The 16th annual Traditional Cowboy Arts Association Exhibition and Sale, held October 11 at Oklahoma City’s National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, featured 48 one-of-a-kind pieces from 14 active and emeritus members of the organization. TCAA artists include some of the world’s most respected saddlemakers, rawhide braiders, bit and spur makers, and western silversmiths.
Ninety-six percent of exhibited pieces sold during the show, or in the days immediately after, generating sales of $440,265. The show ran concurrently with the Cowboy Artists of America’s 49th annual sale; the TCAA and CAA exhibitions comprise the National Cowboy Museum’s annual Cowboy Crossings event.
Following the show, TCAA announced the addition of three new members: Alberta bit and spur maker Richard Brooks; Idaho bit and spur maker Brian Hochstrat; and Texas saddlemaker Troy West. The group also named its 2014-15 fellowship winners; Arizona silversmith Beau Compton and Idaho saddlemaker Conley Walker will each receive $12,000 in educational funding to advance their skills through one-on-one mentoring sessions with TCAA members. Previous fellowship recipients include Texas silversmith Braidie Butters (2012) and Alberta saddlemaker Steve Mason (2013). To date, TCAA has awarded more than $120,000 in fellowships and scholarships for western craftsmen.
In the week preceding the show, Alberta saddlemaker Chuck Stormes, a TCAA founding member, led a saddle construction workshop with assistance from Oklahoma saddlemaker and fellow TCAA member John Willemsma. Students from across North America attended the workshop, held at the museum, with an additional session at Willemsma’s Guthrie shop. Sessions focused on saddle tree design, construction and fit.
Founded in 1998, TCAA is dedicated to preserving and promoting the skills of saddlemaking, bit and spur making, silversmithing and rawhide braiding, and the role of these traditional crafts in the cowboy culture of the North American West. The National Cowboy Museum will host the group’s 17th exhibition, scheduled for October 10, 2015.