Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Old West Ghost Stories...Tombstone, Deadwood, Virginia City

With Halloween fast approaching- I felt some good old-fashioned ghost stories were appropriate! I found some ghost stories about the cowboys, outlaws and towns of the old west, including Tombstone, Deadwood, and Jesse James.

Along the way I came across some Ghost Towns, Including Virginia City, Nevada-one the most “spirited” towns around! The old west tales of the town are lively and so are the Ghosts.

I have visited this town myself- and you can see and feel the history come alive!!!

Happy Halloween- Ride American!!!!


The Spirit of Marshal Fred White is reported to haunt the streets of Tombstone. Marshall White was accidentally shot by Cowboy faction leader, Curly Bill Brocius on October 28, 1880.

White, the first marshal of Tombstone, had gained the respect of the Clanton Gang, and in fact, had arrested "Cowboy” members on a number of occasions, rarely having any problems when doing so. In the early morning of October 28th, Curly Bill and several of his cohorts were making sport by shooting up the town.

When White went to disarm the gunman, a shot was accidentally fired, hitting White in the groin. Though, it was thought that he would make a full recovery, two days later he died. Today, he is said to haunt the street in front of the shooting site, which was an empty lot where the Bird Cage Theater was built a year later.



1876 saw the arrival of Seth Bullock and Sol Star to Deadwood, South Dakota. Moving their hardware store from Helena, Montana.

According to dozens of reports, Seth Bullock still continues to play host at his beloved hotel. All manner of strange occurrences have happened at the historic hotel according to both staff and guests. Reports include feelings of a strong paranormal presence inside several of the rooms and in the hallways of the second and third floors, as well as in Bully’s restaurant, and in Seth's Cellar .

Others have reported actually seeing the tall ghostly figure of Bullock in various areas of the hotel, including the restaurant and the basement. Apparently Seth’s ghost wants to ensure that the staff is working hard, as paranormal events tend to increase when staff members stand idle, whistle or hum a tune. Plates and glasses have been known to shake and take flight in the restaurant, lights and appliances turn on and off by themselves and items are inexplicably moved by unseen hands.

Many guests have reported hearing their name called out by a male voice when no one is present, or have been tapped on the shoulder by unseen hands. Others have heard whistling and many report the sounds of footsteps in the hallways when no one is there.

In both the second and third floor rooms, guests have reported a number of strange occurrences including photographs that produce strange anomalies, alarm clocks that go off, even when they are unplugged, televisions that seemingly operate with unseen hands, cloudy figures seen in rooms and hallways, and even an antique clock, that hasn't functioned in years, that chimes of its own accord.


Bodie, California

Legends about Bodie abound, including the Bodie Curse. Supposedly, if visitors take anything from this old ghost town – even a pebble, they will be cursed with bad luck. Misfortune and tragedy are heaped upon the victim until the stolen item is returned. 

According to Park Rangers, many who have taken things eventually return them to the park to rid themselves of this curse. Purportedly, the park maintains a logbook of pages and pages of returned items.

In the museum, you can see the letters from people who have returned items to the park. The curse is supposedly perpetuated by the ghosts of Bodie who guard against thieves and protect its treasures. Some believe that the "curse” is nothing more than a superstition perpetuated by the Park Rangers to preserve Bodie as a historic site.

Other ghostly legends have seemingly occurred in this ghost town. The J.S. Cain house is said to be haunted by the ghost of a Chinese maid. Families of Park Rangers, who have occupied the house, describe the spirit, as not liking adults, but loves children.

Adults sleeping in the house have said that they will awake in the night to find the "heavy set” Chinese woman sitting on them. Feeling suffocated, one woman fought so hard that she ended up on the floor. Others have reported seeing the bedroom door opening and closing on its own.

The Gregory House is also said to be haunted by the ghost of an old woman. Guests and staff have reported seeing her sitting in a rocking chair, knitting an afghan. At other times, the rocking chair has been seen rocking on its own accord.

