Bill Maloy spent more than 50 years making saddles. He grew up on a ranch in Three Rivers, California near Visalia, where he got an early start working on saddles at his parents’ Pack Station in Sequoia National Park. Bill attended College of Sequoias and Fresno State where he majored in art. After college, he went to work in a saddle shop in Visalia as an apprentice under Bill Rogers. It was there that he was influenced by the Visalia style saddles and the stamping of Stanley Dias. From that he has developed his own interpretation of the Visalia style stamping from which he is widely noted.
In 1959 he moved to Reno, Nevada and opened his own saddle shop in downtown Reno. In 2005 he moved into his present home and shop in Washoe Valley with his wife Mary of 53 years.
In the early 70’s he learned to do his own silver work, primarily from his close friend and neighbor, the late Al Pecetti and also Mark Drain. He designs, fabricates and engraves all of his silver and gold.
Bill was always been a cowboy and has owned and ridden horses all of his life and has been a competitive team roper.
Throughout his career, Bill made virtually every type of western saddle, including many trophy saddles. He made the All-Around Cow Horse Saddle for the Cow Palace through the 60’s and also has made the Salinas California Rodeo All-Around Champion Saddle for 22 years.
In 1997 he was awarded first place in a stamping contest at the Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko Nevada. Also that year, he was honored at “Canada’s Cowboy Festival” in Calgary as one of the “Heros of Western Art and Craftsmanship.” In 2002 he received the Will Rogers award as “Saddlemaker of the Year” by the Academy of Western Artists. In 2004 Bill became a member of the TCAA. In 2006 he was the recipient of Nevada’s Governor’s Award for Excellence in Folk Arts. In 2007 he was inducted into the Hall of Fame at the College of Sequoias, Visalia, California.
Bill Maloy of Reno peacefully passed away on Monday, March 28, 2011, in the presence of family and friends. He was born Dec. 12, 1936, to Lee and Blanche Maloy in Visalia, Calif. Bill was raised on the family ranch in nearby Three Rivers, Calif., and worked at the family’s pack station in Sequoia National Park. He attended elementary and high school in Woodlake, Calif. After high school, he played quarterback and studied art at the College of Sequoias in Visalia and Cal State Fresno. On June 17, 1956 ,Bill married his high school sweetheart, Mary Albanese, and moved to Reno in 1959.
Bill was a renowned saddlemaker / silversmith. He opened his first saddle shop at the age of 22 in downtown Reno and continued to build hand-crafted saddles, prized and collected, as well as used by cowboys and celebrities up until a few months before his passing. During his 50-year career, Bill earned a reputation as one of the most acclaimed members of his profession, with a long list of accolades and awards. In 1997, Bill was honored at “Canada’s Cowboy Festival” in Calgary, as a hero of Western Art and Craftsmanship. In 2002, he received the Will Rogers Award as the Academy of Western Artists’ saddle maker of the year. In 2004 he was inducted into the prestigious Traditional Cowboy Arts Association at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. Most recently, Bill was the recipient of the Nevada Governor’s Art Award for Excellence in Folk Arts.
Bill enjoyed entertaining friends, and his shop on South Virginia Street became a popular gathering place for old-time Reno ranchers, business owners and cowboys. His hobbies included team roping, hunting, fishing and watching football. Mostly, he valued time spent with family. Bill was a loving husband, father and friend to many; he will be missed dearly.