Billy Cook Saddles, A Tradition of Craftmanship
Billy Cook Saddles have been around since 1953. Saddle making has always been a mystery to me. It’s a craft, a skill. Working leather has so many aspects: tanning, cutting, stamping, sewing. A saddle maker needs to know all of these skills. He needs to know how to choose the leather too.
When Billy Cook passed away in 2019 at the age of 89, it looked like his saddle business might die too. That business included several loyal employees, many who were skilled artisans. Rutilo Orsonio had worked with Billy Cook Saddles for 40 years. Jody Rames had been with Billy for nearly 30 years.
Adam Trenk, a business attorney, got a Billy Cook saddle when he was 12. He had fond memories of the saddle and, when he heard of the death of Billy, asked about the future of the company. The family did not have an interest in continuing the business, and the employees could not afford to purchase it. The Billy Cook line of saddles had a bleak future. Adam, a horseman, thought he could help. After some negotiations, he purchased the company, keeping as many of the employees as possible. Four months later. the COVID-19 pandemic struck, and the business closed for safety reasons.
Today, Billy Cook Saddle Company is back in operation. They manufacture a full line of handmade saddles. You can even have a custom saddle made to your specifications. Of course, there is also a full line of leather tack. New to the business is a line of belts and handbags.
Listen to my interview with proprietor, Adam Trenk, as he tells us about the company.
Links to Billy Cook Saddles
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John & Ranae