Ken has made a Wade saddle with a 16 1/4-inch seat, wood post horn, 4-inch roll cantle and 7/8 flat plate rigging. The saddle has round skirts and is decorated with extra-fine full floral carving with dyed background; there are over 200 flowers carved and engraved in the leather and silver. Ken has also added decorative cut swivel work in the saddle’s seat. All the silver features were made by Ken, including the 3-inch silver horn cap, sterling frog, 6 silver slotted string conchos, silver rivet heads, swell screws and cantle plate.
KEN TIPTON, Saddlemaker, Winnemucca, Nevada
Ken Tipton discovered a love for working leather as a small child. In the early 1970s he worked for the J.M. Capriola Co. in Elko, making saddles. In August of 1973 Ken opened his first shop called Nevada Saddlery in Elko. By April of 1974 he had moved his shop to Golconda, Nevada, and renamed it Tip’s Saddle and Silver, and three years after that he moved his shop to Grass Valley south of Winnemucca. He added silver engraving to his skills by studying books from the library. In 1979 Ken and his wife Kathi moved the shop into Winnemucca and opened Tip’s Western Wear and Custom Saddles, now an institution in town. Ken says, "I enjoy learning new ideas from anyone I can. It seems almost everyone has something to share if we spend the time to watch and listen."
Photos by Adam Jahiel