When Bob Hickman of Hickman Saddlery in Post Falls, Idaho, received a call about building a Bohlin San Gabriel Parade Saddle replica he jumped on board, and boy, did he ever outdo himself. The Hickman San Gabriel Parade Saddle was constructed with the finest materials, namely a Bowden tree, ALD leather and well over 20 pounds of sterling silver. This beauty boasts a stunning Sheridan-style tooling pattern by Chad McKarcher and is adorned with 239 sterling silver conchos featuring bison, eagles, bronc riders, steers and horses, all iconic western symbols. The swell cover is .96-ounce solid sterling silver and the cantle back is .999-ounce sterling silver. The tapaderos are a whopping 24 inches in length. There were approximately 500 hours of work on the silver alone. Matt Redd used 12,800 strands of yarn to make the custom Corona pad and also assisted with assembling the saddle. Of course, Bob Hickman contributed to all aspects of the saddle – from start to finish – and ended up with $50,000 in his pocket and one ecstatic client. In fact, the happy recipient received the saddle on a Wednesday and ordered another one the very next day. Nostalgia and impeccable execution make for an exquisite show piece.
Bob Hickman was born and raised in Colfax, Washington, on a cattle ranch. He enjoyed this lifestyle and wanted to be a rancher when he grew up. At the age of 12, his mother purchased him a Tandy Leather kit. He tinkered with leather, building wallets and belts, the usual entry level items. He found he had a knack for it and it seemed that working with leather was his destiny, even though he had dreams of being a rancher. After high school, he was able to work in the leather industry, while getting a degree in agricultural production, a degree that would benefit his family’s ranch. When Bob returned home, he found there wasn’t room for him at the ranch, so he decided to attend a saddle-making school in Spokane, Washington. In 1983, Bob opened his own shop in an old chicken coop. He now has a store in Post Falls, Idaho, and Calgary, Canada. He and his wife, Tara, live south of Calgary and love living their destiny.
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