Jesse James


It should come as no surprise that the Jesse James Farm in Kearney, Missouri is said to be haunted. Given the violent temperament of some of its inhabitants, the untimely death of Jesse James, the violence that occurred on the property, and the tragic death of Jesse’s younger half-brother Archie.

Both Jesse and Frank James were raised in this house by their mother Zerelda, who was married to three different husbands and bore eight children. It was here that Jesse James was whipped as a teenager by Union militia who strung up his stepfather and burned nearby farms.

It was also here that Zerelda watched as her son Archie was murdered by Pinkerton detectives in an attack where she lost her right hand. After Jesse was killed, he was buried here, where she could protect the grave from trespassers or souvenir hunters. Later, his body was re-interred at the Mount Olivet Cemetery in Kearney.

The James Family Farm has said to have been haunted for more than a century. Evidently home to a number of lingering spirits, lights are said to move about both inside and outside of the property buildings. Others report hearing the sounds of pounding hooves, muffled shots and cries that are reminiscent of the area history, dating back to events of the Civil War.

Today, wide arrays of mysterious happenings occur in the house. Reports are frequent that lights are seen inside the building long after it has been locked up for the evening and movements are often seen which are never registered on a security monitoring system. Staff reports that feelings of a presence within the home are extremely intense. Others report that on foggy mornings, hushed voices and the sounds of restless horses can be heard from the nearby woods. However, when they follow up, there are no signs of a disturbance or tracks within the trees.


Virginia City, Nevada


Old Washoe Club

The Old Washoe Club is said to be the most haunted location in Virginia City. A saloon occupies the lower level and has for many years. The second floor used to be The Millionaire's Club. The third floor was previously used as a brothel.

Ghosts known to haunt this location include a man dressed in black, a lady dressed in blue, and a small child. There is also the ghost known as Lena, who has been experienced all over the building. The Old Washoe Club has been featured on different TV shows including Ghosts Hunters.

Silver Queen Hotel and Casino

The story of the ghost at the Silver Queen Hotel and Casino is a sad one. A female spirit from the 1800's still lingers on there. The story goes that she was pregnant and waiting for her boyfriend to come back, but he never returned. She was so upset, that she committed suicide.

Virginia City Visitor's Center

The Virginia City Visitor's Center, located on C Street, across the street from the Ponderosa Saloon and Mine, was once a two story, dried goods stores. It is currently the home of the spirit of a little girl. The identity of the little girl is unknown.

The Chapin Boarding House

Originally built in 1862 by Samuel Chapin, the Chapin Boarding House was one of the finest boarding houses in all of Nevada. Today it sits vacant, for sale. People who enter the building complain of an uneasy feeling.

Gold Hill Hotel

Built in 1859, the Gold Hill Hotel is the oldest operating hotel and saloon in the state of Nevada. It is located just outside of Virginia City. Visitors arriving to Virginia City from either the Lake Tahoe or Reno areas pass by this small town en route to Virginia City. It is also a stop on the 35 minute train tour of the Virginia and Truckee Railroad tour.

At least two ghosts are said to reside here. First, there is William, a firefighter who died in the Yellow Jacket fire. Guests at the hotel have been known to smell his pipe tobacco. He particularly hangs out in room # 5 and has repeatedly awakened guests at 3:00 o'clock in the morning by shaking the bed.

There is also the ghost of Rosie. Rosie is believed to be a previous housekeeper who enjoys moving guests' keys around. A visitor can know when Rosie is present by the smell of old fashioned rose petals.

More Haunted Locations in Virginia City

There are many additional haunted locations in Virginia City such as The Red Dog Saloon, the Mackay Mansion, and Piper's Opera House. In fact, it seems like just about all of the old, historical buildings have a ghost or two, which is why Virginia City is considered the most haunted city in Nevada. The Dunlop House, Virginia City, and employees stand in front of the building, approximately 1890.

Our family has been dedicated for 30 years in serving the Western Horseman the safest most durable Quality American made leather horse tack....... Buckaroo John Brand Buckaroo Leather, The Brand to Demand Visit Our Unique Store Today Buckaroo Leather Shopping Site

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Chuck Wagon - Traveling Dinner Table of the Old West

The Chuck Wagon of the old west was a home, the dinner table, "the water cooler" and a traveling store. 
The Chuck Wagon on a cattle drive or roundup served all these requirements.

