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

Northwest Destination — Palouse Falls and Pullman

Visiting one of Washington's zen wonders and its collegiate neighbor written by Kevin Max After years of hearing about the…

2 weeks ago

Trip Planner: Union County

Union County is a mix of rugged beauty, farmland hospitality and a few surprises written by Catie Joyce-Bulay OF OREGON'S…

1 month ago

Beerlandia Podcast with Wolves & People Farmhouse Brewery

In this Beerlandia podcast, we find the out-of-the-way Wolves & People Farmhouse Brewery in Newberg and taste the hazelnut and…

2 months ago

A mother-daughter duo writes a YA novel set on the Oregon Coast

interview by Sheila Miller Kim Cooper Findling and her daughter, 14-year-old Libby Findling, seem to have pulled off a near-impossible…

3 months ago