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February 2012 - Vol 4, Issue 2
In This Issue
Feature Story: Beads for the Sole, by James H Nottage
Featured Photo: Pictorial View of Western Americana....Featuring Myron Beck
Linda's Feed Bag: Hidden Kisses
Bits & Pieces: High Noon 2012 Dealer Update from "T"
High Noon 2012 Auction Results: World Record Broken in Arizona
Dealer Spotlight: Bob & Charla Nelson
Who's Who at High Noon: Jeff Voracek
A Remembrance: Edwin George Field
A Little Cowboy Poetry: Poetry by Bob Frost
Roaming Range Reporter: Western Cinema in the Golden Age (Article 4 of 5)
Upcoming Events: Don't miss these upcoming Western and Native American events
Feature Story
Photo of a blue beaded moccasinBeads for the Sole   


By James H Nottage    



It is amazing sometimes how misinformation gains and maintains a life of its own, no matter how carefully we try to debunk errors about art, artifacts, history, and culture. I am convinced that one reason for this is simply that people can be surprisingly lazy, no matter how passionate they are, about really trying to become their own authorities when it comes to the things they collect. A case in point is wonderful beaded Northern Plains moccasins that also have the bottom surfaces fully beaded in colorful designs compatible with the tops.

It was more than a few decades ago when during my childhood I was told that these were "burial moccasins." Over the years since, I have heard curators, collectors, and dealers use this reference and it often appears in collector publications and even in museum catalogs. One historian tells us that these were first observed in the 1870s on the bodies of Sioux found in burials after battles. As a result the myth began to grow. There is truth that such fully beaded moccasins were found in burials and that it was common to dress the deceased in the finest way possible. For a long time now, we have known that these were not identified by the cultures themselves as having been made for burial purposes. The cost of materials, the effort to create, and the status that came from such fine belongings was a matter more of stature and material wealth. Within a burial they were also a sign of respect.



PHOTO ABOVE: Late 19th century Lakota moccasin with fully beaded sole. 


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Featured Photography by Myron Beck

Did You Know?

1. Known by several names throughout the years including the "Mother Road," "Main Street of America," and the "Will Rogers Highway," Route 66 served travelers for some 50 years, before totally succumbing to the "new and improved" interstate system.

2. Getting his start as a stagecoach driver at the age of 19, John Warren Butterfield parlayed his shrewd business sense to own and operate American Express and the Overland Mail Company.

3. One of the best known of all the feuds in Texas, was the Lee-Peacock Feud (1867-1871) in northeast Texas following the Civil War. This was not simply a dispute between families, but a continuation of the Civil War, lasting four bloody years after the rest of the nation had laid down their arms.

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

Empty Saddle

Edwin George Field

Bit and Spurmaker

Social Media News

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Linda's Feed Bag
High Noon logo
Hidden Kisses   


Cook Time: 10 min
Yield: 3-1/2 to 4-1/2 dozen cookies


1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
1 (9-ounce) package chocolate candy kisses (recommended: Hershey's Kisses)
1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar


In a large bowl, cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla and almond extracts. Stir in the flour and blend well. Add the pecans and blend well. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the dough for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Unwrap the candy kisses. Press a scant tablespoon of dough around each kiss, covering it completely; shape into balls.

Place the cookies on ungreased cookie sheets and bake for 10 minutes. Cool slightly, then transfer to a rack to cool completely. Roll the cookies in confectioners' sugar.  

Make sure all takers KISS THE COOK before consuming.


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.

Bits & Pieces
Photo of TheresaAuction AdHigh Noon 2012
Dealer Update 
from "T" 

Howdy Dealers,

It was wonderful seeing all of you again. I hope you had a great show. Thank you so much for your participation and for all you did to make the show a big success.  Any feedback you'd be willing to share would be appreciated so feel free to contact me at the High Noon office.

