Buckaroo Buys: KAW Rawhide and Steel
- October 28, 2016
- Savanna Simmons
Kevin Willey, of KAW Rawhide and Steel in Sheridan, Wyoming, is a decade-long friend of ours and probably the most talented artist friend of ours. He is a master of rawhide and steel, particularly damascus. He blazes his own trail in regard to how he operates and creates, and while his products are not at the low end of the price range, customers are paying for quality and artistry.
Kevin has cowboyed all over the western United States and has recently set out exclusively creating bits, spurs, knives, and artistry steel pieces, like banisters. His bit mouthpieces and spurs are forged of one piece of steel, not several pieces welded together. His rawhide patterns are unique to him and created of the best rawhide. Kevin’s care of quality is evident in his choice of rawhide: Hereford (breed, not brand) rawhide and not corn-fed animals.
Kevin’s damascus steel bits, spurs, conchos, and knives are a collector’s piece, but have wonderful functionality. When first diving into learning the craft, Kevin filled a South Dakota creek with items he built that fell below his high standards. If they weren’t up to par, they were pitched, no matter how much time Kevin sunk into them. He studies functionality and how the people who buy his products use them in order to allow them to “fit” better, whether horse or human or both. No matter how beautiful Kevin’s products are, you can guarantee they will use, function, and balance just as well.
This is a continuation of Buckaroo Buys, posts that feature my personal favorite makers and artisans. I am not paid or reimbursed to recommend these products and makers.
I am a collector of all things beautiful. I generally don’t care for trade-show bits or manufactured saddles. Ok, ok, I’m a bit of a snob. But we don’t have endless amounts of tack like this, just an occasional larger purchase for anniversaries, birthdays, or Christmas. Or a must-have once in a while when we see something and happen to have the cash handy. Our boys are going to receive some fine tack down the road, and that’s pretty exciting to me.
Christmas is not all that far off, and for many makers, Christmas is crunch-time. The earlier you can get your order in, the more likely you’ll receive it in a timely fashion. It also relieves the schedule for the artists. I also encourage you to support these artists year-round. This is a lifestyle and commitment for these makers and they rely on you. I hope you will check out their gear and maybe send some business their way if you see something you like. Be sure to tell them Savanna and Cavvy Savvy sent ya!
About Savanna Simmons
I'm Savanna Simmons and I live north of Lusk, Wyoming, on the Four Three Ranch with my husband Boe and our sons, Brindle and Roan. I grew up evolving my horsemanship with clinicians like Ray Hunt, Joe Wolter, and Jack Brainard, but not within a...