Established June 1956
Opening a handmade saddle shop in an industrial age would
seem to be a foolhardy endeavor, and keeping business thriving and sales up
would seem impossible BUT Tony Court did just that. It all began in June 1956
when Tony and Zella acquired an existing retail shop that at the time was
doing boot and shoe repair and selling minimal western wear. In the 1958 Tony
decided to try his hand at making some tack. Starting with bridles, halters,
leads and nosebands. In 1967 he started building saddles. Selling about
A year. Putting salesmen on the road helped with sales and added new customers. By the early 1980’s we had 6 retail stores and were selling tack and saddle world wide.
Saddle making is a labor intensive effort, relying on eye and hand coordination rather than machine precision. Some things are done by machine today but still a lot by hand. Saddle making has changed some over the years but not a lot. Most of the changes are trends like colored suede seats which we were doing 30 years ago. Dots, new patterns and different riggings are also some new changes. It is truly a craft.
In 1995 we closed our retail locations to devote our time and energy to our manufacturing and wholesale divisions.
Jimmy spent a lot of time learning the ropes so to speak and started working in production full time in 1973. Basically starting at the bottom sweeping, cleaning and learning. In 1977 when Tony retired, Jimmy took over the operation with his Mom until her untimely death in 1982. We are truly a family operated business. Jimmy and Kathy, daughter Amanda, their son Tony, Jimmy’s sister Darlene, Kathy’s sister Sandy and Kathy’s Mom Mildred, which by the way celebrates her 41st anniversary with Court’s this year. It even carries over to our employees. We have husbands and wives, sisters, aunts, cousins, and even mother and son. This is mainly because when we needed help they would go home and tell their families. This has worked out great for us throughout the years. Partly because we train them ourselves. Court’s is proud to say that we have a number of employees that have been with us for over 20 years. Mildred, Joe Bill, Dora, Patricia, Susan, Vicki and Brenda.
We also have a few antiques, well maybe just one and his name is Mr. Ed. He is a paper mache horse that was a fixture that came with the store. He is estimated to be well over 125 years of age. He is still very much a part of our history. One of only a few still in existence and in need of a face lift, he still adds character to our history. He still gets attention and even has been ridden by a few of our local old timers when they were young and would come in the store.
Court’s has manufactured trophy saddles for numerous groups throughout the years. Some of them included National High School Rodeo Association, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, National Finals Rodeo, Junior Rodeos, Cheyenne Frontier Days, Oklahoma, Kansas and California High School Rodeos, Miss Rodeo America, Miss Rodeo Texas, Miss Rodeo Kansas and Miss Rodeo Wyoming State Pageants among a few. We have made the Miss Rodeo America saddle which is given to the new Miss Rodeo America each year for over 25 years. We also supply the horsemanship saddles to the Miss Rodeo American pageant for the girls to use during their horsemanship competition. We fill these are ways to help promote the sport of Rodeo through the fine young ladies that will carry out this task throughout their reining year.
We would like to thank everyone who has helped us to reach this grand milestone of 50 years. From the visions of Tony and Zella to our employees long ago and the ones still here today, salesmen, endorsees, customers, suppliers and friends. We could not have accomplished this without all of you. And for this we are truly grateful.