Take care and I hope to see you down the trail,


High Noon 2012 Auction Results

Pancho Villa Saddle

High Noon Western Americana Weekend Sets World Record on Saddle, Realizes Nearly $2 Million on Just 300 Lots           

by Jayne Skeff


Mesa, Arizona - The High Noon Western Americana Weekend event was held January 28 and 29, 2012 in Mesa, Arizona at the Mesa Convention Center and adjacent Marriott Mesa Hotel. Produced by High Noon of Los Angeles, the two-day event began on Saturday morning when the doors to the High Noon Show opened - an event that showcases over 150 of thMesa Showe finest purveyors of Western Americana antiques, fine art, artifacts, cowboy, vaquero, American Indian, jewelry, clothing and much more. Record attendance was recorded for this 22nd annual event. For two days, shoppers and collectors packed the aisles of the convention center with many dealers reporting this was their best show ever.

While the show was extremely successful, it was the High Noon Auction, held on Saturday evening, which had eyes around the world watching. No one in attendance would be disappointed at the excitement and the dollars realized on the 300+ important lots of Western and Native Americana, fine art, artifacts, historic property and Hollywood memorabilia. The ballroom at the Marriott Mesa Hotel was standing room only as almost $2 million was realized on the lots offered. Bidding was highly competitive from the floor, phone and internet and it was an exciting evening to watch. (Note, all prices reflected here include buyers premium)


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Dealer Spotlight

L to R Cowgirls: Paulette Bishop, Amy Hoban, Theresa Verrier

Bob & Charla Nelson 

Manitou Galleries...and so much more         

by Jayne Skeff


As it goes in our world of Western Americana, so many of the couples who work together side-by-side in the business came together through their like passions for the genre. Well, not Bob and Charla. When asked, "How did you and Bob meet?" I fully expected her to say, "at such and such show..." But, oh no, her response was, "We met in a bar." Right then, a woman we can all relate to. "I was at a sports bar in Cheyenne watching a Rockies playoff game and there were no seats left except one at the table where Bob was sitting. I went up and asked him if I could sit there and he said, 'Yes'."  So it was Baseball, not Bohlin or Borein that brought them together. Thirteen years later, they are an unstoppable team with an infectious passion for what they do.

Charla talks about how Bob's passion for what he does is infectious and apparently so because her life before Bob was completely unrelated to this world, and what a talented woman she is. Music has always been her true passion and since the age of 10 she's been performing as a singer, pianist and organist. Her most memorable public appearances have been two concerts at Carnegie Hall (WOW!) and one tour in Italy. She also had a fairly important day job. As a CPA by profession, Charla held the position of Bank Accountant in the Treasurers Office for the State of Wyoming. "I handled and arranged short term investment portfolios for the state for ten years. It was a fabulous job," she recalls. Okay, so now we're getting the idea that Charla's the kind of woman who knows how to get things done.

Bob's passion has always been collecting and by the age of nine he had already acquired some pretty important stuff. Coming from humble beginnings and a very loving family who encouraged his interests, he went on to become a successful self-made man. "He's the visionary, he has incredible ideas and goals," says Charla.

Bob spent 26 years practicing law in Wyoming when the whole legal process began to change and he just wasn't thrilled about changing with it. So he began to look back on his collecting, started making trips to Santa Fe, buying and selling and soon had a gallery, an auction and was opening the Nelson Museum of the West in Cheyenne. That was 25 years ago when he held his first Montana auction, now known as March in Montana. Hard to believe this year's event will be the 25th anniversary. Bob is committed to preserving and educating about our rich Western American heritage. He truly is an ambassador for this mission.

Anyone who knows Bob knows his passion also includes big game hunting and he has hunted on every continent in the world. When Charla was asked, "What do you and Bob do to escape and have play time?" her response was, "We love to travel. It used to revolve around Bob's hunting but since he's hunted all over the world, we took our first river boat cruise for his birthday up the Danube and it was our best trip ever!"

While Bob and Charla may come from completely different backgrounds, they are both Wyoming born and raised and both love art and the beautiful West. "Most people don't know Bob has a music background too," comments Charla. He attended Bethany College in Kansas and was a key member of the choir that toured the country. "He has several albums that he produced from that time." Can we get him to sing for us some time?

While Bob may be the visionary, Charla is the infrastructure that brings those visions to fruition. Since they've been together, they've opened two Manitou Galleries and an auction in Santa Fe.

