Bob Ray , saddle and saddle TREE maker, is recognized as one of the top artists in the trade. His Saddles are working pieces of art, having built over 500 Saddles in his career. Located in the Parowan Valley of Southwestern Utah, Bob and his wife Carolyn have been producing high quality, traditional horse gear since 1983. Bob and Carolyn are long time friends of Richard and his family. The Vaquero Saddle Series was born in the spring of 2008 as a blending of ideas by 2 accomplished men; a horseman and a master craftsman. As The Vaquero Horseman, Richard Caldwell has implemented his experience and traditional taste in these Vaquero Series Saddles. For more on the Vaquero Series Saddles visit www.parowanleatherworks.com
Todd Hansen was raised in Montana and worked for a couple of horse ranches in the Billings area while he was in high school. He started building bits and spurs as a hobby in 1987 while working full time as a mechanic and welder and raising his family. In 2004, Todd decided to leave his job to pursue making bits and spurs full-time. Todd is a self-taught artist and has received help and advice from trusted friends. “I couldn’t have done it without advice from other makers I admire, too numerous to mention, but I sure tip my hat to them for their advice and patience with a beginner” he says. Richard believes that Todd is one of the most talented makers of silver bits and spurs, as well as other fine western silver. Todd was voted as 2009 Best Bit and Spur Maker at the 14th Annual Will Rogers Awards by the Academy of Western Artists. In that same year he also won the Best In Show for the Bit Category at the 25th annual Elko Poetry Gathering. His handmade jewelry is also in great demand because of the outstanding craftsmanship that goes into every piece.
Doug Krause is another long time friend of Richard's, and Richard feels that Doug's mecates are by far the best that one can own. Doug received the "Best of Show" award in the Western Folk Life Center's Gathering of Gear show in 1998, and was designated the Hitcher and Braider of the Year in 2001 by the Academy of Western Artists. CLICK HERE to watch a video of Doug making a mecate!!
Traditional Vaquero Gear
Steve Harris has been braiding rawhide horse gear since the winter of 1993. He takes great care to build pieces which are functional and artistic. His gear is in the hands of collectors and on the horses of buckaroos. Ranch ropings and traditional Rodeos are an important part of Steve's business. He attends several shows each year where he sells his products, swaps ideas with other braiders and talks with folks about the Hackamore Tradition. Lovely Rebekah, who is also a braider, travels with him. When summer comes, they are often on sabbatical, cowboying here or there in the ION or the Coastal Mountains Steve Harris recognizes the Value of Quality. Good gear is a wise investment in ones life and horsemanship. Each piece, ornate or simple, is made to be used. This is gear worth saving for. He takes his time building Vaquero saddles in his shop, occasionally writing a custom order, but usually building saddles to his own specifications and selling them at shows.
On August 5, 2005, Joelle Smith lost her valiant three year battle with cancer. Though her physical presence here on earth is and will always be greatly missed, her legacy of work will live on. Just days before Joelle lost her long battle with cancer, she received word that she had been invited to participate in the June 2006 Prix de West Invitational Art Show at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. This had been her dream. The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum did not hang her work because of her death. HOWEVER, Joelle's bronze, "Waitin" was sold at the invitational art auction during the awards banquet at Prix de West for an astounding sum. The bronze was then donated to the Museum. A very nice tribute to Joelle was printed in the Prix de West Catalog. Her mother, Sally Smith, continues to represent Joelle's work at different venues throughout the year. "Riata Man" by Joelle Smith Also shown on the cover of the first “Jaquima a Freno” DVD, was one of her pieces of artwork that Richard was proud to be a part of, and it will always hold a special place in his heart.
North Valley Hat Co.
Rodney Allison of North Valley Hat Co. doesn’t believe in mass production and automated equipment to make his high quality custom made felt hats. Matter of fact: he makes one hat at a time and most of his equipment dates back 100 years. “Most innovations over the last century have only been geared towards production and not hands on quality”, Allison Said. So, he sticks with the tried-and-true technology used during the hatters’ 19th century hey-day. Rodney can be seen at various shows throughout the country.
MURDOCH METHOD Wendy Murdoch has ridden since childhood in a variety of disciplines including Hunters, Dressage, Eventing, and Reining. In 1984 while working towards her PhD in Equine Biomechanics, Wendy incurred a severe riding accident. The accident changed the course of her life from theoretical study to applied biomechanics for both horse and rider. As a result Wendy has been teaching internationally for over 18 years. Her goal is to make riding more enjoyable and fundamentally simple by showing her students how to achieve what great riders do naturally.
Cowboys and Indians Magazine has called him “the Charlie Russell of Western Music.” Western Horseman Magazine has declared his “Vaquero Song” to be one of the greatest Western songs of all time. True West Magazine named him Best Living Western Solo Musician four years in a row.
Dave Stamey has been a cowboy, a mule packer, a dude wrangler, and is now one of the most popular Western entertainers working today. He has been voted seven times Entertainer of the Year, seven times Male Performer of the Year and Five times Songwriter of the Year by the Western Music Association, and received the Will Rogers Award from the Academy of Western Artists. He’s delighted audiences in twenty three states, and finds that he prefers this to being stomped by angry horses.
In November of 2016 Dave was inducted into the Western Music Hall of Fame.