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May 2011 - Vol 3, Issue 5
In This Issue
Feature Story: Billy the Kid is Coming to Denver
Featured Photo: Pictorial View of Western Americana....Featuring Nadine Levin
Linda's Feed Bag: Spring Forward with a Cheyenne BBQ Burger
Additional Blurb: The Bowie Knife: Icon of American Character, by Richard C. Rattenbury
Dealer Spotlight: Casey Jordan of Casey Jordan Saddle & Leathers
Our Inner Cowgirl: The Day the "West Was Won" - Celeste Sotola and Montana Dreamwear's Triumph
Expressions: Coin-operated Horses - Preserving the dreams of young urban cowboys and cowgirls
and Furthermore: Cowboy Poetry by Russell Petter
Upcoming Events: Don't miss these upcoming Western and Native American events
Feature Story
Photo of Billy the Kid

Billy the Kid is Coming to Denver  


The one-and-only authenticated photograph of Billy the Kid - the famous Upham tintype - will be offered to the public for the first time ever at Brian Lebel's Old West Auction this June.    


Denver, CO - 130 years ago, legendary outlaw Billy the Kid had his "picture made" in Fort Sumner, New Mexico, posing for what is now considered the most recognizable photo of the American West. A single, original tintype is the only authenticated photo of the Kid in existence today. Descended through one family, and never before offered for public sale, it will be sold at auction on June 25, 2011 at Brian Lebel's 22nd Annual Old West Show & Auction, to be held at the Denver Merchandise Mart in Denver, CO. A famous, historical item with impeccable provenance, the tintype is estimated to bring between $300,000 and $400,000.


Nearly as legendary as the kid himself, the photo has been studied, copied, scrutinized, portrayed in films, re-imagined, and immortalized. Once thought to prove Billy was "The Left Handed Gun," it later proved he was not. While on loan to the Lincoln County Museum in New Mexico (the only time it has ever been available for public viewing), rumors emerged that exposure had darkened the image beyond recognition. "That's simply not true," says Old West Auction founder, Brian Lebel. "We've all seen this image of Billy countless times, but when you hold the actual, three-dimensional tintype in your hands, it's a whole different experience." Other purported photographs of Billy the Kid (aka William Bonney and William Henry McCarty) have surfaced over the years, but none have ever been authenticated. "This is it," says Lebel. "The only one."


Lebel's annual show and auction is well-known by collectors of Cowboy and Western Americana, and last year received mainstream attention for auctioning the gun collection of "King of the Cowboys," Roy Rogers. This year's live, 300-plus item auction (which also offers Internet, phone and absentee bidding) is one part of an annual weekend event that includes an expo-style sale of Western art, antiques and apparel. and events in and around Denver. Formerly the Cody Old West Show & Auction, Lebel moved the festivities to Denver in 2009 on the event's 20th anniversary. Visit www.denveroldwest.com for more information or to download additional images and/or press releases.


Contact: Brian Lebel




Media contact: Melissa McCracken






Featured Photography by Nadine Levin

Nadine Levine photo of Riding with Mom

The photo this month is by Nadine Levin - Riding with Mom

Nadine grew up in Washington, DC. Riding horses into her teens, Nadine preferred watching Westerns to playing with dolls. She has always loved taking photos and studying photography, and once her children were grown, she jumped in full-time. She finds beauty in nature and in the animals that share her world, and Nadine offers us this beauty for May.


Did You Know?

1. Theodore Roosevelt was sent to live in North Dakota for health reasons. He fell in love with the West and wrote a book titled Ranch Life and the Hunting Trail before becoming a US president. The book was illustrated by famous Western artist Frederic Remington.

2. Liquid Silver is a type of necklace or bracelet constructed of very thin, fine, small silver cylinders originally strung on catgut, now strung on fine wire.

3. A process by which a photographic print is made directly from a color transparency, a Cibachrome is noted for rich color, brilliant clarity and unprecedented archival quality for color for color prints. (Also called Ilfochrome).

If you have some interesting tidbits that you would like to share, send them to SmokeSignals@highnoon.com

Social Media News

Don't miss exciting Western videos now available on YOU TUBE!

