Hello again Stampede Fans! Queen Meagan here!
Every Stampede Queen and Princess loves her trusty steed! And, along with our beautiful horses we need tack and all the extras, as every horse lover out there knows!
Our Stampede Royalty program is fortunate to have a very generous craftsman and sponsor to give each of us a saddle! JD Moor personally designs a saddle for each Queen and Princess, putting into 300-400 hours of work on each one! His shop is called Eamor’s Saddlery and is located in Nanton, Alberta. It was opened in 1941 and they’ve been a Stampede sponsor since 1960. Eamor’s is one of the oldest Saddleries in North America and the oldest in Canada! In addition to Eamor’s, Associated Grocers and Davidson Enman are also generous contributors to our saddle sponsorship.
A visit to the saddlery
On Monday, April 3, the Royal Trio visited Moor and the saddlery. The first question I had was where he learned such an amazing skill!? He shared with us that he began when he was eight years old and had made his first saddle by the time he was 17. He talked about how it began as a hobby, but quickly turned into a full-time job.
Tooling the saddles
Moor said his favourite thing to do is to tool a saddle. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, it’s the detail usually found on the fender or on the skirt of the saddle. Tooling detail can ultimately go anywhere on the saddle depending on your preference. To customize the Royalty saddles, Moor will draw up a pattern, then hand paint and do all the tooling himself. Each saddle is “blinged out” with Montana Silver that each Queen and Princess can have engraved. This was one of the reasons for Monday’s visit.
Every year the saddles are a little bit different than the year before. Keep your eyes peeled to see if you can spot the changes! By this point you can probably imagine the passion this man has for creating saddles. His favorite saddle he made for a client was the Rose Saddle. This saddle took about 600 hours to create! The leather has a reddish brown tone and the entire saddle is tooled with detail. It also has gold plating and conchos on it.
As soon as we met Moor, we could sense his authenticity and genuine love for what he creates. It is people like Moor that make me love the Stampede program continuously. Moor described how the saddles he makes are his legacy.
“Those saddles will be around for a lot longer than I will! You’ll have it for the rest of your life and you’ll remember how you got it! I only do it because I love it. There is no other way,” he says.
And right you are Mr. Moor! We couldn’t be more thrilled to have been given Eamor saddles. Before we were crowned on the big night, the three of us were floored at the sight of such beautiful saddles waiting to be claimed. We hoped that those saddles would be coming home with us that night, and here we are lucky enough to meet the man behind them! We will always think of you, Mr. Moor, before we run through those gates at every Grand Entry. We will make sure they are nice and broken in! Like Moor says, “The saddles are happier that way.”
If you’d like to check out some one-of-a-kind saddles in person and see some adorable animals, come out to Aggie Days at the Western Event Centre from Saturday, April 8 to Sunday, April 9 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event includes free admission and is fun for the whole family!