Business

My Workspace: Saddle Up with Rod Retherford

Rod Retherford spends his days crafting custom leather saddles

written by Michelle DeVona | photography by Talia Jean Galvin

Rod Retherford is no dilettante when it comes to leatherwork. He’s been building saddles for more than twenty years. His shop, Rod Retherford Saddlery and Cowboy Art, is in Pendleton, the Eastern Oregon city famous for its annual Round-Up.

Before his saddlery career, Retherford took up rodeo riding and then football, the latter earning him a full scholarship to Washington State University. During his high school and college years, Retherford persevered through several hardships, including the loss of his brother in a rodeo accident. His story inspired author John A. Kuri to write a novel simply titled Rod.

In 1995, Retherford asked Hermiston saddlemaker Richard Boyer to teach him the craft. “He’s retired now, but he was probably the best saddlemaker in the Northwest, ” Retherford said. At his Pendleton shop, Retherford makes and designs custom saddles and Western riding gear. Retherford has also made a name for himself in the cowboy art world, where he covers animal skulls with intricate leather designs. His first two pieces were purchased by Phil and Penny Knight. “The art is my idea, and I’m currently the only artist doing what I do,” he said.

Rod Retherford Saddlery & Cowboy Art

 

Share
Published by
1859 Magazine

Recent Posts

The Thresher in the Rye

Once derided as worthless, rye is making a comeback in bread, bourbon and beer written…

3 weeks ago

7 Ways to Play on the Water

Fishing, swimming, houseboating & kayaking are in the summer mix written by Jean Chen Smith…

1 month ago

The Seven Seas of Rye

written by Thor Ericksonphotography by Tambi Lane “I found a field of rye growing next…

2 months ago

Cold War Refuge

Kelly Butte’s hidden nuclear hideout written by Sig Unander It was a lazy late summer…

2 months ago

DIY: Cornhole Board

illustrations by Jenna Lechner The origins of the modern lawn game known as cornhole are…

2 months ago