What would a western horse riding site be without our contribution to the Billy Cook Saddlery story?
Billy Cook appears to be a legend in his own right, probably not by choice but by the pure genius of his work.
What Do Appearances Tell Us
It appears, in examining the Billy Cook Saddlery story that we have a man Billy Cook, who was just going about his business, and years later we have what we have.
It appears that his work and reputation for excellent saddles and harnesses, have made his named products a really sought out thing.
Most horse owners eventually run into a conversation about, or a saddle for sale by Billy Cook Saddlery. Often people find the saddles to be very interesting, the quality to definitely to be very good, and the story about Billy Cook to be of most interest.
What We Have Found About Billy Cook Saddlery
After much research, let’s examine what we have found out about this mystery. It appears that Billy Cook lived and in some cases, some people report he still lives in Greenville, Texas. So our research shows us that Billy Cook, did his work in this city, from around late 1970s up until the mid to late 1980s.
Mr. Billy Cook met Mr. Bill Potts while in the military, and as the story goes, the two got together and formed the Billy Cook Saddlery/Potts Longhorn Company. As in most business relationships one (Billy Cook) had the talent and the shop and one (Bill Potts) had the money.
His work became widely known during this time, and he lead a team of people who worked on manufacturing these various Billy Cook Saddlery saddles.
He would create the designs and the patterns for the saddles. Then he would have his tool and die makers create a series of dies to be used. His team would then assemble the finished products.
Word has it that the people who worked with him, were very proud of their craftsmanship and the saddles they as a team produced.
Did Financial Trouble Partially Create This Confusion
Eventually the Billy Cook Saddlery/Potts Longhorn Co., through an embezzlement scandal, along with the death of Bill Potts, ended up going through Chapter 11, and then Chapter 7, bankruptcy proceedings.
Then the company went on the auction block, and the name Billy Cook Saddlery went with the company. So as this happened, it took everything from Billy, including his name, Billy Cook Saddlery.
Also reportedly during this time he had started another shop, Billy Cook Harness, where he would spent part of his day creating horses harness.
Eventually through mismanaged tax reporting, quarterly with-holdings, etc., the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) caught up with him.
Because of this enormous money situation with the IRS, Billy ended up going bankrupt, with this situation as well.
Often Reported, But Probably Not True
So Billy Cook did not sell his name to Billy Cook Saddlery/Potts Longhorn, but rather he lost the rights to them, to use Billy Cook Saddlery on his work any more.
So eventually he found a way to do business in the state of Oklahoma. He set up his next business, in Sulphur, Ok., where today he does business, and manufactures his products.
So the differences are the first products made, and the continuing to be manufactured by the Longhorn Saddles today, refer to the product as Billy Cook Saddlery. Billy Cook’s actual manufactured saddles since his losses in Texas, are identified as Billy Cook Maker.
What About The Actual Saddles
During our whole process and investigation, we have found one thing to be consistent. The actual saddles made (created, designed) by Billy Cook, are described by most as excellent saddles.
These saddles, many now used, appear to hold their value well, and are available online and in Saddlery shops for fairly substantial prices. They are very well designed horse saddles, and the owner’s of them are often considered to be “Proud Owners” of a Billy Cook.
What Is Today’s Market For Billy Cook Saddlery
So as it stands today you have four choices to make. If you want a Billy Cook saddle, what you are dealing with are the following scenarios.
1. You can buy an original Billy Cook Saddlery/Potts Longhorn saddle. This choice would land you an original model but also a used saddle. These are available, and are still good purchases. Depending on the care that was given the saddle.
2. You may purchase a used Billy Cook Maker labeled saddle, which was made by Billy from his business in Oklahoma. These are also available, they are worth purchasing, and they are also much sought after.
3. You may contact Billy Cook Harness & Saddle Mfg Inc, 320 W. Muskogee Ave, Sulphur ,Oklahoma and have them make you an original Billy Cook Maker saddle. Also some upscale type saddle websites actually are sites for sales of these Billy Cook saddles. you could track one down on their sites. either way probably costly, but a worthwhile investment, in top notch horse tack.
4. You can purchase a Billy Cook Saddlery saddle from various business online, and in person at various saddlery shops, which are made today by the Simco Longhorn Saddle Co. While these are not anything to do with the actual Billy Cook, except the name, these saddles are still very popular.
We hope this article might clear up some of the confusion that is online about Billy Cook and his saddles. Great riding enjoyment to you!