Subscribe now to the High Noon and Denver Old West YOU TUBE channels and receive email notifications whenever we post new content:

Empty Saddle
Empty Saddle Logo

R F Ford 

1944 - 2011   


Bill Maloy 

Saddle Maker

None better; Couldn't be  


Joseph Roark "STAR"  

1935 - 2010    



High Noon Music Box
Ranch & Reata Radio

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Linda's Feed Bag
High Noon logo

Spring Forward with a Cheyenne BBQ Burger

Turkey Burger Recipe

For each burger:
pound ground turkey - turkey tastes great in this combo - just make sure to use a mix of white and dark meat (90 percent lean)
2 strips of crisp bacon
Onion rings (see recipe below)
1-2 slices sharp cheddar cheese
Bobby's BBQ sauce (see recipe below)

Cook burgers 5 minutes per side. Add bacon, onion rings, cheese and BBQ sauce.

Onion Ring RecipeBurger and Onion Rings Plate

Vidalia onions (1/2 per person)
Quart peanut oil, 360 degrees in deep, heavy pot
Salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper
Buttermilk for coating
Flour for dredging

Cut onion into thin rings, and season with salt and pepper and a little flour. Dip in buttermilk then dredge in flour and fry in oil, turning once or twice, about 4 minutes.  Drain on paper towels and season with a little more salt.

BBQ Sauce

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 Spanish onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons ancho chili powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 heaping tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the onion; cook until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the ketchup and 1/4 - 1/3 cup water, bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients (except salt and pepper). Simmer 10 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally.

Transfer the mixture to a food processor and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into a bowl and cool to room temperature. (Can be prepared the day before) Generously spoon onto burgers.
Makes: 1 cup


Help us "Put on the Feed Bag!" Appetize us with your favorite cowboy cuisine. Send us a recipe or culinary creation - keeping the traditions of the American West alive is about the great food too! From ribs to rhubarb, campfire food to a great bowl of chili - we Wild West epicureans want to know.
Submissions welcome at SmokeSignals@highnoon.com.

Collector News

Illustration of High Noon PediaCheck out the
High Noon-Pedia

Did you know that High Noon has a very comprehensive RESOURCE DATABASE of the ARTISTS and CRAFTSMEN who have been featured in our auctions? And they can be found on our website FREE for EVERYONE to use? It features brief BIOGRAPHIES and TIDBITS of information about these talented and important individuals and companies. It's our version of "Western Wikipedia"!

And, in the style of Wikipedia, this is EVERYONE'S database! We want to know of any corrections, additions or deletions that need to be made. It's a High Noon family effort and we welcome your input!

Email us and we'll even give you credit for your submission if you want!

Check it out:  www.highnoon.com/hnartistbios.htm
Email us:   smokesignals@highnoon.com

Consignments Wanted
Consignments wanted for January 2012 Auction

Additional Blurb
Bowie Knife in Photo Collage

The Bowie Knife:

Icon of American Character  

By Richard C. Rattenbury



English Bowie Knife by Tillotson & Company, Columbia Place, Sheffield, circa 1840-1845. The cast pommel cap portrays the mythic, half horse-half alligator popularized in such folk literature as the Davy Crockett Almanack [sic], circulated circa 1835-1850 in both the United States and Great Britain. This allegorical motif was applied especially to Mississippi River boatmen - as in the boast, "I am half horse and half alligator and can whip any man on the Mississippi by God!" Wide, ten-inch, clip-point blade joined with a "coffin"-pattern handle having two-piece ivory grip scales set off with the pommel piece, shield-pattern escutcheon and thin, scalloped crossguard, all of German silver.

Courtesy Norm Flayderman Collection


Among historic American weapons, only the proper names Deringer and Bowie have become generic terms in the English language for their respective creations - a small, single-shot pistol and a typically large, fixed-blade fighting knife.


Forever associated with frontiersman, land speculator and Alamo-martyr James Bowie, his namesake knife figured in many historical currents in mid-nineteenth-century America. From the 1830s onward, the imposing weapons served frontiersmen, hunters, gold-seekers, gamblers and soldiers in both the Mexican-American War and the American Civil War.


The Bowie knife gained almost instantaneous notoriety following the infamous, 1827 "Sandbar Fight," in which Bowie vanquished a foe using a large - but otherwise nondescript - butcher or hunting knife. Sensational newspaper accounts soon brought the incident to public attention, and various domestic cutlers began making interpretations of robust fighting knives intended as back-up weapons for then, often-unreliable pistols carried for personal protection.


Interestingly, though the Bowie knife originated and was manufactured in the United States, both its distinctive design evolution and its production soon came to be dominated by the already well-established and justly famed cutlery houses of Sheffield, England. Sheffield ranked in the early 1800s as the world leader in cutlery manufacture, and the United States provided the city's greatest export market outside the far-flung British Empire.


The Sheffield cutlers quickly recognized that the Bowie knife provided an ideal vehicle with which to expand their markets. Even prior to Colonel Bowie's death at the Alamo in 1836, British knife makers had commenced fashioning and exporting "Bowie" knives to their cousins in America.


