High Noon logo
November 2012 - Vol 4, Issue 11
In This Issue
Feature Story: Hitched Horsehair....A Mystery
Featured Photo: Pictorial View of Western Americana....Featuring Nadine Levin
Linda's Feed Bag: Thanksgiving Leftover Ideas
Bits & Pieces: 2013 Dealer Update from "T"
Our Inner Cowgirl: Andrea Esty - A E Tribal Antiques
Two Remembrances: Jimmy Vitanza
Cowboy Poetry: A Little Cowboy Poetry from Russell Petter, The Keywest Cowboy
Expressions: Reel Cowboys of Western Cinema, by Gary Eugene Brown
Upcoming Events: Don't miss these upcoming Western and Native American events

Feature Story
Photo of Hitched Horsehair
Hitched Horsehair
A Mystery  
By Shoni & Ron Maulding

Hitched horsehair is a mystery. The pieces we see today are generally regarded as being made in western America territorial or state prisons, i.e. Deer Lodge (Montana), Walla Walla (Washington), Rawlins (Wyoming), Yuma (Arizona). And that assumption is somewhat correct. Except, what if the inmate was discharged or paroled, and hitched outside of prison walls? Or taught his family to hitch horsehair? Or what if the inmate reoffended and was incarcerated in other prisons? As for the maker, most times the paperwork trail dead ends before it even gets started due to lack of records. As restorationists, conservationists and hitchers, we are involved in both the old and contemporary world of hitching and each piece has its story.
Maybe it smells of cigarette smoke, or has holes where mice have chomped on it. Could be when it was tossed in an old shed, it hit a sharp ax. These observations are nothing compared to the questions of how or where it was made. Many examples were made in our prison system around the turn of the last century. What tools did the inmate have? Generally the only necessary things to hitch are the horse tail hair, string to hitch the knots over, and a stabilizer to create the shape such as a dowel or rope. Add in scissors, a blunt tip needle, and leather pieces. The knowledge of how to hitch could impede many -- who to learn from? How to get paid without using currency? (resulting in a large barter system within prison walls) How to obtain sharp tools when hobby permits, determined by security levels, could impede the inmates' ability to use them? Or perhaps a hobby was not permitted. How to use a torch for metalwork? Montana State Prison is a fine example of all these questions needing answers.
So we conserve those pieces that can be stabilized and restore those pieces that can be saved. It's up to people like Ron and me to literally and figuratively unravel how an old piece was created in order to restore it. Or chose not to restore if we feel it degrades the historical value or jeopardizes the piece. Or we can further this art tradition, outside the prison system, and create new pieces. Expectations for our large contemporary projects are that they be functional, have a theme, have a story, and be one-of-a-kind. The idea for these pieces may come to us two to four years before even beginning the physical work. Research and pencil to paper comes first.
Ron's metal working takes the pieces and the art to realms that hitching has not seen before. An example is our First Ever Quirt, using mixed media: hitched horsehair, hand processed and tempered rawhide, hand engraved sterling silver, and a turquoise stone. The art lives on today! We are thrilled that people of all ages are learning how to hitch. Our workshop students vary and include an avocado farmer, commercial fisherman, opera singer, TV camerawoman, and an oil company welding inspector. 4-H kids to 80 something year olds in 18 countries have learned to hitch from our books. To us, the more people that hitch, the better. The spread of art and knowledge are essential. Jack Pompella, art teacher in the Toutle Lake High School in Washington State, is brave enough to have four years of teaching hitched horsehair under his belt. His students like it and hate it for the same reasons: complicated, detailed, challenging.
Less mysterious is that without thought, a person's hand reaches out to touch hitched horsehair and triggers the mind to grasp the amazing art created from the simplicity of horse tail hair.
Shoni and Ron Maulding

Featured Photography by Nadine Levin

A little cowboy checking his spurs

The photo this month is by Nadine Levin - Checkin' His Spurs

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 November.



Did You Know?

1. Calumet is the name given by the French to the peace pipe used by the indigenous people of North America for smoking tobacco; it consisted of a long, feathered stem, with or without a pipe bowl.

2. Isom Dart, one of the few black gunslingers of the Old West was killed near Brown's Hole by the feared stock detective and bounty hunter Tom Horn.

3. Geegaw is a showy or gaudy ornament, especially on clothing

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

Empty Saddle
Empty Saddle Graphic

Walter "Budd" Banner
1935 - 2012

B.E. Eichhorn
Bit & Spur Maker

Jimmy Vitanza
1935 - 2012

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Linda's Feed Bag
   High Noon logo
Thanksgiving Leftover Ideas!!!!

This year we suggest Turkey Meatloaf. Eat as traditional meatloaf or slice for sandwiches.
Our own Audrey Roberts tested this recipe and gave it a thumbs up!


