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