There’s the old saying, “one man’s junk, is another man’s treasure,” and then there are bucket lists.
Sometimes the two will meet, and recently both have come into play for Wyatt Bednarz, co-owner of Williams Lake Scrap Metal on Frizzi Road.
On Wednesday evening Wyatt and a 1930 Easy gas-engine-powered washing machine that was dropped off for scrap at his metal shop last October were to be featured on History Channel’s American Restoration (after Tribune deadlines).
“I always wanted to be on the show,” Bednarz told the Tribune Tuesday, moments after he found out the show was going to be aired the next evening.
“We filmed it in May in Las Vegas and finished it off in August,” Wyatt said. “I figured it would be on in a few months but found out it’s going to be on the first show of the season.
“How that works is then it’s usually shown throughout the day the following Sunday.”
The washing machine was first found by his business partner Brett Judd.
It was left in a bin outside the gate where people drop things off after hours.
“The next morning Brett found it and put it off to the side. When I got back from holidays I saw it. One of the guys said someone was coming around to buy it, but I said I was going to keep it. It sat there for six months until we were ready to go away in March for holidays.”
Wyatt and his wife Gail brought the washing machine to Rick’s Restoration in Las Vegas, Nevada, a shop run by Rick Dale, of American Restoration fame.
“We’ve gone to see Rick before and told him we have a scrap metal yard in Williams Lake and that we get things in all the time. He told us to bring some down and so we did,” Wyatt recalled.
At the time, Wyatt told Dale he wanted to appear on his television show but heard those decisions are not up to him.
It all had to go through the History Channel, Gail explained. Once they returned from their holidays, they e-mailed some things to the History Channel, and three days later heard they were interested, so they flew back to Las Vegas and took the washing machine in for the restoration.
The first part filming the television episode was telling the story of acquiring the machine.
“How I was undecided whether I should give it to a museum, or keep it myself, or sell it. Rick said it was the first time he’d ever restored one of those, so he didn’t know if it was unique or antique,” Wyatt said.
By the time they went back down on Aug. 23 to finish up the filming, they learned it was very rare, especially in its condition, which was good.
“I was pretty impressed when they unveiled it for me. They did a really nice job.
“Rick asked if I wanted it fixed up fancy or fixed up the way it was when it was bought in the 30s. I said like it was in the 30s, and that’s exactly what he did.”
It’s a wringer washer, with the wringer on the top. It has a gas motor, a kick starter, and a pull cord.
“He said you would have had to be pretty rich to own one of those at the time,” Gail said. “I almost think that somebody’s parents had it stowed away in a garage or somewhere in a back corner. It’s definitely from Williams Lake. Maybe we’ll find out when the show airs on television.” Wyatt added.
And now that Wyatt’s been on the show, Gail said her husband could cross that off his bucket list.
“Then we’ve got to starting working on mine,” she added.
Wyatt knows what happens in Vegas normally stays in Vegas; however, like the recent press around Prince Harry’s visit to Vegas last month, things can change.
“We were there at the same time as Prince Harry,” Wyatt said. “The photographs of him went all over the world. I’ve got options. We paid for the restoration, so we could keep it, donate it to a museum, or sell it. Rick said he’d like to buy it back — he’s really keen.”
The washing machine is his most treasured find to date, although regularly Wyatt e-mails people photographs of scrap and often they pick out things they want.