When I was born in 1982 my grandfather traded the doctor a saddle for my hospital bill. You could say I was meant to be where I’m at now however, it took a while to get here...
To add some context, my grandfather grew up on a farm in Denton Texas. His love for all things cowboy ran deep which sparked an interest in leather. Weldon started his journey with leather in high school, there he learned the basics of the craft. He began to make small goods such a purses, belts, and wallets then quickly graduated into saddles. Weldon opened his own saddle/retail shop in 1957 in Denton, Texas. It stayed in operation for 60 years.
Growing up inside a saddle shop was pretty fun. I was able to learn leather craft at a very early age. By the time I was a teenager with all the tools at my disposal, I had the knowledge of a novice leather craftsman. However, after deciding not to follow in my father’s foot steps of being a calf roper, I was gifted a dirt bike. That dirt bike took me down a path of creativity that I otherwise wouldn’t have gone down. Instead of clearing my mind while riding a horse, I was doing it on a motorcycle.
I started to get interested in photography, design, and film work during this stage of my life. It was a good way to express my creativity of riding. These creative skills that I learned through self practice landed me a career in the motocross industry for 9 years. What a great experience that was for a young creative like me. I learned a lot however, I was beginning to feel that something was missing. The fast paced life of media creation started to take its tole on me, and that was never more clear until I started working at my grandfather’s saddle shop again.
It was like walking into your home after a 15 year vacation. The senses all started to come back to me, catapulting me backwards to the time I learned about leather. I was home again. My grandfather always said, “there’s something romantic about the west”, and he’s right. Imagine the feeling of trotting along a mountain side horseback, sitting on the porch watching the sun set on the horizon, and the smell of leather that permeates through an old saddle shop. These were all the feelings I got when I came back home. I now had the passion for creating leather goods, more importantly I had a legacy to carry on.
The legacy my grandfather created 60 years ago would’ve stopped with him, had I not decided to keep the tradition of leather artistry alive in our family. I feel it’s so important to pass down family legacies, it tells the story of who you are. This is why I’m starting the process of passing down the craft to my son and daughter.
Your legacy could be a family craft, vacation, hat, watch, or silverware set. In a world where items are mass produced to be disposable, I’m here to restore the value of legacy through heirloom quality leather work. The pieces I create tell a story about my legacy, and will begin its journey of creating yours. Then when the time is right, you will pass it down to your legacy. By this time the product is a piece of valuable family history.
Each product will have a specific code telling you the Model number, which number you have of that Model, and date. You will also receive a ‘Legacy Card’ that documents the piece I’m making for you. This will serve as an archive to your piece throughout its journey, and especially when it’s time to be passed on to your legacy.
From start to finish all of the leather work is done solely by me. Each individual piece is carefully crafted in pursuit of perfection using traditional methods and no machines. These painstaking techniques ensure you're getting a supremely handcrafted piece of functional art.
Thank you for investing in my work and more importantly, your legacy.
"I’ve known Clint Wilkinson for quite some time now, and he has continuously proved himself to be one of the most genuine, hardworking, and passionate artisans out there. His dedication to his craft, especially to the tradition of western leather working/tooling, has set him apart in a crowded sea of “handmade leather goods.” Clint’s work will not only stand the test of time, but will most likely be showcased in museums before to long, as part of a continued history of the leather working tradition, which he learned from his grandfather."
– Tyler Sharp / Modern Hunstman
Weldon's Saddle Shop & Western Wear
1957 - 2017
In 1957 my grandfather, Weldon Burgoon, opened Weldon's Saddle Shop in Denton Texas. My mom, uncle, and grandmother helped him start the business by making hand made products such as ropes, belts, saddles, and other leather goods to sell inside the shop. When saddle making was slow he picked up a few retail items like hats, boots, and shirts in order to keep cash flow going. As the years went by Weldon's Saddle Shop grew out of that old shack and into a bigger building that's been located on the same street corner since 1957 in downtown Denton Texas. Their hard work, dedication, and knowledge has supported our family in more ways than I can describe. Weldon built over 150 custom saddles during his career amongst countless other leather goods. I never had the privilege to meet my other Grandfather, "Smokey" Wilkinson, but he was a cowboy too. He raised my Dad and his 3 brothers around the farm which led him into a professional calf roping career. I’ve been raised around leather, western, and "the cowboy way" my entire life. After 60 years of business my family closed Weldon's in 2017 but the legacy lives on through my work.