On the cattle drives the cook or "cookie" as he was called was second in rank to the trail boss. The cookie and the chuck wagon had to outpace the drovers and have the cowboys meals ready on time.

The chuck wagon was usually a converted army wagon with iron axles tough enough to withstand miles of rough western trails. There was a canvas cover that stretched over bentwood bows to keep out the rain and the midday sun.

There was also a tail gate. It served as a table and had drawers and shelves that carried food like corn meal, flour, potatoes etc. Under the tail gate was the "boot" where cooking pots and utensils were stored.

(this picture is from the book "Cowboys" by Martin Chandler)

Stuffed into corners of the tail gate were assorted items such as plugs of tobacco, bandages, needles and thread, a razor and strop and a bottle of whiskey used for medicinal purposes.

The chuck wagon also had a barrel on one side that contained 2 day supply of water and on the other side of the wagon, to counter balance, was a toolbox. It held branding irons, horseshoes and nails. And of course you could find the cooks staple- a dutch oven


The wagon bed itself carried bedrolls, war bags, corral ropes, guns, ammunition, lanterns, kerosene, and slickers. If a cowboy or lame calf was injured they would ride in the back of the wagon.

 The Studebaker Company was one of the major companies manufacturing the chuck wagons. They sold for $75-$200. A chuck wagon weighed 1600 lb empty. It could haul 3 tons. The chuck wagon was a virtual store on wheels-it carried everything from eggs to long guns and ammunition.

Here is a list of some of the items you could find in the chuck wagon-
salt pork
500lbs of dried beans
200lbs of green coffee beans
20 sacks of flour
10 sack of sugar (considered a luxury on the trails)
500lbs of bacon
2 sacks of corn meal
500 apples
6 boxes of dried prunes
15 boxes of canned corn
10 boxes of tomatoes
30lbs of raisins
100lbs of rice


(the picture is from the book "Cowboys" by Martin Chandler)

there was also spices such as cinnamon, salt, all spice, pepper, ginger, and of course syrup.

an extra wheel (to prevent iron rims from coming off the wooden wheels in hot and dry climates, it was best to find a shallow stream and soak the wheels until they swelled)

The Chuck Wagon of the old west could have been considered the "water cooler" of its day. Cowboys met there after a roundup or other event. They laid down by the chuck wagon at night to sleep and sat around it for every meal.

 At the center of this chuck wagon was the "cookie". He cooked the food, helped the injured and would always have a story of joke to tell.

The cook prepared the food over brush or buffalo chips. A typical meal plan of the cowboy while on a cattle drive was-

A breakfast consisted of eggs and salt pork. The cowboys preferred sourdough biscuits to those made with buttermilk or baking powder. This is where the dutch oven was so useful-to make the biscuits.

A cowboy's lunch consisted of some dried beef, dried fruit, some sourdough biscuits and perhaps a cup of coffee, if he had a saddle bag.

While on the trail canned tomatoes helped to quench a cowboys thirst. The acid in the tomato juice also helped to counter act the alkali dust inhaled by the cowboys on the trail.

 Dinner was the same as lunch with more meat and of course plenty of coffee!!!

Our family has been dedicated for 30 years in serving 
the Western Horseman the safest most durable 
Quality American made leather horse tack....... Buckaroo John Brand Buckaroo Leather, The Brand to Demand 
Visit Our Unique Store Today  
Buckaroo Leather Shopping Site

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

How to Fit the Very Popular Sidepull Bitless Headstall

Ultimate Padded Sidepull Headstall w/exotic hair on overlay

How to Fit the Very Popular Sidepull Bitless Headstall

To begin, we want to have a willing horse. By walking up and offering the Sidepull and allowing your horse to willingly put their head into the bridle should help get the process started. It also creates an understanding and ease between horse and rider. Wait for the queues from the horse to let you know they are ready to begin. What you want to do once the horse is ready is to adjust the side pull out very wide to get the Sidepull on. That way we can easily adjust it on the horse. You will want to ensure the wide nose band is not adjusted too low. This will cause irritation to your horses breathing and nasal passages. Once on and properly adjusted you want to understand the horses facial configuration. Some horses can be very narrow, other may have more prominent cheek bones, and that will affect how we want to adjust the jowel strap. Make sure you set the horse to their individual configuration. The jowl strap prevents the Sidepull from moving side to side when pulling on the reins, which can cause irritation as well.

