Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

King of Ropes and Saddles

I have been pretty successful at dragging Betsy to some of the most unusual, obscure, unique attractions and museums and she is a good sport about the adventure.  There was the time we went to the Worlds Smallest Police Station which is actually a phone booth in Carabelle, FL or the time we went to the Mutter Museum of Medical Anomalies in Philly.

In the small frontier town of Sheridan, Wyoming I found a museum that I knew she was really going to like because of her appreciation of all-things-horse.  If you head to historic downtown Sheridan make your way into the unassuming little store front whose sign reads “King Saddlery.”  Note that underneath it says "King Ropes and Museum"

Head though the store past the bits, ropes, bridles, bits, headstalls, reins, halters, hats, saddle bags, saddle blankets and saddles ... just to name a few of the items.

Then cross the narrow ally and open the unmarked metal door in front of you and venture into the one of the largest western rope making businesses in the country. 

If you are actually buying, you may want to stop and throw a rope to see if it suits you.  Don't worry it won't hurt the calf it's used to it.  

Then proceed to the back room which houses a museum where you can view decades of saddles and western memorabilia. preserved wagons, coaches, Indian artifacts, guns, spurs, chaps, western tack and original artwork.

There are over 500 saddles in the collection. The museum shows the evolution of saddles from their country of origin, purpose, and artistic style.  I mean rows and rows and rows of saddles some of which date back to late 1800's. Also included are Don Kings leather working tools.

Don King began his saddle making career in 1946 and shortly thereafter opened King's Saddlery.  King was known for his detailed "tooling" and well made products and his artistic design became known as the "Sheridan Style."    His craftsmanship earned him the Pro Rodeo Cowboy Association (PRCA) World Championship Saddle contract for 6 years and some of his saddles are on display at the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and the PRCA Rodeo Hall of Fame.

This post is a little out of order as far as our travels go but it was really fun to see and we especially wanted to share it with our favorite cowboy, Dr. C. Earle Pope, who is our "all around cowboy"!

All of this horsey'ness and beautiful hills of eastern Wyoming made us just want to buy a ranch and be cowgirls!  Alas, we put our checkbooks away, packed up the motorhome, and headed to Montana.

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