Monday, April 9, 2012

Stories from a Cowboy's Tack Room

Stories from a Cowboy's Tack Room ~

Recently, I had the chance to take a tour through a fascinating tack collection. An unexpected chance to visit pieces that I hadn't seen in years. As we sorted through things, Dad shared stories about the pieces. Here are a few pieces and the stories that struck my fancy.

BOLD & BEAUTIFUL BLUE Headstall & Reins~
Wedding Present my parents received in 1980. Handmade by Ray Coddle.
Old bit added later, Dad used to use this bit to drive colts when he was a kid.

I know, I'm a sucker for color. This beautiful piece just stood out and screams, LOOK AT ME!
Brings back childhood memories of it being proudly displayed in our home on the wall of fame.

Joe Marty Rig ~ Headstall & Bit were a gift from Joe Marty, age 96.
Was rode on a horse named Sparky when he came up to Mud Lake from California.
Joe was one of the 1st "Bridle Horse" guys my Dad had seen in this country.
Click here for another Joe Marty Story

Repair & Tightening up was done my silversmith, Lynn Tomlinson.
A beautiful set up that was USED. The bit sides are thin from wear.
FIRST BIT EVER MADE by Silversmith, Lynn Tomlinson.
Lynn attended  Elmer's bit school
 Dad bought his 1st bit for $200 when he finished.

Lynn added, "That's the first silver bit I built! Built a few snaffle bit out of pitch fork tines back in high school! Your old dad even built a few snaffle bits back in the day! We used to think we were pretty handy!!The bit was engraved by Elmer Miller!"

Bunch Patterson Bits ~
Bunch Patterson ~ "A Montana Legend"
Bunch was a renowned horse runner. Dad always speaks very highly of Bunch.
These are two Bunch Bits.
Spanish Ring Bit & a High Ported Bit
Ring Bit was used to ride on Dad's old horse, The Blonde Bomb
He was big beautiful half draft blonde bomb shell who could stop on a dime.
I even reined on him when I was a kid.

R Bit ~ Number B-C Bit that was supposedly made for a Mexican President.
Stamped & Numbered piece. B-C Mex C - 013
My parents purchased 2 numbers bits at that time. Not Shown is numbered 025

Australian made Bull Whip
~ Gift from Robin Wilshire
Maker Stamped ~ Al Tiegan Bit
Johnny Tiegan was a Dad's college roommate. Dad spent a Thanksgiving with their family
and got these bits while he was down there.

Merlin Rupp Mecate ~ One of a kind, handmade by Merlin Rupps
Dad says "Merlin was a LEGEND when I was growing up, Hell of a cowboy."
He had always wanted one of Merlin's mecates.

Dad re-told a story that Merlin had told him. I'm sure it has been paraphrased.
You get the general idea tho :)
Kid showed up at the place for a job. Merlin said to him,
"If you like to ride really cranky horses and roll your bed roll out everyday ....this is the place to be."
The kid turned around, went back to his truck and left.

Jordan Valley Big Loop ~ Photo credit unknown
Dad & Pat McGarry were 3rd place at the Jordan Valley Big Loop and won cinches.
Photo below is Dad horse roping at Jordan Valley. Not the year that they won but a picture from one of the three years they entered.

Teri added in the comments "The cinchas were made by Tex Payne. He and wife Agnes Mayer Payne ranched up on Juniper Mtn. for many years. Their sons still do. Though they have both passed away, I think they are still awarding his cinchas at the Big Loop. "

Drum Roll.................rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr...........

Saving the BEST for LAST ~ beautiful full flower set of taps
Bish Jenkins used to have a horse sale in Idaho Falls, Idaho once a month. They would sell tack at the beginning of the sale. Dad and Grandpa Hoggan had went down to the sale.
Dad started bidding on these taps and Grandpa told him that was enough.
Well, Dad won them and they through them up to him in the stands.
It wasn't until he got them in his hands that he saw the G.S. Garcia Maker Stamp.
He said "I started shaking when I realized what I had"
Thank you so very much for taking time to travel this trail with me today. I had such a great time sharing a glimpse of this tack room and a few stories accumulated and remembered through a life time of Cowboy Gear!
Happy Trails,
Rodeo Tales & Gypsy Trails
is proudly brought to you by
Quality Leather Headstalls
Handmade in the USA by Nancy Martiny
Available Now at Lil' Red Roan

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p.s. Here is a few more of my favorite things


  1. What an awesome collection with stories to go along with each piece. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanks so much for visiting! I stopped by Home on the Range Exchange this morning! What deliciousness you've been cooking up! I tried some Pinterest recipes this weekend. They were a big hit too. Love your blog! ~ Mindy

  3. Really enjoyed looking at all the photos and including all bits of history! What a collection!

  4. Hi Elizabeth,
    THANK You so very much for stopping by. Glad you enjoyed the old tack. It was fun hearing Dad tell the stories behind every piece. Loved sharing this one. Thank you for tasking the time to comment. I really appreciate hearing from you ~ Mindy

  5. Great looking gear.... The cinchas were made by Tex Payne. He and wife Agnes Mayer Payne ranched up on Juniper Mtn. for many years. Their sons still do. Though they have both passed away, I think they are still awarding his cinchas at the Big Loop. Hope to see you there! Teri

  6. That is awesome! Thanks so much for the info Teri! I will add it in. See you in a few weeks! ~ Mindy

  7. That is so awesome... I love little bits of history, it's always so fun to hear the story that goes with everything.... It's so sad that we have very few pieces left from my family, a barn fire took most everything. I think 2 sets of spurs is all that made it, and they've been re-done, makers marks gone forever... Makes me just sick, history and stories that will never be shared. I was lucky enough one summer to spend some time with a silversmith in Mt. Vernon, OR. Lon Davis. What a wonderful old man! He had a bit collection that would make any buckaroo just want to die! A lot of original, old time custom stuff from top makers. And some old bits found here and there with outrageous values.... Last time I visited him, I noticed many were gone... :( times are tough on all of us.

  8. That is so cool Roo! Dad and Mom have a couple of his bits. They are beautiful and well built.