carriage company is a family business, Gina Beckner said.

Bowling Green resident Sheila Disman, a family-friend, said the Beckner’s are passionate. 

“They worked really hard to get to where they are and they really enjoy it,” she said.  “It’s Jimmy’s life, he loves horses and is a true people person.”

Jimmy Beckner said he purchased the horse and carriage from an Amish community in Jamesport, Miss.

“The horse is broke so well that she pretty much does everything herself,” he said.

Mama’s Magic is a dirty-white, 10 year-old Percheron that weighs about 1,700 pounds.

The breed originates from France and is popular for pulling carriages, he said.

Mystery, another Percheron, is the other horse the Beckner’s use for the carriages.

Jimmy Beckner said he hopes to own a team of horses one day.

“It takes patience, but we’re doing OK,” he said.  “The city likes us being here and I like being here, so we have a good thing going.”

Jimmy Beckner said the Capitol Arts Alliance has a special role for him to play on Halloween this year.

“You’ve seen the headless-horseman,” he said. “They say they have the perfect costume.”