Tools Cowboys

American Cowboy History 🙌


In a recent post of a Michael Pintar photo…there was lots of talk about a saddle horn. That photo is a perfect example of why bronc saddles dont have a saddle horn.

In our travels filming for the Feek’s Vision documentary, I was lucky enough to get the story of how the first hornless bronc saddle came about.

Feek’s Vision film crew (myself & Ken), met up with Deb Copenhaver and Dan Mortensen in Billings to talk Tooke Bucking Horses. 8 or 9 hours later after the sun had set…lots of stories shared, including how the first saddle bronc saddle came about.


Deb had entered a rodeo; I want to say it was in Great Falls, I would have to go back and check the footage, but the other film crew member has it (I’m looking at you, Ken)…another bronc rider had entered but didn’t have a saddle to use. And if you knew Deb, he was one of the nicest people on the planet; he let this other competitor, we will call him Toby for the sake of the story, use his saddle.

Toby was set to ride before Deb, the saddle was formed, and they needed to roll the horse to the next chute; in the process, the horse jumped a bit, breaking the horn on the saddle…not off. Deb was disgusted….while telling the story, he looked and Mortensen and said, “That’s why you never lone your gear out, correct Dan?’. Well, wondering what to do with this saddle…one of the Linderman came over and sawed off the horn, and that is how the modern-day bronc saddle was born. As Bob Ross would say, a happy little accident.’ This saddle can be seen in Colorado Springs at the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame.

Sitting with Deb that day was one of my favourite interviews for ‘Feek’s Vision’…just for the simple fact of what he had seen and done over the years….battling Casey Tibbs for World Championships….shared a story of Tibbs playing a prank in an airport that almost ended up in a fight….he talked about going to a church in New York, praying before his final out at a Madison Square Garden Rodeo….travelling by plane and a number near-death experiences.

I love history…I live for rodeo history…not only preserving the Tooke legacy, but storys like this from Deb.

Of every rodeo cowboy I have ever met…two quotes stick with me. Larry Mahan stated, ‘I fell off that big lopping SOB (Major Reno) and made the Tooke’s famous!’ and Deb grabbed my earrings and asked, ‘What would Feek think of you wearing these?’….first thing that came to my mind was ‘Well Deb, was out fencing, and ended up with more wire in my ears than on the post.’…he chuckled and said ‘you got ol Feek’s humour kid.’


By Peace Truth

Life is like a bunch of roses. Some sparkle like raindrops. Some fade when there's no sun. Some just fade away in time. Some dance in many colors. Some drop with hanging wings. Some make you fall in love. The beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Life you can be sure of, you will not get out ALIVE.(sorry about that)