Back in 1981 Jon and Cindy Judd were newly married with not much money and a baby on the way. Cindy didn’t have a saddle of her own, so out of necessity, Jon decided to make her one himself. After all, he had a background in construction and had been making historic reproduction Mountain Man gear for years. He traded his Simco “Roy Cooper Super Looper” roping saddle for a cow and a calf and took the pair to the auction. With that money he bought leather, trees and a book on how to make western saddles. The rest, they say, is history.
Jon’s craftmanship and eye for perfection suited his new undertaking. For a decade Jon cowboyed, worked construction, and built saddles on the side. In 1995, after surviving a serious horse accident, Jon decided life was too short not to do what he truly loved. He quit construction and focused on his talent. Since then, the Judd’s have been making a living with their company San Rafael Works. They believe in using only top quality materials and always giving their customers more than they expect. Jon doesn’t consider himself an artist, but more of a craftsman with an eye for detail. Learning to engrave and making his own sterling silver conchos and trim pieces have taken his work to a new level. He loves building unique one-of-a-kind saddles but says, “58 Wades pay the bills.”
Over the years, Jon has been inspired by many other makers and artists. He knows how fortunate he has been to have met these people and truly appreciates their graciousness in sharing their knowledge.
Jon and Cindy aren’t limited to making saddles; they also create other leather items and stunning sterling silver jewelry. If you have ever met the Judd’s, you know their catering and sour dough rolls are a story for another time.
San Rafael Works
110 W. 100 N.
Castle Dale, UT 84513