Bowie-pattern knives had intrinsic appeal to Americans, many of whom still lived in a sometimes violent, frontier environment. Though the knife's origins rapidly became shrouded in myth and legend (and remain so), the object itself provided tangible protection, utility and no little status to its devotees. British cutlers arose to exploit this vibrant and burgeoning market.


The most innovative marketing stratagem devised by Sheffield cutlers to sell the Bowie knife involved the introduction of boldly etched mottos and slogans clearly intended to play on latent and overt American patriotism, state pride, political sentiment or personal aspiration. Rightly gaging the American character, these embellishments markedly increased the appeal - and the sale - of the "terrific utensil."


By the mid-1840s, hundreds of English Bowie knives were arriving in the United States with their broad blades carrying declarations such as "AMERICANS ASK FOR NOTHING BUT WHAT IS RIGHT AND SUBMIT TO NOTHING THAT IS WRONG." More specific slogans referenced state pride ("A REAL MISSISSIPPIAN"), hunting aspirations ("FOR STAGS AND BUFFALOES"), or fighting prowess ("I'M A REAL RIPPER").


Allusions to the Mexican War ("PALO ALTO"), the gold fields of California ("I CAN DIG GOLD FROM QUARTZ") and, particularly, to the Civil War ("DEATH TO TRAITORS" and "AMERICANS NEVER SURRENDER") all found a ready market in antebellum and wartime America. In addition to such acid-etched mottos, some English Bowies featured blades profusely stamped with symbols including horsemen, hounds, deer, lions and liberty caps. Accompanying these were commonly stamped slogans, such as "I SURPASS ALL" and "TRY ME" - all reflective of an expansive and proud American character.


Some Sheffield-made Bowie knives without blade markings were otherwise adorned with distinctly American motifs, such as eagles, shields or star clusters on their pommel caps or crossguards. Of particular interest among collectors and folklorists today are pommel caps stamped with the mythical, "half-horse-half-alligator" motif - an allegorical characterization applied to rough-hewn Mississippi River boatmen, but quite emblematic of much of frontier America's propensity for brawling and bragging.


While The Bowie Knife: Icon of American Character will focus primarily on examples with blade inscriptions and other embellishments reflecting American attitudes and sentiments in the decades 1830-1870, it also will look at the history, art and legacy of the Bowie knife well into the twentieth century.


Scheduled to run from April 1st through November 20th, 2011, at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Center in Oklahoma City, the exhibit will draw on Museum collections, but, most particularly, on the significant and superlative specimens loaned by Bowie-knife authority and widely respected antiquarian and author E. Norman Flayderman. His recently published, richly illustrated book, The Bowie Knife - Unsheathing an American Legend, will be available for purchase during the exhibition.



Richard Rattenbury is Curator of History at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. His recent book,

Arena Legacy: The Heritage of American Rodeo (OU Press, 2010), should be referenced by High Noon folks interested in cowboy and rodeo material culture.


Dealer Spotlight
Photo of Casey Jordan

Casey Jordan

Casey Jordan Saddle & Leathers   


I guarantee everything I make:
Guarantee #1 - You'll never get saddles sores from any of my miniature saddles unless you ride them
Guarantee #2 - All of the woolie chaps I make are guaranteed not to fit

And there's the perfect insight into the infectious and perhaps a bit naughty personality of master leather carver and designer Casey Jordan. And indeed, there's a bit of his mother in his flip funny way. When Casey was just 13, he needed a new belt. His mom didn't have time to make one for him so, she tossed him a book and the tools and challenged, "make one yourself." And he did. It wasn't great but the seed was planted. And boy did that seed grow.

It took some time. Life, marriage and family interceded but in the mid-1990s, Casey resumed what was his true passion, creating the finest leatherwork in the form of saddles, bags, chaps and holsters.

One of Casey's SaddlesAnyone who knows Casey knows he loves creating his miniature saddles the most. "Maybe it's because I have a small shop or a small brain," he comments. "Which ever it is, my wife would agree with both." But, all kidding aside, Casey is a master at what he does. His carvings are laden in rich traditional floral designs but he is moving more and more to pictorial carvings. "The pictorial work has endless possibilities. Give me a picture and I can replicate it in leather."

Casey is a self-taught perfectionist. As an example, while his leatherwork is the best, his silver engraving is not up to his own expectations so he collaborates often with master silver designers and engravers, Silver King of Los Angeles. "Why would I want to ruin my beautiful saddle with my own silver engraving?" is his reasoning. "I leave that to the experts in that craft."

