A Williams Lake saddle maker has been named the recipient of the 2018 Joe Marten Award For the Preservation of Cowboy Heritage in BC.
“It’s an honor because I know all my friends, all the guys in the business have had it and I knew Joe personally also,” says Mark Denny of Cariboo Saddlery.
“So it’s quite an honor.”
Denny started learning leather work at a young age and went to Calgary to learn saddle making in 1978 after graduating in 1977.
“On my own, since I’ve been back in BC, I’ve made almost 800 saddles,” he says.
Denny’s business Cariboo Saddlery was started by his father in 1977 and has been located on Oliver Street since 1990.
“It’s fun. It’s a neat job because I get to talk to everybody whether you’re a horse person or not because I do leather repairs of all types,” he says.
Denny who was working on another saddle when MYCARIBOONOW spoke with him says that it takes about 25-30 hours to make a plain saddle in about 6-7 days due to the drying time.
He noted that although there is a For Sale sign on the building he is not going to be giving up saddle making anytime soon with plans on opening his own personal shop.
“This is too much fun now because I’ve done it for so long now,” he says.
The Joe Marten Memorial Award for the Preservation of Cowboy Heritage in BC was created in the memory of Joe Marten who passed away unexpectedly in 1999 after suffering serious injuries in a riding accident.
The BC Cowboy Heritage Society says they will be having an award presentation ceremony for Denny at the Kamloops Cowboy Festival on March 17.