Spurs are one of the most distinctive tools used by horsemen and women throughout history. In the medieval times, spurs were a mark of rank and spawned the expression "to earn your spurs". Today spurs are a standard piece of cowboy equipment and, as with most cowboy equipment, the style varies widely depending upon the region and the wearer. In today's American west, spur styles continue to change yet spurs are almost always found with rowels (the round piece that adds to the wonderful jingle when worn). The spur is not something used to hurt or force the horse into performing but when used properly, the spur acts as an extension of the rider's heel to give the horse a clearer signal.
There are many extraordinary spur makers today and I would like to feature a relative new comer in the spur business, Glen Bianchi. Glen spent thirty five years training to be a spur maker; actually he was a successful machinist who always had a desire to make spurs. After moving to southeast Oklahoma from a life in Dallas, Texas, Glen met an artist by the name of Walt Rambo, who is considered one of today's great contemporary spur makers. Glen was actually purchasing an anvil from Walt when he mentioned his interest in making spurs. Walt showed Glen what he made and took the time to teach Glen the craft. Glen took to the art quickly because of his training in metal fabrication and welding. Glen also knows first hand how important a good spur can be as he owns four horses, a Quarter horse, Arabian, Tennessee Walker and a Thoroughbred and he also runs registered Hereford's on his ranch in Bochito Oklahoma.
Glen is a full time bit and spur maker and he works out of a fully equipped machine shop right on his ranch. Glen makes about 50 pair of spurs a year and figures about half of them go to working cowboys and the other half are displayed in collections. Glen also spends a fair amount of time restoring old spurs made by some of the more famous makes like Kelly Brothers or Crockett. Glen likes to work with his customer to design a unique spur for the cowboy and his riding technique. In my case, I used the SASS badge on the outside heel band and my initials on the inside. The rowels are shaped like a shamrock so they would be mild (with jingle bobs of course) and the shaft is a little longer and upturned because my legs are so long. Glen's training in metallurgy gave him a solid background to be able to inlay anything from sterling silver to abalone with the skill of a jeweler.
Glen loves to make spurs; "It was what I was meant to do" he says and based on the work I have seen, he certainly has earned his spurs! Glen is happy to create either a working tool, a work of art or perhaps the melding of the two. He can be reached at:
2926 Meadows Road
Bokchito, OK 74726