1 - 9 x 5 inch loaf pan Delicious Turkey Meatloaf served with carrots
2-1/2 pounds ground turkey (or, for chunkier meatloaf, finely chop the leftover turkey yourself)
1 small chopped onion
1/2 tsp chopped rosemary or sage (optional)
1 tsp hot pepper flakes or sauce
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1-1/2 cups chicken-flavor stuffing mix (Mrs Cubbison's is great!)
2 eggs
1/3 cup milk
1/4 tsp paprika for mix and 1/4 tsp for top garnish

* Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C).
* Mix together turkey and all other ingredients (1/4 tsp paprika) in a large bowl. Mixture will be lumpy so do not over mix (makes it too dense). Spread mixture in 9x5 inch loaf pan and sprinkle with other 1/4 tsp paprika.
* Bake for 45 minutes until temperature reads 165 degrees F in center of loaf.

Serve with leftover cranberry sauce (if there is any left - there would not be at our house unless I planned ahead and made extra).

Or slice cold and make sandwiches along with a big dollop of cranberry sauce.


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

Delicious Pumpkin Mousse Parfaits
High Noon 2013
Dealer Update
from "T"

Dear High Noon Dealers,

Thank you to everyone who got their 2013 contract in on time. Confirmation packets will be mailed in early January.

All of us at High Noon wish you a very happy Thanksgiving!

T & the gang

Consignments Being Accepted
Consignments being accepted for Jan 2013 Auction  

Our Inner Cowgirl

Photo of Andrea Esty Andrea Esty
A E Tribal Antiques

By Jayne Skeff 

One of the fun things about creating these stories for Smoke Signals is we get to take a glimpse into that person "inside the booth" at the High Noon Shows. And this time, the glimpse really revealed a most unexpected person - world traveler, world-class photographer and scuba diver who has dipped her toe into some very dangerous and exhilarating waters.... more on that later.

What we do know about Andrea Esty is that she exclusively collects and sells Native American antiques and art - and she does it very well. While she admits she hasn't been selling and trading for too many years, her collecting and passion goes back to her early childhood growing up in northern Minnesota. "We lived near a very large Chippewa reservation and Mom would take me to pow wows and other events and I came to love everything about Native Americans very early on." At about the age of 10, Andrea and her family moved to Colorado where her love and knowledge of Native Americans expanded to the western tribes. "For me, my favorite is the Northwestern Indian material. Visually, I find their design elements stunning but I also am very partial to the works of the Northeastern tribes." In fact, Andrea's collection extends well beyond the Americas, extending to works from indigenous peoples from around the world, just a few fruits from her global travels. "My collection became so large that I had to begin selling it. And, of course, I vowed not to buy anymore but sometimes I still can't help myself," she says with her infectious laugh.

"I began seriously amassing my collection in the 1970s and now, I'm selling it to pursue my real dream of scuba diving and videography." And the real Andrea story begins to unfold. As usual, the question is posed, "Did you have a another life outside collecting?" "Well yes, I did," she replies. "I was a race car photographer - that paid the bills for my collecting habits." Race car photographer indeed! Her commercial photography has been featured in the likes of Motor Trend, Road & Track, People Magazine and National Geographic to name just a few. She's a world class photographer with a bit of an A-list clientele. Eeking this info out of her was a bit like prying up old wood but eventually she came clean with some great stories. "Well, I was the official photographer for the Pike's Peak Hill Climb for a number of years and was the personal photographer for some off-road, stadium and NASCAR drivers." "Oh really? Like who," I naively asked. "Oh, let me think...Parnelli Jones, Al Unser, Jr., Al Unser, Sr., Ivan Stewart, Darrell Waltrip..." NO KIDDING! Now she was off and running with great stories of her life with the biggest and best of the racers. "I remember once I was doing a job for Chevrolet and they sent me to Al Unser Jr's house in Albuquerque. It was Halloween and he, his entire family, and staff were throwing a huge party on the front lawn - complete with tents - it was amazing. When I got there, I just jumped in and started to help decorate and then the party started and then live entertainment showed up. It was the Guess Who! I'll never forget that - it was so much fun. Al didn't tell me the Guess Who was coming to play at his Halloween party, he wanted me to be surprised and boy I was."

Throughout the interview, Andrea was fighting the flu so, in deference to her ailing condition, I moved on but really wanted to hear more of these stories!

As the publishing business began to change in the 1990s with its move to digital, Andrea moved on as well. "I just didn't want to work in the digital world. I love the print aspect, the magazines, the feel. Now I have gotten into videography and really love that."

