Rodeo bums

Bull riding is a dangerous sport, and also the most exciting, so it always comes last in a rodeo. Boots, jeans and cowboy hats are almost required attire for everyone, not just those helping out. The rider has his helmet, protective vest and fringed chaps. A local cowboy walking down the street of my adopted city of Málaga would be as out of place as a Flamenco dancer at this Pottawotomie County Fair in Northwest Kansas.

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John, saddlemaker – Wamego, Kansas

The windows were grimy and the weathered boards hadn’t seen paint in decades.

I thought the place was deserted. The windows were grimy and the weathered boards hadn’t seen paint in decades. But the sign said it was open. Inside, saddles lined the wall and harnesses and bridles dangled from pegs. John was in the workshop in back. He was friendly enough, but I was from out of town. He had grown up in the trade, learning firsthand from his dad, and knew just about everyone in the area who had ever climbed up onto a saddle.

One of his ancestors had written about the local history in the mid 1800’s and John was hoping to get it in print. His roots ran long and deep in northeast Kansas. I was just passing through. I offered to send him a print, but he didn’t seem too interested.

Check out my gallery of interesting people here.