Adjustment will really depend on the individual horse, and using your best judgement. You want to make sure of a few things: Ensure the nose band is not putting pressure on the nasal passages, and ensure you can get 2 fingers under the jowel strap, which is probably the most important piece for stability. You want the jowl strap to fall just below or at the horses cheek. The chin strap is not vital to stability, and really lends more to preference. The looser the chin strap the more freely the horse will be able to open and move their mouths.

The main concerns when adjusting your Sidepull are to ensure the noseband is not laying too low and properly adjusted above the nasal passages, that the jowel strap lands at or below the cheek bone and you can get two fingers underneath, and that you pay attention to the signs from your horse. They will tell you what needs to be adjusted and what may be irritating them. Once you have these steps down you are ready to ride!

(the above information is from an article on the

 Hermann Oak quality 5/8" Harness leather or Black latigo, flat leather nose, double stitched with soft chap lining; hand edged, rubbed and oiled for a soft supple feel. It features an adjustable throat latch, chin strap and additional jowel strap for more stability.

There are different noseband options for the sidepull available from Buckaroo Leather Products. The type you use depends on how much pressure you want to excerpt on your horses nose. The single lariat rope nose gives the most in a narrow area across the nose. The double rope spreads the pressure out. The flat leather nose gives the least amount of pressure for the more trained and experienced horse.

Buckaroo Leather Products has a great selection of these very popular headstalls. Bitless Sidepulls with rawhide noses, the Justin Dunn Bitless Sidepull, a rolled nose sidepull plus many more. We also offer the bitless sidepull headstalls in large and draft horse sizes, small horse, cob, pony, regular horse and mule sizes.  

 This is a Side Pull style with a width of 5/8". This Ultimate Headstall has a soft chap lining and is oiled for that soft supple feel. It has a flat leather nose with Braided Rawhide around the nose and is finished with Nickel or stainless hardware

 We are proud to work with Justin Dunn of Justin Dunn Mustang Horsemanship to bring you his proven designed signature Sidepull Headstall. Made from the finest quality heavy weight Hermann Oak Harness leather or Black Latigo for a smooth, rich, "broke in" feel. Oiled for that soft supple feel.

 Justin Dunn Sidepull - Draft horse size

The Buckaroo Ultimate sidepull Headstall is just that- THE BEST. Made from the finest heavy weight Latigo for a smooth, rich, "broke in" feel. This  Buckaroo Headstall is double and sewn with a soft chap lining, and oiled for that soft supple feel.


This Buckaroo Headstall is double and sewn with a soft chap lining, and oiled for that soft supple feel. Now with silver OKLAHOMA HAND ENGRAVED CONCHAS...  This Headstall is a bitless Side Pull style with a width of 5/8"

Buckaroo John, in the video below will demonstrate the SIDEPULL, aka "Bitless Bridle", its variations and the reasons to incorporate this useful piece of horse equipment.

 Play this How to Video on the Bitless Sidepull Headstall

Our family has been dedicated for 30 years in serving the 
Western Horseman the safest most durable 
Quality American made leather horse tack....... Buckaroo John Brand Buckaroo Leather, The Brand to Demand 
Visit Our Unique Store Today
Buckaroo Leather Shopping Site

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Horse Training by the Californio Vaquero's

The Californio Vaquero's prided themselves on their horsemanship and horse tack. They took great care too hand braid their horse hair mecates and romel reins. The Vaquero’s hand braiding techniques are still used today. 

