TCAA Craftsmen Build Commemorative Wade Saddle

saddlemakers standing in front of Wade saddle

Five saddlemakers from the Traditional Cowboy Arts Association work together to build a Wade saddle in only three days at the Hamley & Co. saddle shop in Pendleton, Oregon.

It only took three days for five master saddlemakers to create a one-of-a-kind Wade saddle. The craftsman—Pedro Pedrini, Cary Schwarz, Chuck Stormes, Troy West and John Willemsa— gathered to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the first Hamley Wade saddle being built. It was only fitting to build the saddle in Pendleton, Oregon, at the Hamley & Co. saddle shop.

J.J. Hamley opened Hamley & Co. in 1883 in South Dakota as a harness and saddle shop. In 1905 Hamley moved it to Pendleton, in the same store that exists today.

saddlemakers standing in front of Wade saddle
Pedro Pedrini, John Willemsma, Troy West, Cary Schwarz and Chuck Stormes collaborated to build a Wade saddle.

With a combined total of 215 years experience, the men didn’t formally assign roles but instead dove into tasks that they felt best suited their talents. They started with a tree from New Zealander Warren Wright, then added Northwest-style carving into the leather. Simple designs with large flowers gives the saddle a retro look that was popular at the time the original 1937 saddle order was placed.

Wade saddle on stand at Hamley & Co in Pendleton, Oregon
The commemorative saddle sold for $55,000 at Cowboy Crossings.

“We’re brining retro back,” says Scharwz, after receiving favorable feedback on the pattern from Facebook posts.

The makers finished the saddle just before midnight on the third day, and celebrated with a toast. Finishing touches were added later, including an ornate cap horn honoring the 20th anniversary of the TCAA, made by silversmith Scott Hardy; bright-cut conchose by Beau Compton; hardware by Wilson Capron; and buckles by Ernie Marsh. The saddle features rawhide hobbles braided by Pablo Lozano; a reata by Nate Wald; a quirt by Leland Hensley, and a leather popper by Dale Hardwood.

The saddle sold for $55,000 at the Cowboy Crossings show in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to Alan and Nadine Levin. Proceeds from the show go toward the TCAA’s mentoring and fellowship programs.

Find the whole story about the saddle in the December 2018 issue of Western Horseman. Purchase your copy here.

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