all around ranch rodeo

Big Loop Ground Seats

Here is a quick run down of what projects are in process within the custom saddle department of our shop (this department consisting of Jim and I, ha ha): we have four customers’ orders from our list, each different and uniquely complex, two ranch saddles for the All Around Performance Horse crew (due in two weeks), and all fourteen of the Big Loop saddles.  This is all happening at the same time that the rest of the shop is busy on multiple belts, wallets, scabbards, holsters, saddle repairs and handling customers on a daily basis.  The oppurtunity for chaos is so great that it makes for an exciting work week this time of year.

My goal this week was to finish all the ground seats for the Big Loop saddles and get horns started.  Some of the saddles

saddle tree and ground seat
Working hard on the Big Loop saddles

had been started already, some ground seats were done and I wanted to get them all done completely so that Jim could focus on getting the All Around saddles to a point where I could get to tooling fronts or swells (my favorite… not).  Starting Monday with that goal in mind, I made progress and got all the ground seats completed by the end of the week.  Since this is usually the part that Jim takes care of, I was sure to check with him off and on to insure that I was putting the ground seats in the way he had been doing them.  It took me a couple times and a bit of Jim giving me hell, but in the end I got them all in.

Even though Jim and I both build saddles, we each do things a little different and consistency is what we want especially with this project.  For the last couple years, our partnership on saddle making has been him building and me tooling/designing all the artwork.  He is much faster than me at building and I am much faster than him at tooling, so this arrangement works well.  Since these are all rough out, and there is fourteen of them, I have custom saddle seatsto help him with a lot of the building and keeping up with changes he has made all year is something I have to be mindful of.  Even though my name is on the sign and stamp, Jim has the lead on this project… And I think he takes a little pleasure in bossing me around.

As the week went along uneventful and productively, it didn’t start off that great.  By Monday afternoon we were met with 85 degree temperatures in the shop.  Our air conditioner was froze up and not cooling at all.  Thinking back on the last few weeks, we realized that the filters hadn’t been changed and they really needed it.  In a shop like ours the dust can get pretty bad due to the sanding from the finisher so we have to change filters every two weeks or so.  It wasn’t till Tuesday afternoon late when our AC repair guys got us back up and running… till then we just tried not to drip sweat on the leather.

As we set now: ground seats are done, all the horns are cut out and skived, no major mistakes as of yet, a few shop pranks (involving an air horn) were conducted and the new guys haven’t quit yet.  It’s still early with lots left to do…


All Around Performance Horse Ranch Rodeo Challenge 2012

It’s here again!  The world’s biggest ranch rodeo featuring some of the countries greatest cowboys and cowgirls competing for $50,000 and prizes from some of the greatest craftsmen and artist our western heritage has to offer.  We are talking about the All Around Performance Horse Ranch Rodeo Challenge!

We have worked with All Around Performance Horse since they started this ranch rodeo and this year is no different.  This year we are adding the Top Hand award to our saddle build sheet as part of our sponsorship.  The Top Horse and Top Hand saddles will be the awards that these athletes will be competing for second only to the cash.

As we begin designing and building these saddles we will update with video and photos so that the competitors and fans of this event can see the great craftsmanship that goes into building a custom Don Gonzales saddle.  If you are looking for more up to date information on this event and the creation of these awards along with other projects DGSaddlery is creating daily, visit our website at where you can stay connected through facebook and twitter.

Also be sure to check out our friends at for event dates, their blog, and other great All Around Performance Horse info.


Loaded and ready!!!

After tons of preparation, stacks of leather, and elbow grease…. We are loaded and leaving for Clovis, NM for the All Around Ranch Rodeo Challenge. Our booth is bigger than ever and packed full of some of the best new and used saddles that we have to offer.

After a ten hour drive and lots of coffee we will rest up and awaken refreshed and ready to begin construction on the DG Saddlery booth. When the double mugging begins Thursday afternoon we will be in the booth and ready to begin a four day trade show with some of the best ranch rodeo cowboys in the world and their family and friends.

Come by the booth and have a seat.