California Riding Magazine • April, 2013

Ride In Style
Very special silver parade saddle on auction April 20 for a great cause.

A gorgeous classic silver mounted parade saddle valued at more than $75,000 will be given away in a special drawing scheduled for Saturday night, April 20, at the Friends of Happy Trails Banquet in Victorville. Proceeds from the drawing benefit the abused children served by the Happy Trails Children's Foundation of Apple Valley, the long-time home of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. The foundation is a charitable non-profit organization providing residential care and treatment services to children-at-risk.

This saddle is reminiscent of an earlier period many years ago when Hollywood cowboy heroes such as Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Hopalong Cassidy, Tom Mix, Johnny Mack Brown, The Lone Ranger and many others rode the silver screen range on beautiful horses that had names such as Trigger, Champion, Topper, Tony, Rebel and Silver. The fancy gun rigs and flamboyant saddle outfits were a trademark for these popular heroes of the fictional West. Today, many of those fancy silver saddles and gun rigs from that era are very valuable and reside in museums or private collections throughout the country. A few can still be seen in use in the annual Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year's Day.

There were several makers who provided these wonderful outfits. By far the most prolific and well-known was Edward H. Bohlin of Hollywood. As a young man, Bohlin came to this country from Sweden to be a cowboy. He worked on ranches in Montana and Wyoming, learning to rope and ride. At the same time, he was learning leather crafting and silversmithing. Soon he opened a saddle shop in Cody, WY and later moved to Hollywood at the suggestion of silent movie cowboy star Tom Mix.

The Legendary Classic Silver Saddle is a tribute to the magnificent leather and silver work that came from the Hollywood shop of Edward H. Bohlin. Based on Bohlin's San Gabriel design, the saddle is built on a Modified Association bull-hide covered tree with Quarter Horse bars, three-quarter flat plate rigging, a 16" seat with 5 ½" cantle and 15" swells. The tapaderos are 24" long. The saddle is beautifully hand-carved and finished in a rare and handsome rich brown color by Bob Hickman of Post Falls, ID, one of the finest custom saddle makers in the country today. Master engraver and silversmith Conrad Anderson of Kingston, ID used more than 310 ounces of heavy gauge sheet sterling silver to handcraft more than 500 custom conchas, corner plates, buckle sets and spots for this superb outfit. Anderson spent more than 1,500 hours creating the silver!

"Even if you don't own a horse, this is a saddle that anyone would be proud to own and display in their living room, den, game room, office or business" says Joel Dortch, Executive Director of the Happy Trails Children's Foundation. The outfit includes a matching bridle with a vintage silver bit, reins, breast collar, custom brown and white corona saddle pad and a beautiful and unique deluxe saddle stand created by Terry Kirk of Riverside, CA, that displays the bridle and breastcollar with the saddle.

This saddle is truly a museum quality cowboy collectible and is one of the World's greatest conversation pieces. It is also a functional piece of usable Western art that can be ridden and admired in any parade in America.

Order your tickets today, only $20 each or six for $100. American Express, Discover, MasterCard and VISA accepted. You may order tickets by phone 760-240-3330, mail or online at www.happytrails.org. The drawing will be held on Saturday night, April 20 and winners need not be present: they will be notified by phone and posted online at www.happytrails.org.

Article provided by the Happy Trails Children's Foundation, a charitable non-profit organization under Section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. All donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. Tax ID number is 95-3872257. In accordance with postal regulations, no consideration is necessary to enter this opportunity drawing.