The rawhide bosals, riatas and quirts, headstalls, and hackamores are all part of the Vaquero "tool box" to train their horses.

The Vaqueros trained their horses for 7-10 years, starting at 4 years old, to react with very little pressure from the rider. At the end of training, the horse and rider would be one. 


The 3 stages of the Vaquero horse training were….

The 1st stage - starts with a hackamore bitless braided rawhide headstall to teach the horse to yield to pressure. The reins were long hand braided horse hair mecates.

The 2nd stage - or "Two Rein" is where the Vaquero would use a thinner simpler version of the hackamore nose piece, the bosal. This bosal was lighter for this part of the stage. The mecate bridle had a spade bit and a braided rawhide romel rein. During this stage of the training the Vaquero would hold both sets of reins and the horse would be controlled with mostly the bosal and light on the bit. Then the Vaquero would transition to only using the bit and would then get rid of the bosal all together.

The 3rd stage- is called the "Straight upon the Bridle". The Vaquero handles the horse with just the spade bit. The Bit is connected with romel reins. The bosal and mecate are used under the bridle to lead the horse. 


This extensive training enabled the Vaquero to control the horse with little pressure. The Vaquero's horse was a skilled cattle horse and would be tested....

The Vaquero use to test their horses skills by tying a thread to the links section of the chain part of the romel reins. The Vaquero would then bring the horse to a stop with a "light" pull of the reins. If the thread broke- the Vaquero needed to pull to hard.

Another way to show off their skills.....trying to rope Grizzlies!!!

Can you imagine the horsemanship skills and the communication of the horse and rider to stop and move in an instant to rope a Grizzly!!!!!

Buckaroo Leather Uses the Influence of the Vaquero when handcrafting our Hackamores

Our family has been dedicated for 30 years in serving the Western Horseman the safest most durable Quality American made leather horse tack....... Buckaroo John Brand Buckaroo Leather, The Brand to Demand Visit Our Unique Store Today Buckaroo Leather Shopping Site

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Kenny Lawson of Silver Dollar Ranch Endorses Buckaroo Leather Products

At the Horseman's Re-Union, a few months back, Buckaroo Leather had the great pleasure to meet Kenny & Leann Lawson of Silver Dollar Ranch. Kenny Lawson is a champion Mounted shooter and a professional horse trainer. Kenny purchased a AAA Wade Saddle from Buckaroo Leather to use in his horse training and mounted shooting competitions.

We are proud to have Kenny and Silver Dollar Ranch endorse and use our quality Buckaroo Leather Products, including a Buckaroo Leather breast collar.

 “I ride in a Buckaroo Leather Handcrafted Saddle - simply wouldn’t consider any other”……Kenny Lawson

The Silver Dollar Ranch and Kenny offers horse training, riding lessons and training horses for Cowboy Mounted Shooting. Kenny is a third-generation horse trainer. Kenny’s father, Rob Tanner, who was a World Champion and Hall of Fame trainer, was Kenny’s biggest influence. From a very young age, Kenny worked for his dad learning how to train one of the most complex breeds of horses, the American Saddle-bred. Kenny has the ability to educate horses without taking their curiosity from them. 

All of Kenny’s training programs are based on a philosophy of mutual respect between horse and rider. He has solutions for horses with aggressive ground manners, to trailer loading issues or, for the competitor that would like to perform at the next level. With Kenny and Silver Dollar Ranch you can reach your equestrian goals, increase your confidence, and create a better relationship between you and your horse.

Buckaroo Leather is very excited to have this extremely talented horse trainer and World Champion endorse and use the American made Buckaroo Leather Saddle and Breast Collar. I encourage all of you to visit Kenny’s website and learn more about his training and special events.

15587 Cool Valley Rd.
Valley Center, Ca 92082

Our family has been dedicated for 30 years in serving the 
Western Horseman the safest most durable 
Quality American made leather horse tack....... Buckaroo John Brand Buckaroo Leather, The Brand to Demand 
Visit Our Unique Store Today 
Buckaroo Leather Shopping Site