What motivates Casey to keep raising the bar, is by not only appreciating what others are doing, but constantly challenging himself to make his own better each time. Competitive? Maybe. But in reality, it's what drives all master artisans. They all watch each other, learn from each other and together, they keep reaching new heights in design and quality.

Casey is much more than a master leather carver and designer. He is also a champion for carvers and designers around the world. His goal is to bring their work to the forefront so they will be recognized for the work they do. He was instrumental (well, it was his idea) in the creation of the annual event, Art of the Cowboy Makers held in Loveland, CO each June. Every year, contemporary makers are invited to bring their best work to compete for silver trophy buckles, cash prizes and ribbons. The makers are judged by both their peers and the public. Following the event, their work is displayed at the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame and American Cowboy Museum in Colorado Springs. This year, Casey is very excited to have two saddle makers from the Czech Republic making the trip to compete.

Casey is inspired by the heritage and history of the American cowboy and prodded on by his wife LeEllen, two sons, Quaid and Kegan and now two grandsons, Cameron and Anthony. One must ask though regarding Guarantee #1.Will you make miniature saddles that don't give you saddle sores for your two precious grandsons?

It's this personality, tenacity and passion for what he does that continues to drive the dreams of contemporary masters working in the traditions of the great American west.

Contact Information:
Casey Jordan
14401 N. 34th Way
Phoenix, Arizona 85032
(602) 482-9758

Our Inner Cowgirl
Photo of Montana Dreamwear Gown

The Day the West Was Won
in New York   


Yes, it has finally happened. Western couture has finally turned the heads of fashion editors at the top of their game. Indeed, it was the fashion editors of Vogue, Elle, Travel + Leisure, Vanity Fair and many more, who were on the judging panel at Dressed to Kilt in New York in April. Selected to be on the runway for the first time in New York was Western fashion designer Celeste Sotola of Montana Dreamwear. And it was her stunning Western inspired creations that had New York on its feet. Yes, the West was won that evening as her work and designs won Best Country Chic Designer in the country.

Dressed to Kilt is an annual New York event hosted by a committee headed by no less than Sir Sean Connery. It's the second largest fashion event in the world surpassed only by Victoria's Secret. All the major fashionistas come out to see the most cutting edge designs from independent designers.

From all of us at High Noon, we want to congratulate Ms. Sotola. She's a champion of the Western lifestyle and culture and New York just loved it.




A Coin-Operated Horse for Kids

Preserving the Dreams of Young Urban Cowboys and Cowgirls

The coin-operated horses in front of the 'ole Five & Dime were where dreams came true for those young wannabe cowboys and cowgirls of yesteryear not lucky enough to have a horse of their own. Inspired by Hollywood Westerns, Post World War II America saw children across the country wanting to be cowboys.

Early manufacturers like Bally Manufacturing Company, Exhibit Supply Company, Paul W. Hawkins Manufacturing Company, and United Tool & Engineering Company began creating their respective versions of the horse. Paul Hawkins named his horse the Rodeo Pony. Bally borrowed the name of Gene Autry's steed and called their ride Champion. Roy Roger's four-legged mount was the inspiration for Exhibit's Trigger. United Tool & Engineering Co named their horse simply Sandy

Today, Denver-based Kiddie Rides USA is keeping these coin-operated horse rides out of the landfills. There still are coin-operated rides outside local markets, but today they are space ships, not the rides where kids could pretend to be riding the western range.

"The primary reason the horse rides were manufactured, of course, was to earn dimes and quarters in front of the local Five and Dimes," says Damon Carson of Kiddie Rides USA. KRUSA still sells a lot of horses as vending machines, but Carson has developed a much broader clientele.

"Our buyers of the horse rides are quite diverse - homeowners, museums, car dealerships, etc.," notes Carson. "We also sell them to a lot of grandparents who want a fun little ride for their grandkids, and to horse lovers for something fun for the barn. I'm always curious to who loves the horse rides more...the kids or the nostalgic adults!"

Whether buying a horse ride for a western store or for something for the grandkids to ride before they graduate to a real stallion, KRUSA is keeping the dream alive by saving and restoring these pieces of Western Americana history. So, if you want something truly unique for the special kid(s) in your life, something fun for your ranch or office, or you have a business where you'd like to earn some extra quarters, a coin-operated horse ride is definitely the ticket.


and Furthermore...

This month we present cowboy poetry by Russell Petter...

