Awarded Best of Show: Bit Category

This traditional silver inlaid Santa Barbara spade bit has a 4-inch tall Spanish spade mouthpiece that has been fully engraved. The headstall, made by Don Butler, is fully floral carved, inside and out, in the Sheridan style. Todd Hansen built the ornately hand-engraved headstall furniture including connectors and buckles carved on both sides. Bill Black braided the kangaroo reins and romal, with silver ferrules and a palm concho made by Todd Hansen. The popper on the end of the romal was carved by Ben Swanke, Billings, Montana.

TODD HANSEN, Bitmaker, Molt, Montana
Todd Hansen was raised in Montana and worked for a couple of horse ranches in the Billings area while he was in high school. He started building bits and spurs as a hobby in 1987 while working full time as a mechanic and welder and raising his family. In 2004 Todd decided to leave his job to pursue making bits and spurs full-time. Todd is a self-taught artist and has received help and advice from trusted friends. “I couldn’t have done it without advice from other makers I admire, too numerous to mention, but I sure tip my hat to them for their advice and patience with a beginner,” he says.

DON BUTLER, Saddlemaker, Sheridan, Wyoming

BILL BLACK, Braider, Plush, Oregon

Photos by Jeremiah Watt