Bouncing between Santa Fe, their Cheyenne and Montana auctions and the Nelson Museum of the West, well, these two are high-energy smart and absolutely delightful individuals that fuel our world with infectious passion. But, in between all the craziness and busy schedules they have, their real root and fun revolves around their nine grandchildren - 5 boys and 4 girls, the apples of Charla and Bob's eyes.

When chatting with Bob and Charla at the High Noon show in January, Bob and I had arranged to have this interview. I told him it would be about 30 minutes - light and breezy. His response was, "I was an attorney for 26 years, I can't say anything in 30 minutes, plan on two hours." Braced with a cup of coffee, I called at the designated time and was greeted on the phone by his secretary who said he was delayed in Colorado and would not get back in time. Deadline looming, she gave me Charla's number who picked the phone right up. When I told her I'd love to interview her, as Bob was delayed, she said, "Fine but let's make it short." The woman who loves baseball, Bob and brevity - now she's a keeper!

On behalf of all of us at High Noon, we want to send our congratulations to Bob and Charla on the 25th Anniversary of March in Montana and hope it's a grand success as always.

Bob and Charla Nelson
Manitou Galleries
Cheyenne,WY and Santa Fe, NM

Who's Who at High Noon
Photo of Jim HislopJeff Voracek

"My passion for collecting has saved me from too many trips to the bar!" he says with a great laugh... 

by Jayne Skeff

"No, don't print that!" he laughs again. But, sorry Jeff, as I said, that has to go in - you are just too funny.

Jeff Voracek is one of those rare people who is, at the same time intense and cerebral, yet can laugh at himself in an instant. A laugh, by the way, that's infectious, matched with the grandest sense of humor.

He was born determined and intense, he recalls. By the age 5 in kindergarten, he knew he wanted to be a builder. By the age of 19, he was a general contractor restoring and renovating historic buildings in Sacramento, where he was born. It was that interest in history that has both fed his building career and fueled his passion for collecting. His curriculum vitae, if you will, of the buildings he has worked on, provides an immediate insight into how he has combined his passion for history with his passion for building: the California Governor's Mansion, the Legislative Bill Room for the state capitol, several buildings in Old Sacramento on Front Street - just a few of his accomplishments.

But his collecting habit started early as well. Growing up in Sacramento, an area steeped in Old West history, he had already amassed quite a collection of old tins, bottles and western artifacts by the age of 10. He was embraced by several of the old timers who could see that, even at that young age, he was serious about his interest. "They would give me things. Some I still have today, including a barbed-wire collection. I remember when the gentleman gave it to me he said, 'Hang on to this, it's going to be worth something,' and, indeed he was right."

The automatic assumption when one becomes so involved in a niche hobby at a young age is that parental influence was involved. "Not at all," replies Jeff. "As a matter of fact, my parents were not collectors at all, I guess I was just born to it."

Driven by an inner desire to learn and involve himself in Western Americana, Jeff has become an avid source and expert in American Indian blankets, particularly Navajo, Indian baskets with a specialty in Chumash and most recently jewelry. "My wife really loves the jewelry," Jeff comments. When Jeff does something, he doesn't do it half way - he dives right in. He bought the entire content of the Tee-Pee Store at the MGM Grand when it closed - over 50,000 pieces of American Indian jewelry. "I guess that kind of sealed the deal on me becoming an Indian trader," he says with a smile.

Before and after shots of Jeff's restored galleryWhat does one do with a collection as large as Jeff's? Well, in typical Voracek style, you find an old run-down building in the tiny historic Gold Country town of Penryn, CA. You take is from shambles to Shangri-la and open a stunning gallery - the likes of which are seen in the Gold Country. Open by appointment only, Red Mesa Gallery (see the before and after photos on the left) is filled with the finest American Indian textiles, California fine art, Plains material, pottery, furniture, and, oh yes, a most exquisite selection of jewelry.

Half way is not in his vocabulary in business nor leisure. During last summer's Santa Fe shows he decided that he and his friends should exercise and go hiking, but the shows closed near dark. The faint of heart would have hiked early morning but Jeff convinced them to get started after dinner. With headlights (and hopefully some wine) they hiked 'til midnight. "It was glorious - try it some time," he muses!

