Here are a few tooling patterns designed by Master Leatherman Tom Good that reflect some of the styling of those turn of the century 1800s period saddles. Remember we’re a custom shop so feel free to contact us with any of your own ideas.
Spring Creek Tooling
In the 1870s in Wyoming, sheep ranchers began to move onto the open range in large numbers. The cattlemen and their cowboys were immediately rubbed the wrong way by this. The use of the rangeland grass and the money it could generate was at stake. By the turn of the century more and more altercations were ending in gun battles.
Then in 1909 there was a brutal attack on a sheepherders camp at Spring Creek in Tensleep, Wyoming. It became known as ‘The Spring Creek Raid’. News of the raid spread quickly and because of the brutality of the raid marked the beginning of the end of these type conflicts. The cattlemen and the cowboys involved were tried in the local court and basically for the first time, convicted of the crime. Up until then almost all court cases ended in favor of the cattlemen. The Spring Creek Raid proved to be a major turning point between cattlemen and sheepmen.
Bitter Creek is an 80 mile long stream in the south west part of Wyoming. The first transcontinental railroad and the first transcontinental highway, the Lincoln Highway, paralleled Bitter Creek.
The town of Bitter Creek was a small section town founded by the Union Pacific Railroad. It was a water and whistle stop meaning the train only stopped if it needed water or someone signaled the train to stop. The town faded with the end of steam power. Today all that remains is one old building, a crumpled up water tank and a small number of foundations.
The 1960s television show ‘Branded’ staring Chuck Connors as Jason McCord, a United States Army Cavalry captain drummed out of the service following an unjust accusation of cowardice at the site of the Bitter Creek Massacre. He was nicknamed ‘The Coward of Bitter Creek.’
Powder River, Let ’er Buck! The Powder River runs through north central Wyoming. In the fall of 1893, the L outfit, Four Jay, Horse-collar and IX outfits pooled their herds of 1,600 beef steers and dry cows to be driven to the railroad and shipped east to market.
The head ramrod of the drive kept telling his hands that they were going to have to cross the Powder River several times the next day and that they better get there best swimming horses ready. A cowhand named Missouri Bill was extremely concerned and said his horse couldn’t even wade a river let alone swim one. When they finally got to the river it was all dried up, barely a trickle. At the end of the drive when the cattle were all bedded down Missouri Bill invited the boys for a drink and proposed a toast, “Well, here’s to the Powder River. Let ‘er buck.”
During World War I, the Wyoming National Guard adopted the phrase and whenever Wyoming soldiers faced overwhelming odds a cry of “Powder River,” answered with “Let ‘er buck,” meant help was on the way. Joe Glenn, a former University of Wyoming Head Football Coach, used the phrase as a rallying cry for the UW Cowboys, often quoting this battle cry when speaking in public and addressing his team.
|Spring Creek Tooling|
|Bitter Creek Tooling|
|Powder River Tooling|