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

Take the Oregon Outdoor-100 Challenge

Pro tips for your own challenge to explore 100 scenic state sights Written and photographed…

3 days ago

A Destination AVA—Served on the Rocks

Savor, hike and explore Milton-Freewater’s valleys in wine-tastings Written by Angela Ashberry For most wine…

3 days ago

Deeply Rooted

Left Vessel’s music uses living trees as instruments Written by Ben Salmon Nick Byron Campbell…

4 days ago

Argonaut Cycles—Wheels of Fortune

Argonaut Cycles drives a carbon manufacturing and aesthetic revolution Written by Kevin Max The Argonaut…

5 days ago

DIY: Tips for Installing Wainscot in Your Home

Wainscot, or wood-paneling installed on the lower section of wall in a room, can have…

6 days ago

Hotel Grand Stark

Written by Lauren Sharp At the heart of Portland’s industrial Buckman neighborhood is the Hotel…

1 week ago