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Working Ranch - November/December 2017

Battle of the Saddles career at the saddle shop in 1970 after returning from college. He has been at the helm for many years. In the last thirty or so years the shop has taught approximately twenty-fi ve different employees the craft of saddle making. “We have some longevity when it comes to being around and standing behind our work,” Richard states. They currently employ six full-time and opened a saddle shop there for a few years before returning back to Vernon in 1955 to help out the shop and his father. In 1960 Bill Oliver and his family, including Richard, made the move to Amarillo, Texas and opened shop. When you have multiple generations of saddles out there you see what lasts and what works or doesn’t work. Over the years there have been some great tools invented to help along the way, but it still starts at the skills learned from years and years of saddle makers. This knowledge wasn’t all just from the Oliver family. According to Richard there was a time when saddle makers traveled around and worked here and there for a while. This diversity provided a great opportunity to observe how others did things. THE TREE IS THE FOUNDATION Like so many other things, the key for success, according to Richard, is the foundation. A good handmade saddle has to start with the tree. A bad tree can ruin a great handmade saddle; same as a great tree is the starting point. Richard started his “full time” 100 I WORKING RANCH I NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2017


Working Ranch - November/December 2017
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