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Wilson Capron

Wilson’s love for the western way of life began as a young boy working along side his father and cowboy artist, Mike Capron, on ranches in west Texas. He loves to rope and in college Wilson took a job with Greg Darnall cutting out parts for bits and spurs to pay entry fees in ropings. At this point he did not have any desire to make bits and spurs until Greg asked if he’d like to try his hand at engraving. Wilson found that it was a whole lot of fun and began learning the trade.

He returned to west Texas in 1999 with 2 months worth of orders under his belt and from that point on he never caught up. In the beginning, bits and spurs were a way for Wilson to use his engraving. Today, his passion is not singled out to one area, all aspects from the design to the metal work are truly a joy to him.
In the beginning of Wilson’s career, people would call him an “artist”and he responded, “no thats my dad.” Now he welcomes that and considers his work and the work of his peers to be 3 dimensional art. WIlson looks forward to the day that gear maker’s will be known as working artists!
Wilson is passionate about the TCAA and continuing to educate the public on the art of bit and spur making. He is constantly making efforts to expand this knowledge by traveling to various shows and connect with the public through his website and Facebook.

Article by Katy Capron

Mike Beaver

Mike Beaver

The journey began for Mike Beaver in Buffalo Center, Iowa, where his parents farmed. Cattle was a big part of his life. More importantly were the team of draft horses he owned and so began his love for horses.

Mike joined the Army in the 60’s serving a tour in Korea and Viet Nam. After the Army in the 70’s he made it out West, a long time dream. While visiting the Extension Office, in Coeurd’ Alene, Idaho, Mike noticed a piece of braid work done by Claude “Red” Hutchings. It took six long months of trying to persuade him to help Mike out. Working with Red, Mike learned the basics of making rawhide and knots. Mike then met Horace Henderson. Horace’s work was a little finer than Red’s. Mike spent time the next year learning what he could from Horace. It was Horace who showed him a copy of a Persimmon Hill magazine that had a article and photos of Luis Ortega’s work. After seeing Ortega’s work on display at the Cowboy Hall of Fame, Mike started corresponding with him. The only thing he ever would tell Mike was “practice, practice, practice.”

After six years of learning to make rawhide, cutting string and making knots it was time to give the rawhide world a go. After doing shows from Nevada, Arizona, Wyoming and Oklahoma City, Mike was humbled by receiving Braider of the Year in 1997.

Along with his wife Cindy, they have been very generous in passing knowledge on to others, for many years they have offered seminars that have given many braiders an educated start and continuing advise.

Mike quotes” The highlight of the pass 30 years with rawhide has been the people and doing something that one enjoys as well as preserving his part our Western Heritage. What a privilege it has been.”

Article by Teresa Marsh

rcbean_03Our Featured Artist for this month is is Idaho saddle maker Rick Bean. A TCAA member since 2004, Rick has taken the art of Saddle making to new levels of artistic quality. His passion and devotion to his chosen trade are quite evident in his finished work and conversation. As we write these short comments we try to give a more well rounded view of our members, but as we have never heard Rick talk about anything but saddles, we asked Ricks wife Kristie for some input.

This is what she came up with. Back in 1976 when just a budding teenager, Rick Bean chose his own road. He was going to be a saddle maker, and he has never deviated from that path. His favorite topic of discussion is saddles. He draws them, dreams of them and occasionally builds one. The swivel knife is his favorite tool and he has mastered it well. His next best tool is a 00 Pony shovel- not to downplay the swivel knife- but some guys can dig better than others. Everybody has their vices however, and Rick likes tools, trees and rocks. His 15 acre property is crammed with trees, shrubs, plants and lots of cool rocks, none of which are native.

rcbean_02Conveniently located in the middle of his house is his trick saddle shop, filled with cool sewing machines and tools. A silver shop, wood shop, machine shop, art studio and wife are all close by. Occasionally, life interrupts and he leaves his paradise to visit his parents. Other than food and the company of his lovely wife, Rick has a one-track mind: SADDLES!

Article by Teresa Marsh