Visitors to the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum® can enjoy a unique exhibit of collector's quality cowboy gear through January 2. The Traditional Cowboy Arts Association (TCAA) 12th Annual Exhibition and Sale offer the finest of Western saddles, bits, spurs, braided rawhide gear and exquisite silver work by talented gear makers from the western United States, Argentina and Canada.
TCAA is dedicated to producing the finest in cowboy craftsmanship and passing on the knowledge to insure the continuation of these arts at the highest level. It is apparent, after only one decade, that the TCAA has elevated the craftsmanship of the Western trades to a distinctive level.
In normal circumstances, a maker of saddles or spurs cannot invest the number of hours in a piece to make it truly extraordinary. To make an adequate return on their time, they would price themselves out of the cowboy market. This exhibition and sale provide a market place for gear makers who desire to stretch their abilities and create functional but exquisite gear that a working hand could only dream of owning. This prestigious event attracts buyers from across the country interested in purchasing authentic objects that range in value from several hundred dollars to $50,000.
During its kick-off on September 25, 66% of 53 pieces sold. Opening night sales totaled more than $365,000. The highest-priced work in the show sold—a $48,000 fully leather-carved and lined coach trunk created by John Willemsma, a saddlemaker from Guthrie, Oklahoma. The mountings of Sterling silver were fabricated, engraved and filigreed by Scott Hardy of Longview, Alberta, Canada.
Don Reeves, the National Cowboy Museum's McCasland Chair of Cowboy Culture, said, “The TCAA Exhibition and Sale truly meet the expectations of a sophisticated Western clientele familiar with good working gear and fine craftsmanship. The public has the opportunity to view an extraordinary exhibition and purchase works by master cowboy gear makers.”
A cowboy’s saddles and spurs, along with his bits and reatas, are among his highly prized possessions. The better the maker, the more valued the cowboy gear. Artisans participating in the 2010 exhibition include: Dave Alderson, silversmith; Rick C. Bean, saddlemaker; Wilson Capron, bit & spur maker; Mark Dahl, bit & spur maker; Greg Darnall, bit & spur maker; Armando Deferrari, rawhide braider; Scott Hardy, silversmith; Leland Hensley, rawhide braider; Mehl Lawson, rawhide braider; Pablo Lozano, rawhide braider; Bill Maloy, saddlemaker; Ernie Marsh, bit & spur maker ; Jean Pierre “Pedro” Pedrini, saddlemaker; Cary Schwarz, saddlemaker; Chuck Stormes, saddlemaker; Nate Wald, rawhide braider; John Willemsma, saddlemaker; and Russell Yates, bit & spur maker.
On online catalog is available to peruse all 53 pieces in the show, and a commemorative catalog is available for purchase through The Museum Store. Works remain available for purchase for the duration of the exhibition through January 2, 2011. For purchasing information contact (405) 478-2250, Ext. 228.
Other examples of authentic cowboy gear from the Museum’s permanent collections are displayed throughout the American Cowboy and American Rodeo Galleries and the Western Performers Gallery.
The National Cowboy Museum is offering a winter workshop, February 15-18, 2011, that will focus on steel engraving for bit and spur makers. TCAA bit and spur makers Wilson Capron and Russell Yates will instruct this workshop designed for all skill levels. Participants must supply their own tools. There is limited enrollment, with advance reservations required. Call (405) 478-2250, Ext. 219 to make reservations.
Nationally accredited, the National Cowboy Museum is located at the junction of I-44 and I-35 in Oklahoma City’s Adventure District. The Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit www.nationalcowboymuseum.org or call (405) 478-2250.