When you see Jeff at shows, at his side is Andrew - an engaging, equally intense young man, who Jeff is now mentoring, with an equal passion for collecting and a particular interest in guns. Oh, yes, and then there's Erik Anderson with whom Jeff always shares a booth at shows. Jeff Voracek and Spirits of the Plains Gallery make the perfect team for collectors and shoppers seeking historic Native American textiles, beadwork, pottery and much, much more.

One last comment from Jeff: "Make sure you note that my Red Mesa Gallery in Penryn is just outside Auburn (CA) because everyone knows where Auburn is but no one knows where Penryn is." Hint - it's along beautiful and historic Highway 49 - the perfect place for Jeff's Gallery.

Jeff Voracek
Red Mesa Gallery
2253 Penryn Road, Suite B
Penryn, CA 95663
(916) 813-5333
Open by appointment only

A Remembrance...
Photo of Jim HislopEdwin George Field (1920-2011)

by Joseph Sherwood 

Renowned bit and spurmaker, Edwin George Field of Santa Barbara, California, passed away peacefully at 91 years of age on December 19, 2011.

Many of us remember him as a fixture at the Santa Ynez Museum & Carriage Historical Society show, outside in the sunny courtyard, in front of his rack of bits and spurs, happy to be among those of us who honored him and his skills. A fifth-generation silversmith, he shared his craftsmanship with his son, Gary, who carries on the legendary Field family tradition. Ed also apprenticed his granddaughter, Jessica Menefee, and nephew, Mark Shields.

Ed was young when he started in his grandfather's, John Chester Field's (1862-1954) shop. He became an adept silversmith under his grandfather's instruction and participated in the Santa Barbara Fiesta days where the family showed their wares and his Great-Grandfather's saddle is in the Santa Barbara Carriage Museum. Many people visited Ed's shop in Paradise Canyon where he was sure to show them his newest creation. He was loved by many, befriended by most, and known internationally as an expert silversmith.

Ed worked at many ranches in the tri-counties in his youth and knew the country well. He and his brother Walt worked at the Polo Fields exercising the horses until he started with the US Forest Service. He rode his favorite horse, Don Juan, throughout the back country and later Jack joined him. Ed fought in World War II in the Army in the 97th AAA (Antiaircraft Artillery). He shared many stories of when he and his brothers, along with Armand and Toppy caroused the mountainsides (they called it running cattle) and hung out at the Blood Spit Saloon in Los Olivos. Ed patiently awaited to ride again with Armand Schmitter and Toppy Reece.

Ed leaves his loving wife, Jessie (Wilson), and their four children: Kathy Davis (Jim), Mike Field, Gary Field (Patti), and Nette Shumaker (Jon), along with eight grandchildren, Ed Field, Lena Williams, Josh Field, Robin Pacheco, Jim Davis, Travis Davis, Jessica Menefee, and Lea Montes; also leaving his nine great- grandchildren, Melissa, Christina, Beth, Jaylon, Jianna, Julian, Kylan, Jeremy, and Blake. Ed reluctantly left his favorite dog, Blue - don't worry he will be fed and kept warm.

A Little Cowboy Poetry
This month, we present cowboy poetry by Bob Frost...    

The Song Will Never Be The Same    

Celebrating the McDowell Sonoran Preserve in Scottsdale, AZ
and written with respect to Paul McCartny and the Beatles.

The morning air drifts by in near silence
Sun shafts begin to light the darkened sky.
My morning walk is a special quiet time
I can ease into a private personal space.
Almost dreaming, I hear sounds of the past.
Footsteps of a Hohokam family from the valley floor
Here searching for saguaro fruit and seeds
They left a message almost like a song "Let it be".

Walking further up the ancient trail, I see life abundant
From the valley these mountains appear lifeless and brown,
Existing as a pale backdrop for colorful imports.
But, here up close, it's all shades of life.
Home to the bobcat, coyote and mountain lion.
Home to the cactus wren, darkling beetle and chuckwalla.
Home to the field mouse, fox and javalina
Together they sing to me, "Let it be".

I feel like every plant here is in its proper place.
Each rock and cliff and wash speaks its character.
Ancient plates moved to push the ground skyward
Wind and rain, heat and cold were the design team
Time has worn the granite smooth and round.
Some tumbled down, some remain in place.
Alluvial fans like fingers reach down and embrace.
Slightly trail scarred, the McDowell's reiterate, "Let it be".

