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LIST OF SADDLEMAKERS
Bob Klenda began working with leather in 1959, completing his first saddle in 1961. Kermit Lyons, Duane Soderquist, and Bud Grant, all accomplished saddle makers, commanding only the highest quality of work, tutored Bob. In 1962, after having worked with saddle maker Duane Soderquist of the Newton Brothers saddlery, Bob opened his own shop at Fruita, Colorado, where he was practically a neighbor to Bud Grant, who learned saddle making from C. H. Nelson in Grand Junction, Colorado. Bud was a big influence in Bob’s journey down the saddle making trail. Today, after having made nearly 500 saddles, Bob continues the tradition of making only the highest of quality saddles, chaps, and accessories.
Klenda’s Custom Saddlery is located in Northwest Colorado along Highway 13 between Meeker and Rifle. Just over the ridge is the famed Piance Basin, known for its cattle and deer hunting. It is range country where horseback is still in style, a country that makes good horses and cowboys. It is a country rich in history, from Indian battles to the struggles between the cattlemen and the sheepmen. It has been and still is stock country and is a hunter's paradise. The area around Meeker has been home to the largest mule deer herd in the world. From its beginning, the area has attracted top-notch saddle makers. Saddles from these early makers are now sought by collectors. For many years Bob made saddles just over the mountain to the South at New Castle and Collbran. In 2007, in response to increasing urban pressure Bob relocated to the range country of Meeker. It is oak brush and sage just out from the shop door. It is a setting fitting to Bob, an area that inspires the creative spirit, an area befitting to continue building saddles that match the area. “The finest there is”
Bob began showing his work in 1991, first at the Colorado State fair, then at the “Trapping of the American West art” show in Flagstaff, Arizona. Bob has shown his work consistently at these shows, as well as, the "Dry Creek Art Fellowship" show in Sedona, Arizona, the "Elko Poetry Gathering Saddle Show" in Elko, Nevada,
The Art of The Saddle Maker show at the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame, and at art shows around Colorado and Wyoming. Bob is recognized as a master saddle maker by the Colorado Council on the Arts and works consistently with the Council to foster the Art of Saddle Making. In 2007, Bob made a saddle for the 2006 Denver National Western’s 100th Anniversary, it was auctioned off at a benefit auction to benefit the National Western Scholarship program. It sold for $19,500.00. .
Copyright 2005 American Saddle Makers Association, Inc.