Andrea explores submerged Japanese Zero With no good way to segue to her scuba diving, suffice it to say she's been diving for years and is considered a most advanced level. She has been diving in many very remote areas of the world and has encountered more than one exceptional experience including cage diving with the great white sharks. "Once I was diving in a remote part of Indonesia. It was night and the moon was full. I went down for a dive ahead of the others on the trip and was about 60 feet down. The water was so clear and the moon so bright I could see to the surface of the water where I noticed several canoes had approached the boat. Obviously indigenous peoples, I didn't think much of it until a spear flew past me at lightning speed through the water launched by one of the canoes. I was absolutely terrified and knew, the only way out of this situation was to resurface and get back into the boat." She did manage to safely get back on board and has never really resolved why the spear was thrown, other than to say, it almost killed her. Did this event stop her from doing some collecting in Papua New Guinea? Oh, heck no, nothing much stops Andrea...

And there you have it. Her collection is rich and diverse and, as she puts it, her ticket to her next life of full-time diving and videography. A look at her website immediately reveals her quality and taste for what she collects and sells.

Let's all look forward to January where we can pump her for more fabulous stories of her adventures with the race car set, the deep water set, and who knows what else she didn't tell...

Andrea Esty
A E Tribal Antiques

On one of her many dives, Andrea Esty explores the cockpit of the Betty Bomber at Japanese zero.


Jimmy Vitanza

Two remembrances of Jimmy Vitanza:


My friend Jimmy


Jimmy and I first met in Ventura in 1975 when he and Marlene with their two children had just moved to Southern California. Dealing in Oriental rugs initially brought us together and we opened a small store in Santa Barbara, calling it Peregrine Gallery. Jimmy and I traveled thousands and thousands and thousands of miles together going to flea markets, antique shows, and anywhere else we thought we could find or make a deal. We bought, sold and traded for nearly 40 years and never did he not hold up his end of a deal. Every time I met him for lunch or talked to him on the phone, the last thing he always said was, "We love you guys." We love you back, Jimmy. You are the best and the world is not the same. R I P my good friend.

-- Danny Verrier   



The stories I could tell about my friend Jimmie Vitanza would fill volumes. We traveled, ate, traded, bought and sold, wagered, and loved life together for 40 years. We had many of the same friends. We talked almost every day. We shared a love for Art of all kinds. We talked football every Sunday. He was always caring and interested in the welfare of my family. A better friend and human being did not exist in the history of this planet. I will miss him like I would miss my right arm.                    

Jimmie made all his friends feel like they were his best friend. He was just that kind of person. His list of friends would read like a phone book. He had more friends than Will Rogers. However, his wife Marlene was without question his best friend. Their story is one of long lasting love and commitment. His children Lance and Leslie were his pride and joy. They gave him grandchildren that he treasured. His life was full and I know he had no regrets. He never complained and always looked on the bright side of life.                                                                                           
I am writing this to let those who knew him that it is time to treat others kinder. Those who didn't know him, please reflect on those who have great meaning in your life. We are only here for a short time. Do not take life for granted.  Repair a lost relationship, hug you children, spend time with your spouse, and let bygones be bygones. I will use Jimmies passing to try and be a better person. If this message makes someone call an old friend, or encourages a parent to spend time with their child, or has some effect on a relationship, then our friend will be smiling. His wife and children will know that his friends thought he was a special man. Words cannot tell the story of Jimmie Vitanza, unless they are shared by his friends.

-- One of His Pals

Cowboy Poetry

This month, a little Cowboy Poetry from Russell Petter, The Keywest Cowboy.... 

Thirty Years Ago

Thirty Years Ago,
At the the Cash Grocery store,
The young man behind the counter said,
"I know You!,...we met back in '42!"
The old Grandpa replied,
"I know You and your Grandpa too!"

"What would you like today?"
the old Grandpa said,
"Make it simple, just like our Grandpa's did,
Give me a cold Big Red, a moon pie,
some red Rhine cheese, a sleeve of saltines,
a link of summer sausage,
and a six pack of Schlitz."

The man sacked it up,
as Grandpa pulled out six bits.
"This your son?"
"Yes Sir,...We're about to go fishing.
By the way, you can keep the change,"
and we all laughed,
as we walked to the old pick up truck.

Thirty years later,
at the Cash Grocery store,
I saw the young man behind the counter,
I said, "I know You,...we met back in '72!"
He said, "I know You,...and your Grandpa too!"
"What would you like today?"
I said, "Make it simple,...
just like our Grandpa's did,
give me a cold Big Red, and a moon pie,
some red Rhine cheese, a sleeve of saltines,
a link of summer sausage,
and a six pack of Schlitz."

The man sacked it up,
as I pulled out six dollars,
"That your son there?"
"Yes Sir,...we're about to go fishing!"
By the way, you can keep the change."
And we all laughed,
as we walked to the old pick up truck.