Walking back down the trail, rising heat distorts the valley scene.
My view is long and wide upon the sprawling busy city
The mountain song remains in my mind, "Let it be", "Let it be".
Bob Frost
Scottsdale Poet Laureate


Roaming Range Reporter
Photo of Gary Brown on Horsebak
Article 4 in a Series of 5:

Top 10 Memorial Silent Westerns Worthy of Watching 


By Gary Eugene Brown

The following list of 5 recommended photoplays (the next 5 come in March) was selected first based upon the overall quality of the production and the unique contribution made to early western cinema. Also, recommended films are based upon their availability to the general public, since many great and not so great western films of this era were inadvertently destroyed due to deterioration of the nitrate film, loss in an occasional studio fire, or hoarding in a private collections. The following movies are listed in rank order as to my humble opinion of the most highly recommended films. They were selected after having viewed many silent westerns, including the often-referenced western films by historians, such as The Covered Wagon, The Squaw Man, The Pony Express, Straight Shooting, and The Virginian.

  >>READ MORE>>  


Next month is the final chapter of our popular Gary Brown Western Film articles. He provides 5 more names of the memorable silent films he loves.

2010, Gary Eugene Brown; all rights reserved. A version of this article appeared in September, 2010 in Movieguide magazine.


A popular man with many interests, Gary Brown is known by many as the founder of the Monterey Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival.

He's also an expert on the subject of early Western cinema and a collector of cinema art and memorabilia. He has been invited to speak on the subject and has written about it, including recent articles in Movieguide (2010) and American Cowboy magazine (2011).

We're pleased to present to you a series of his articles "Western Cinema in the Golden Age," and "Top 10 Memorable Silent Westerns Worthy of Watching," versions of the Movieguide magazine articles, first published on his website: http://www.cowboypoetry.com/

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

Upcoming Events

NOW Until February 19, 2012  San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo  San Antonio, TX
NOW Until February 19, 2012 
21st Annual Trappings of the American West  Prescott, AZ
NOW Until February 29, 2012 
Trappings of the American West  Flagstaff, AZ
NOW Until March 18, 2012 
Masters of the American West Fine Art Exhibition  Los Angeles, CA
NOW Until March 25, 2012 
The Cowgirl Who Became a Justice: Sandra Day O'Connor  Fort Worth, TX
NOW Until March 30, 2012 
Envisioning the West  Oklahoma City, OK

NOW Until April 8, 2012  Pueblo to Pueblo: The Legacy of Southwest Indian Pottery  Oklahoma City, OK   

NOW Until September 2, 2012  Bolo Tie Exhibit at the Heard Museum  Phoenix, AZ

NOW Thru November 2012  Many Mexicos: Vista de la Frontera  Tucson, AZ  

February 17-19, 2012  Spirit of the West Cowboy Gathering  Ellensburg, WA

February 21, 2012  Mardi Gras  New Orleans, LA 

February 23-26, 2012  12th Annual Saddle Up  Pigeon Forge, TN

March 10-11, 2012  Antiques, Objects & Art L.A.  Glendale, CA 

March 10 - May 27, 2012  Cowgirls with a Camera  Wickenburg, AZ 

April 20-22, 2012  2012 Cowboy Culture Celebration  Dublin, TX 

April 26-28, 2012  Gathering of the Nations Powwow  Albuquerque, NM 

May 12 - July 1, 2012  Howard Terpning: Tribute to Plains People Exhibit  Los Angeles, CA 

May 19, 2012  An Evening with the Cowboys  Santa Barbara, CA

May 28-29, 2012   21st Annual Chuck Wagon Gathering & Cowboy Festival  Oklahoma City, OK 

June 16-17, 2012  Plains Indian Museum Powwow  Cody, WY 

June 22-24, 2012  Brian Lebel's Old West Show & Auction  Denver, CO

July 19-22, 2012  California Rodeo Salinas  Salinas, CA

August 16-18, 2012  15th Annual National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo  Kanab, UT    

September 19-22, 2012  Rendezvous Royal  Cody WY  


Send event submissions to SmokeSignals@highnoon.com 



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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