After years of honing his metallurgical skills in the aerospace and sailing parts industries in Southern California, Tom Balding chose the quieter life in Sheridan. He wanted his work to reflect a passion for horses, and his new course was revealed to him when a neighbor asked him to repair a broken bit.
Now, nearly 30 years later, Tom ranks among the most revered and imitated bit-and-spur makers in the country. He’s known industry-wide for design innovation, precision and flawless finish work. His background and relationships with the nation’s best horsemen result in products of superlative function and striking appearance.
Tom fully enjoys his home and likes to backpack and explore the mountains, plus spend time with his three mature children Christal, Eva Marie and Chester.
“The worth of a piece should be reckoned by the skill expended upon its design and manufacture rather than by the oppulence of its materials.” - Carl Faberb, 1870.
A former ranch cowboy, Justin enjoys working with his hands. He is instrumental in creating bits, overseeing the process from start-to-finish. He’s also a skilled engraver, adding his artistic touch to bits and spurs.
“Engraving is a real classic part of the craft,” said Justin. “For those who appreciate craftsmanship, hand engraving is something they really cherish.”
Justin and his wife, Kathleen, have one son, Jake. Outside of work, he enjoys cycling, backpacking and fly fishing.
Often the first point of contact for new customers, Kelly manages the business office. She wears many hats - answering phones, responding to emails, taking orders, shipping, helping with customer service, and managing the books.
“This place couldn’t survive without Kelly,” said Jim Davidson.
A native of tiny Lodge Grass, Mont., Kelly grew up on a cattle ranch and remains a cowgirl at heart. She likes to rope and ride and spend time with her tight-knit family.
Sam specializes in spur making, from assembling the basic parts to final finish. He learned machining and welding at Sheridan Community College and on the job during nearly two decades with Tom Balding.
A Sheridan-native, Sam credits his dad and granddad for his career direction.
“They were home mechanics, so building things just came naturally to me,” he said. In his off-time, he enjoys outdoor pursuits and playing bluegrass guitar and mandolin.
Originally from Claremont, Wyoming, Ryan has always been attracted to metal work. He learned the basics in high school, then earned an associates degree in welding at Sheridan College.
He creates many of the “batch” parts, the raw elements of our spurs and bits. Not surprisingly, he spends his free time creating furniture and art work out of scrap and salvage metal. He also enjoys cycling.
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