Today, I drove by the old store,
Thinking how history repeats itself
every thirty years or so,
as my son and I walk in the door,
The young man behind the counter said,
"I know you, and your Grandpa too!"
And we all began to laugh.
And we all began to laugh,
just like it was thirty years ago.

RP 254.716.1656

Photo of Gary Brown on Horsebak
Reel Cowboys of Western Cinema
A Century of Silver Screen Heroes on Horseback
No. 8 in the series

By Gary Eugene Brown

There were numerous cowboy actors during the 20th Century who were idolized by their adoring fans, who in their opinion could do no wrong. However, a few in real life, maintained a different persona than that projected on the screen. However, this months' featured cowboy hero was without malice, a person of integrity and beloved by those in the entertainment industry, as well as the general public. He lived his life without scandal and was most concerned about the plight of children. He also was a patriot, having served his country in battle, and then stepped up again to do his duty by promoting US War Bonds when he was a household name. However, he had to change his name when he became a leading man, as his Aryan surname may offend some persons due to the Great War having recently ended. Charles Frederick Gebhart went on to become the most popular cinema star in Hollywood in the mid-30s. His fan mail exceeded that of Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy and Humphrey Bogart. Local theater marquis' throughout the nation read: Now Playing:

Photo of Art Acord BUCK JONES

Birth records were lacking in Vincennes, Indiana on December 12, 1891, however most agree that was the date Charles Gebhart was born. Charles spent his formative years in Indiana. As a boy, he would hang around the local stables which led to his love and appreciation of horses. His parents separated when he was only 10. He dropped out of school after the 8th grade and was soon on his own. At age 15, Charles cajoled his mother to not reveal his true age so he could enlist in the Army. Charles entered the US Army on January 8, 1907. He joined Troop G, 6th US Calvary and was sent to Nogales, Arizona for basic training.

Patrolling the border was not an easy assignment and more than once a bullet was fired in his direction from a smuggler or cattle rustler. Later, his unit was shipped off to the Philippines (October 1907). The Mindanao region was overrun by Moro's (Muslim extremists) who resented US control. While on patrol, a bullet shattered the bone in his left leg. The Army discharged him as he was not physically fit. Healthy again, he re-enlisted in the Calvary in 1910 and was sent back to his former unit, where he attained the rank of Sergeant. He mustered out of the Army in 1913 in Texas City, Texas. Not sure what he was going to do next, Charles saw an ad that the Miller Brothers 101 Ranch Wild West Show was going to Galveston. 

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

Upcoming Events

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

NOW Thru November 30, 2012  Birds and Beasts in Beads: 150 Years of Iroquois Beadwork  Howes Cave, NY
NOW Thru January 6, 2013 
California's Designing Women (Autry National Center)  Los Angeles, CA
November 7-17, 2012 
American Paint Horse Association World Championship Show  Fort Worth, TX 

November 23-24, 2012  Grand Canyon Finals Pro Rodeo Association  Laughlin, NV 

November 23 - January 6, 2013  Western Caricature Woodcarving by Lynn Doughty  Bartlesville, OK 

November 25, 2012  Hollywood Christmas Parade  Hollywood, CA 

November 30 - December 2, 2012  Monterey Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival  Monterey, CA

December 6-15, 2012  National Rodeo Finals  Las Vegas, NV 

December 6-16, 2012  Country Christmas  Las Vegas, NV

December 7-9, 2012  24th Annual Cowboy Christmas Poetry Gathering  Wickenburg, AZ 

January 26-27, 2013  High Noon Western Americana Antique Show & Auction  Mesa, AZ

February 2, 2013  The Story of Joe De Yong - Presentation by Bill Reynolds  Santa Barbara, CA

February 8-10, 2013  21st Annual Cochise Cowboy Poetry and Music Gathering  Sierra Vista, AZ

February 21-24, 2013  13th Annual Saddle Up  Pigeon Forge, TN   


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
Newsletter Submissions: smokesignals@highnoon.com
Information: info@highnoon.com  |  www.highnoon.com

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Mission Statement

Smoke Signals
blows your way from High Noon Western Americana of Los Angeles, CA, producers of
the High Noon Antique Show & Auction held each January in Mesa (Phoenix), Arizona since 1991.

Our magazine was founded in 2010 from our desire to share thoughts and facts with and from our High Noon family. We write about what we know (cowboy and Indian artifacts), highlight dealers and collectors, their thoughts and memories. We also love to feed our readers with great recipes. We offer free western music, a look at factoids intrinsic to our interests, give you insight into the newest books and tell you what is going on across the United States.

And hopefully we educate along the way.

Linda Kohn Sherwood, Editor

Send us a Smoke Signal 

Smoke Signals is for and about all of the wonderful people in our High Noon family. If you have news you want to share, hot tips on what's going on in the Western Americana world or just a suggestion of something you'd like to see us cover, send us an email at smokesignals@highnoon.com


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