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Still in the saddle: Sand Springs cowboys continue the family business for nearly 80 years

SAND SPRINGS, Okla.-- Horns, cantle backs, and seats.

The saddle family tree starts with a base. Add skirting, latigo, and harness.

Bret Mock and his brother Greg learned to toll leather from their dad 'Buzz' Mock, who learned from his dad 'Ab', who learned from his Uncle Claude, who was always very careful to whom he showed his tricks.

"'Course Claude would always quit because he was afraid somebody would learn something standing next to him," recalls Bret.

Go back to 1941 and the old Tulsa Stockyards in Sand Springs and you'll see the saddle and harness shop that great-uncle Claude started with his brother Archie.

"The original building was about five miles east of here," Bret says.

Spring nearly 80 years ahead and that same family business is still going, still making saddles, and, these days, selling all kinds of cowboy gear, hats, ropes, belts, and boots.

"Here's one we made. Of course, they're all custom done," Bret points out.

"Yeah, I know all the tricks of the trade," he continues. "After more than 70 years, we've got a lot of them figured out, but we're never too old to learn more."

Uncle Claude didn't like making boots, so he stopped early on. But all the Mocks really liked working cattle and rodeoing.

They forged relationships with big names in the rodeo business and backed them up with a firm handshake.

"The cowboy tradition has been pretty deep in us," says Mock. "You just do what you like to do."

Bret's two sons will still pitch in from time to time if they're not out rodeoing.

But Dad makes a good argument for continuing the family business.

Cowboying is hard work, he says, especially in the winter.

"I'd either be riding a horse or working in here," he chuckles. "I like it better in here because it's climate controlled."

The Mock Brothers make anywhere from 15 to 20 saddles per year now.

The wait to take delivery is about one year.

For more information, go to http://www.mockbros.com

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