— By BRIAN SMITH
Moe Headrick personifies the term cowboy.
He ‘aw shucks’, friendly demeanor hits you from the moment you meet the man. The Orange, Texas native has been working with horses since he was a child raised on a ranch and has a list of cowboy commandments in his residence. His love of leather and working with it is something that came out of his western heritage.
“I guess I did my first saddle back in 1982, and it’s been love ever since,” Headrick, who owns Old West Saddle Shop, 2608 S. Main St., in Weatherford.
Headrick, 66, has continued working with horses and cattle and their training even after moving into north Texas about 30 years ago. With the horse trade dying out in southeast Texas, he opted to move where the horse trade was here in north Texas.
He had a retail shop but admitted having a traditional brick and mortar storefront wasn’t for him and he decided he wanted something different. Headrick later decided he wanted to be in the movies and became not only an actor back in the 1980s, focusing on Westerns.
He was working as a horse wrangler on one film when he met a stuntman and decided he might like to give it a try. Headrick has worked with a number of well-known actors in among his more than 100 films and TV appearances, including Chuck Norris and James Garner. As he has aged, he has moved out of being a stuntman and gone more behind the camera, writing scripts and directing for his own production company, Comanche Productions and Wild West Entertainment.
Even with all of that, Headrick admits the saddle business is still one of his favorites. He also does custom holsters and gun belts right now, which are very popular.
The saddle itself pretty much stayed the same into the 1940s when the rodeo began its rise in popularity. Different events required different types of saddles.
“Calf roping required a saddle with a lower back saddle to be able to get off the horse easier,” Headrick said. “For ranch work, a higherback saddle is needed. Cutting horse riders need a different saddle as well.”
Headrick says he works on 30 different types of holsters and gun belts as well, all of them hand sewn and hand rubbed to bring out the smoothness and quality of the leather. Headrock does all of his work out of a small two room workshop in the back of the house.
About 20 to 25 hours a week are devoted to the saddle business on average, but he contends it is his first love and will take as much time as necessary. For more information on Old West Saddle Shop or to set up an appointment, call 817-988-5805 or visit www.facebook.com/OldWestSaddleShop