Categories: 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

Pendleton Round Up: First Color Photos 1948

Pendleton Underground Tunnels

Riding

Share
Published by
1859 Magazine

Recent Posts

Oregon Wasabi?

Oregon-grown wasabi is a versatile and spicy option for your cooking written by Sophia McDonald…

2 weeks ago

Cocktail Card

Rosemary's Bee Bee recipe courtesy of Hannah Loop at The Winchester Inn, Ashland •  2…

2 weeks ago

Rafting the Owyhee River

Travel through time in a land of legends written and photographed by Adam Thorn Smith…

2 weeks ago

All in for Diversity

Partners in Diversity seeks to draw professionals of color to the Portland area—and keep them…

2 weeks ago

The Ultimate Oregon Road Trip

12 days, tons of sights Get ready for the drive of a lifetime written by…

4 weeks ago

Expert Explanation how to play Free GBA Games Emulator for Android (Updated)

You should also double-check the piracy laws for your country before you proceed. This version…

2 months ago