Artisan Feature Saddles/Tack

Buster Welch: The Man and the Saddle

By Nick Pernokas  King Ranch’s Peppy San Badger and Buster Welch cutting on some cattle at Norias Division, King Ranch. Tommy and I had roped the night before in Abilene. Now, over breakfast, Tommy said, “Let’s go see Buster.” That was one of those statements that a horseman can only say yes to and after we paid the tab, we loaded up and headed west towards the tiny town of Merkel, Texas. On a dusty road outside of town, we pulled


Ten leather companies share how the pandemic affected their lives and businesses  By Lynn Ascrizzi  This past fall, we wondered how leather retailers and manufacturers have been weathering the infamous 2020 coronavirus.   To find out, we talked to a diverse sampling of the owners and operators of 10 leather companies, large and small, who in the recent past have kindly shared know-how, family histories, beautiful product shots and glimpses of themselves and their workspaces.    It would have been wonderful to have talked with everyone. But alas, time and space did not allow.   HARRIS LEATHER & SILVERWORKS  “The thing that changed for us, in the spring, was that we were shut down for six weeks

POP! Goes the West

Andy Warhol Went Thataway New Exhibition Spotlights the Artist’s Love of the Cowboy Way Andy Warhol, Cowboys and Indians: John Wayne, 1986 The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Founding Collection, Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.1998.1.2493.1 By Gene Fowler Andy wore cowboy boots. Who knew? Wait—what? Andy who? If you were alive for very long in the last century, you know this particular Andy only needs one

Occidental Leather is Moving Up

Tool bag maker gets big growth spurt with new ownership and new facility in Santa Rosa  By Lynn Ascrizzi  This classic tool belt has been around for 38 years and is the original design of founder Darryl Thurner. Almost 40 years ago, building contractor Darryl Thurner of Occidental, California, got a little tired of dropping tools on the job. The problem? No quality tool bags were available that fit the

Texas Folklife

Texas Folklife staffers, left to right: Charlie Lockwood, Ian Hallagan, Eugenio del Bosque Gomez. The Real Life of Texas Folk By Gene Fowler  “It’s practically died off,” said rawhide braider Travis “Rowdy” Pate, at the Texas Folklife Festival in San Antonio circa 1985, when asked if his art form still flourished in the South Texas brush country around his native Pearsall. “Nobody learned it.”  In the same interview, —practically in the same breath, however—Rowdy allowed, “I guess

Cowboy Boot Bookman & Bon Vivant Buckaroo

The Reinventions of Tyler Beard By Gene Fowler “As a child,” wrote the late Tyler Beard in his 1999 book, Art of the Boot, “I had to be coaxed out of my Roy Rogers boots nightly.” “He loved those little boots, but that may have been one of his whoppers,” chuckles Tyler’s big sister, Debra Conkling, gently relishing her brother’s deployment of a Texan’s birthright to stretch the blanket or

The Light Stuff

A Colorado Legacy Continues By Liisa Andreassen It all started with a sneeze, or maybe a cough. You see, more than 100 years ago, Frank M. Light, an Ohio farmer, learned that he had asthma and had to find another way to support his family. In search of fresh air, he traded in a life of farming to put down roots in the then tiny town of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. He arrived via the Rio Grande

Remington and Russell

The "Titans of Western Art" By Gene Fowler "In the Wake of the Buffalo Runners," 1911, Charles M. Russel, oil on canvas, courtesy private collection Standing in front of Frederic Remington’s 1889 oil painting, A Dash for the Timber, at Fort Worth’s Amon Carter Museum of American Art, I am reminded of the words of a California friend. “You’ve got to see these things in person.” I’d written him about

Rodeo World Champions

The Best Beget the Best By Liisa Andreassen The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) is the largest and oldest rodeo-sanctioning body in the world; “world champion” is the most coveted title in Pro Rodeo. The sport’s world champions are crowned at the conclusion of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) presented by Polaris RANGER, based on total season earnings at PRCA rodeos across the continent, including monies earned at the

Museum of the Cowboy

A California Legacy By Nick Pernokas In the gentle rolling hills on the outskirts of Santa Ynez, California, is one of the best kept secrets of the American West. If you follow a residential street to where the sidewalk ends, you will find that transition point where the West begins. Here, in an otherwise typical, rural California home, resides one of the largest private collections of “cowboy gear” in the