Back in the saddle again

Don’t squat with your spurs on by Blaine Nordvold
Blaine Nordvold sits in the infamous fur saddle back in the day. Submitted photo.

Blaine Nordvold sits in the infamous fur saddle back in the day. Submitted photo.

After several months of squatting with my spurs on, and by popular requests, I decided to write a few more old western tales for the local paper.

As one woman stated on Facebook, if you don’t tell the stories, then who will?

Well, I guess I am elected to do so.

Awhile back on Facebook, the subject of bronc saddles came up and a friend of mine mentioned a saddle that had fur around the swells that my brother Jud had given to her to keep for him for awhile. After she mentioned the fur on the swells, it sparked a lot of memories.

The bronc saddle was made by a saddle maker from Ft. Pierre, SD, and was made for an old bronc rider from Timber Lake, SD, by the name of Bob Hagel. He won a lot of rodeos in this saddle. Somewhere along the line, this saddle wound up with Romey Garreau who traded it to my brother Jud.

Jud and I were rodeoing in Arizona in the early 70’s, so we both used this saddle if we could get set up right at a rodeo. We won a lot of first and second places in this saddle. At one point, we won 11 straight rodeos. Some of the competitors used to laugh at the saddle, because of the fur around the swells and also it was heavy. It had a 17” seat, very little under cut on the swells and flat as a pancake. Although they teased us about it, we didn’t mind cause we were sure beating them in the rodeos.

Some thought the fur was a wolf skin, but it was actually rabbit skin put on to ease the scraping of the knuckles.

After a few years the saddle eventually got sold to a guy named Jim Harris from New Mexico. Jim was a Navajo bronc rider and traveled with another Navajo bronc rider named Blocky Joe.

New saddles were eventually acquired and the old one kinda forgotten about until many years later when talking to another Navajo bronc rider by the name of Ramos Benny. I mentioned the old saddle.

Well, lo and behold, Ramos informed me that he had seen that old saddle and that Blocky Joe still had it somewhere in New Mexico.

That old bronc saddle traveled many a mile and if it could tell stories they would be interesting to hear as it had been on countless rank bucking horses over the years, hit with the pawn shop many times and even got left at a rodeo one time, but the stock contractor knew the saddle and brought it the next rodeo.

As far as I know, Blocky Joe still has the saddle and if I am ever so lucky to find it again, I would like to have it back. It should be displayed in the Casey Tibbs Hall of Fame in Ft. Pierre, SD. After all, that saddle carried my brother Jud Nordvold to the All Indian Rodeo Cowboys Association Championship in 1974 in Navajo Land and myself to a PRCA Turquoise Circuit Runner Up Championship in 1975.

Fond memories? Oh, yeah!