The Otero Junior College Rodeo Team will be sponsoring The Genuine American Cowboy Concert on Saturday, February 5, 2011 at 7 p.m., featuring Trent Willmon, singer and song writer from Nashville. The evening will also include an exhibit of western art and artifacts. The exhibit will open to the public at 5 p.m. in the Humanities Center lobby with the concert beginning at7 p.m. in the Otero Junior College Ed Stafford Theatre.
The western art and artifacts exhibit will feature six areas artists and collectors displaying their unique talents and collections. The artists and collectors include: Gary Parish, saddle maker; Brenda Daniher, bronze sculptor; Robert Forselius, saddle maker and collector; Jeremy Manyik artist; Craig Harris, collector and Delbert Jones, collector.
Gary Parrish, La Junta, will display two of his custom handmade saddles. Parrish began making saddles in 1983; it grew from a "need", to a fascination with leather and its ability to take on a distinguished form of artistry. Parrish was named Best of Show winner in 1996 and again in 1997 at the Colorado State Fair Custom Saddle show. He has shown at the Art of the Saddlemaker held at the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in 2003 and 2010. Parrish will exhibit a saddle that has a full accoutrement of gear made to match the saddle; including chinks, headstall, reins, spur straps, Martingale breast collar and a custom stand to display it. The saddle stand features silverwork made to match the saddle motif.
Parrish's saddles have ranged from working cowboy styles to fine pieces of art on display in homes.
“My experience as a working cowboy has given me a great perspective on form and function while I have continued to develop my artistic abilities. I strive to make functioning pieces of art, with a keen eye for detail, beauty and a different unexpected look," stated Parrish.
Robert Forselius, La Junta, a long time saddle maker and collector will have several items on display during the Genuine American Cowboy Exhibit. Forselius was a saddle maker in Cheyenne, Wyo. beginning in 1989 until he moved to La Junta in 2007. His trade has primarily served the working cowboy. He has worked on cattle and buffalo ranches in the Walsenburg area as well as in Baggs and Cheyenne, Wyo.
Forselius’ western artifacts collection includes a Hall Pierce saddle. Hal Pierce was a famous saddle maker who purchased a saddler in 1959 which employed several custom saddle makers. Pierce operated his saddlery until the 1970s. Forselius’ saddle is an original Hal Piece stock saddle produced in the 1960s. Also being displayed will be a saddle made by Frank A. Meanea, a saddle maker who lived in Cheyenne, Wyo. from 1873 until his death in 1928. The saddle shown is from the 1920s.
Forselius is also a collector of western art and will be sharing some of his prized pieces during the Genuine American Cowboy Exhibit. One piece depicts the action of wild horse racing at Cheyenne Frontier Days. The artist, John Shelhart titled the print “A Mugging in Ol’ Cheyenne”.
Brenda Daniher of Higbee, a longtime supporter of Otero Junior College and the arts in our area will be displaying some of her incredible works at the Genuine American Cowboy Exhibit. Known internationally as a bronze sculptor, Daniher has bronze sculptures in nine countries and artwork in many more. She has over 30 life-size or larger bronzes statues which include a heroic-size bronze that is a 14’x 10’ Pony Express Rider and Horse for the Ft. Sedgwick Museum in Julesburg, Colo. Among the several pieces to be on exhibit will be a smaller version of the Pony Express horse and rider.
Daniher teaches bronze sculpting at the Sangre de Cristo Arts Center in Pueblo. She lives on a farm/ranch with her husband, David, in the Higbee area south of La Junta where they raise Shire draft horses and livestock.
Delbert Jones, owner of the Tack Shack in North La Junta, is a man of many talents. He will exhibit a variety of items, including some collectables and original handmade saddles and tack he has created.
“When a person starts life around cows and horses, he never will get out of that mode,” said Jones. “Some people might move to the city and forget that way of life but not me. Guess I’ll just be a cowboy forever,” he said.
Jones will be exhibiting a piece of our American history with his collection of Artillery and Infantry Calvary saddles made from 1904 to the 1940’s.
In addition, Jones will exhibit a saddle produced by Hesson Hopkins Leather Company of Rockford, Ill. sometime between 1900 to 1922. Jones acquired this saddle from an old cowboy in the Cheyenne Wells area that said he was the sole owner of this working saddle. Jones’ desire to hand engrave the Conchos for his saddles lead him to a silversmithing course and the production of a line of silver and precious stones jewelry of which he will displays several pieces.
Also exhibiting will be Jeremy Manyik, local artist and Program Director & Curator of the Koshare Indian Museum. Manyik will feature two oil paintings of area ranchers working cattle. An award winning artist, Manyik was the Sangre de Cristo Arts Center’s Best Professional Artist at the 2009 Colorado State Fair. Manyik had a solo exhibit in spring of 2010 that focused on wildlife, Native American and fort scenes at Sangre de Cristo Arts Center.
A special exhibit of artifacts on loan from the Koshare Indian Museum that were given to Buck Burshears in the early 1950’s will also be displayed. Among the items is a bridle and rope made from braided horse hair, a true work of art and craftsmanship.
The Genuine American Cowboy Exhibit will be open to the public from 5-7 p.m. on Saturday, February 5 in the Otero Junior College Humanities Center lobbies. The exhibit is free to the public. The exhibit will also be open following the conclusion of the Trent Willmon concert until 10 p.m. for concert-goers to view the exhibit.
Tickets for The Genuine American Cowboy Concert, a fundraiser for the OJC Rodeo Team, are available from any member of OJC Rodeo Team or by calling Debbie Phillips at 719-384-6863. Tickets are $15 per person. Will call tickets are available for credit cards purchases.
The concert on February 5 will begin at 7 p.m. in the Ed Stafford Theatre in the Humanities Center on the OJC campus.