By William Nelson
A week ago, Dave’s little brother Jonathan and I, headed off east towards Lexington, Kentucky, to participate in the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event. Once we got to the Kentucky Horse Park, we setup our booth right away, and without the help of a few friendly, fellow vendors we would of had a tougher time getting it all done. One gentleman pulled out his tools to help us build some platforms for our booth lighting, so that we would be within compliance of the event rules. Another vendor, helped us with our hitch and also gave us a part to take any play out of the hitch. Thanks a lot guys.
Most of the people whom we met had never heard of Saddleback Leather before, so we had a great time talking with them about our leather and company history. Many people opened up to us about where they were from and what they’re passionate about too. We met leather folks, horse trainers, breeders, and people of all types, from all walks of life. It was a diverse and eclectic crowd; what most shared though, was their love of horses. When we had a moment to look around, you could watch horse and buggy riders warming up before they went to compete. You could tell whom the athletes and participants were by the long, leather-riding boots they’d all wear. Many women wear their hair in thick braids. I can’t help but think it’s a trend stemming from the love and admiration of their horses.
The single biggest item that got the most attention was Dave’s prototype Trunk/Chest. There are still some tweaks to be made to attain “perfection,” but it’s already an instant classic. You don’t see trunks made like this anymore, but that’s like the rest of our Saddleback line. It was special to be able to connect with people, and share with them about the time and thought that goes into our leather goods, the materials we use and why, and about our story. The Waterbag was another popular item. It’s a lot easier to speak about the pieces you’re most fond of, and the Waterbag is mine. It’s a champion of a bag. Suzette’s Love 41 Feather Earrings were well received, as were our wallets and briefcases. We didn’t bring a lot of our waxed canvas bags, but people were blown away. They’re pretty cool.
Dave’s 17.5 pound, full-grain leather suit drew lots of attention and laughs as well. There were a handful of people who wanted us to make them the same suit, despite knowing the weight and lack of mobility. Maybe there’s a niche market for thick, full-grain leather suits.
One thing is for certain, Kentuckians know horses, and they’ve got the country and Texas-style hospitality to put on a smashing event. We hope to come back to the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event next year. We’ll announce earlier next time so you guys can plan to come out and see us. Thanks to our Saddleback Family who did come out and visit with us. Thank you to all the event coordinators, workers, and security for contributing to the incredible success of this unique event. You all should go see it sometime.