There are not many places in Oklahoma City… check that, in America… where you can swing a rope, watch a rodeo star try on chaps, sit on a hand-tooled saddle or a custom leather sofa, all while gazing at an original western oil painting or sculpture. But nestled in the heart of Historic Stockyards City -- at Cross Bar/National Saddlery -- you can do exactly that. Whether you are a fan of rodeo, have a horse, or are just intrigued by our Western heritage, Cross Bar Gallery at National Saddlery Company is a destination not to be missed. With one step inside, you will experience the look, feel and history of the best of Western tradition and lifestyle.
“Cross Bar started off as Artist Bill Jaxon’s home. He lived in back, painted out front, and displayed his work on the walls,” says current owner Jo Wiens of Cross Bar Gallery. Before purchasing the Gallery in 2005, Wiens was among the Gallery’s many loyal customers. “This was my favorite place to shop in Oklahoma City,” she says. So on becoming the owner, she replanted Cross Bar’s roots in the furnishings and fine art of the American West. “My husband and I are farmers, ranchers and horse people, so we built a Gallery filled with the kind of things we would love to have in our home.”
No matter the medium – whether painting, sculpture, pottery, leatherwork, woodwork, or furniture – everything at Cross Bar Gallery is a true work of Western Art. “If it doesn’t look like a piece of art, we don’t sell it, says Wiens.” Each piece of furniture is custom designed with attention to every detail. Cross Bar designs are available as floor models, and design staff work to create the perfect custom designs to satisfy the discerning customer’s needs. “A lot of our customers have very traditional or even contemporary homes or offices, but are looking for that hard-to-find unique style of Made in USA furniture. We actually custom design all types of furniture, from modern to traditional, western, lodge and rustic,” says Wiens, “but our focus always has been, and always will be, on the hand-crafted, high quality, Made in USA product.”
Jaxon’s remarkable paintings are still featured in the Gallery, now alongside works from such notable artists as Kenneth Wyatt, Martin Grelle, G. Harvey, and C.R. Morrison. Even the 9-foot tall fiberglass cowboy boot that stands outside was painted by one of Cross Bar’s artists. The Gallery seeks out and promotes local and regional artists and craftsmen. “It’s a source of pride,” says Wiens. “Our mission is to create an experience for our guests that stirs passion for the cowboy lifestyle, connection with the western community, while preserving the traditions of our western heritage.”
So when long-time saddle maker John David Rule decided to sell National Saddlery, Wiens – who was also one of the saddle shop’s loyal customers – jumped at the opportunity to buy it. “It just made perfect sense,” says Wiens of the partnership between Cross Bar and National Saddlery. “Cross Bar Gallery celebrates our western heritage through art and furnishings. National Saddlery shares the same mission of sustaining and preserving the legacy of our Western heritage. What Cross Bar offers for the Western home and office, National Saddlery provides for the horse and ranch.”
National Saddlery’s beginnings are as storied as those of Cross Bar Gallery. National Saddlery began in 1926 when a family spat at the old Oklahoma Saddlery prompted Earl Denu to open his doors as “National Saddlery” just across the street. Denu’s location right next door to the famed Cattlemen’s Café no doubt contributed to the sustainability of National Saddlery, and the saddle shop has operated continuously in the same location for nearly 90 years. This history is celebrated at National Saddlery, with historic photos of inside and outside the store prominently displayed on the shop’s walls.
Merging Cross Bar Gallery and National Saddlery created the need for additional space, and in 2008, a second location was opened at the corner of 13th & South Agnew just 1/2 block south of the original store location. There, National Saddlery has grown to become a premier retailer of equine and western lifestyle products. With a working leather shop on site, master leather craftsmen still hand-cut and hand-make the National Saddlery line of western tack which is sold on the store’s shelves and online across the United States. The original National Saddlery location features Jewelry, Gifts and Apparel and is Oklahoma’s exclusive retailer of Bob Berg Designs – a line of jewelry created by rodeo athlete turned jewelry maker, Bob Berg. For a taste of our Western heritage, be sure to stop by both these Stockyards City stores and experience the look and feel of the Old West!
Cross Bar Gallery/National Saddlery is located at 1400 South Agnew in Stockyards City,
405-239-2104. National Saddlery Gift is still located next to Cattlemen’s in the Stockyards at 1307 South Agnew, 405-601-4438. Visit both stores at nationalsaddlery.com.