The Last Words That I Heard

The last words that I heard,
as we fell upon the bed was,
" I just want a cowboy that can treat me right,
and not just for one night."
I took care of her,
she took care of me,
we woke up together,
with a month of memories.
the last words that I heard,
as we fell upon the bed was,
"I just want a cowboy that can treat me right,
and not just for one night ."
She is a memory that never grows old,
she is everything to me,
the first thing on my mind in the morning,
the last thing on my mind at night,
She is the only thing that I need in my in Life.
The last words that I heard,
as we fell upon the bed was,
"I just want a cowboy that can treat me right,
and not just for one night."
Old habits like her are hard to break,
I got so used to her and her loving ways,
Love like her Love was real,
or so I thought,...til I was alone
and she was forever gone.
The last words that I heard,
as we fell upon the bed was,
"I just want a cowboy that can treat me right,
and not just for one night"
The last words that I heard,...
as she walked out that door,...
"I just want a cowboy that can treat me right,"
As the thunder roared and the lightning cracked,
The last words that I heard,...
as she walked out that door,...
"I just want a cowboy that can treat me right."

Russell Petter
The KeyWestKowboy@yahoo.com

Send us your stories...
  An Invitation to NBSSCA Members

Upcoming Events

NOW Until May 15, 2011  To Picture the Words: Illustrators of the American West  Oklahoma City, OK   
NOW Until August 7, 2011 
Red Black Related Through History  Indianapolis, IN                                        
May 24-29, 2011  Bishop Mule Days  Bishop, CA
June 3-5, 2011
  Red Earth Native American Cultural Festival  Oklahoma City, OK
June 3 - October 2, 2011  Dressed Just Right: An Evolution of Western Style from Function to Flamboyance  Cody, WY
June 10-September 5, 2011 
Prix de West Art Show - National Cowboy Museum  Oklahoma City, OK
June 24-26, 2011
  Brian Lebel's Old West Show & Auction  Denver, CO
June 28-July 4, 2011  Prescott Frontier Days & World's Oldest Rodeo  Prescott, AZ
July 8-17, 2011 
Calgary Stampede  Calgary, Alberta
July 15-17, 2011 
Grand Encampment Cowboy Gathering  Encampment, WY
July 21-24, 2011 
101st California Rodeo Salinas  Salinas, CA
July 23-31, 2011 
Durango Fiesta Days  Durango, NM
August 3-7, 2011 
Old Spanish Days  Santa Barbara, CA
August 5-7, 2011
  Great Southwest Antique Show  Albuquerque, NM
August 11-13, 2011  Antique Ethnographic Art Show  Santa Fe, NM
August 11-14, 2011  26th Annual Montana Cowboy Poetry Gathering  Lewistown, MT
August 12-21, 2011
  Objects of Art Antique Show  Santa Fe, NM
August 14-16, 2011  Antique Indian Art Show  Santa Fe, NM
August 19-20, 2011  Reno Cowboy & Music Gathering  Reno, NV
September 8-11, 2011 
23rd Annual National Cowboy Symposium & Chuck Wagon Cook-off  Lubbock, TX
September 11-October 9, 2011 
Quest for the West Art Sale & Show  Indianapolis, IN
September 20-23, 2011
  Bit Making: Form & Function Workshop (TCAA)  Oklahoma City, OK

September 20-24, 2011  Rendezvous Royal  Cody, WY 

September 29-October 19, 2011  19th Annual Will James Gathering  Elko, NV 

October 8-9, 2011  Golden California Antiques Show  Glendale, CA 

October 14-15, 2011  Traditional Cowboy Artists Assoc 13th Annual Exhibition, Sale, and Seminars  Oklahoma City, OK

October 14-15, 2011  46th Annual Cowboy Artists of America Sale & Exhibition  Oklahoma City, OK 

October 15-16, 2011  Austin Chocolate Festival  Austin, TX 

November 1-6, 2011  Annual Heber City's Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Buckaroo Fair  Heber City, UT

November 4-6, 2011  Tombstone Western Music Festival  Tombstone, AZ

December 2-4, 2011  Monterey Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival  Monterey, CA

January 28-29, 2012  22nd Annual High Noon Western Americana Antique Show & Auction  Mesa, AZ 

Send event submissions to SmokeSignals@highnoon.com 

Don't Fret About the Future - Invest in the Past!

High Noon Western Americana
PH 310.202.9010  |  FAX 310.202.9011
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Chief Publisher: High Noon Western Americana
Chief Editor: Linda Kohn Sherwood
Chief Art Director: Robin Ireland, Ireland Graphic Design
Chief Graphic Designer: Curtis Hill, Art Direction Services
Chief Writer: Jayne Skeff, JSLA Media Solutions