The Big Bend country of Texas is one of the most fascinating and beautiful places in the United States. Often known as the “Alps of Texas”, this area is a glorious mixture of desert to higher mountains and pine country. Alpine, TX carries the majority of the population of the Big Bend country and is a quaint, little cowboy town that also is the home of Sul Ross State University.
I’ve called Alpine my home a couple of times over the years and still visit often. No matter the frequency of my visits to Alpine, one of the places that is a must stop is Big Bend Saddlery. Located in the Davis Mountains, Big Bend Saddlery was established in 1905 and has been a leading maker of saddles and other leather goods since then.
Big Bend Saddlery makes some of the finest saddles that can be had, yet it’s much more than just a saddle shop. Operated by Gary Dunshee and Bill Fort, my old Customs Service partner, BBS offers a wide assortment of leather goods and other cowboy accouterments.
Some of the most-popular products made at the saddler are holsters, rifle scabbards and slings, magazine pouches, custom leather belts, pistol cases and more. I’ve been particularly interested in the company’s pistol holsters and rifle scabbards and have had the chance to use a number of them.
BBS’s holsters are formed around the pistol for a snug, secure fit. They’re made of grade-A skirting leather and are available in several styles and patterns. The holsters can be made with plain, smooth leather, basket-stamped, Carlos border-stamped or floral carving. The shop has some of the finest leather-tooling craftsmen known, by the way. Some of the options available are high-, medium- or low-ride, straight-hand or forward-cant. They are offered in right- or left-hand draw, open- or closed-bottom and snap-and-strap over the hammer.
The saddle shop can fit a holster to virtually any handgun, but the company keeps a number of styles in stock most of the time. Among these is a great holster for the Taurus Judge or Smith & Wesson Governor, various styles for medium-frame revolvers, large-frame revolvers, 1911s, Glocks and other handguns. The leather is top-quality, as is the stitching. The craftsmanship in these holsters is top-notch. The shop can make a holster as plain or as fancy as you want. These holsters are rugged, brush-proof and made to last a lifetime.
Big Bend Saddlery is able to custom make virtually any holster or scabbard to the customer’s specifications. If you are a horseman, whether a cowboy, horseback hunter or pleasure rider, the company can custom-make a holster or scabbard to fit your saddle.
The shop makes outstanding rifle slings, as well. Its Cobra sling features a wide, padded area for shoulder comfort. As with the company's other products, they are available in plain, basket-stamped or tooled leather and obviously can be stamped with the customer’s initials or cattle brand.
With hunting season coming up before we know it, hunters should keep Big Bend Saddlery in mind for hunting and camping gear. They offer some of the finest cowboy bedrolls available. These bedrolls are made of sturdy 18-ounce cotton canvas. The tarp, mattress and straps can be bought separately or as a complete bedroll. They’re perfect for hunters or any outdoorsman. They also offer several models of heavy-canvas teepees and tents.