Photo of Frank Davis, 83, with his favorite horse

Frank Davis, 83, with his favorite horse

My newest adventure began at 3am. The Idaho Buckaroos of the Great Basin Project.  Its mission:
“To Promote Understanding and Preserve the Buckaroo Way of Life.”

This photograph and essay exhibit documents one of Idaho’s lesser known communities, the Buckaroos of the Great Basin. The Great Basin encompasses NE California, northern Nevada, SE Oregon, and SW Idaho (specifically Owyhee County).The Idaho Buckaroo Project is a photography and text exhibit which will open in October 2011 with a book to follow in 2012.I am trying to get as many people as possible to follow this journey.  Please go to: and click on  The Idaho Buckaroo Project page.I headed out to Bruneau, Idaho, but stopped to say hi to my friends, Gary Keithley and Linda Morton-Keithley who own MK Custom Idaho. They specialize in creating quality cowboy gear, including bits, spurs, conchos, jewelry, and saddle blankets. Gary is a fourth generation Idahoan that grew up on a family cattle ranch near Midvale.  He began creating saddles and other cowboy gear while still in high school but now he focuses his work on silver bits and spurs. In 2008, Gary was honored with an Idaho Governor’s Award in the Arts – Excellence in Folk and Traditional Arts.

Picture of the Keithley's showing their hand made products

Gary Keithley and Linda Morton-Keithley

Linda creates gorgeous and functional hand-woven saddle blankets made of 100% wool. Wool has a natural ‘wicking’ ability that draws moisture from the horse’s back through the blanket to the outside where it can evaporate.  This action helps keep the horse’s back cooled and reduces the occurrence of scald marks as often-times occurs with cotton or synthetic saddle blankets.

As much as I enjoy visiting with these two amazing artisans, I had to say goodbye –  headed to my final destination.

When I created the Idaho Buckaroo Project, I thought of my uncle, Frank Davis. He is a quiet man, never given to boasting of any kind. But back in the day, he was a buckaroo and later a well-known bull rider. In 1959 he and Jim Shoulders squared off at the cow palace. (More on that in my next blog).

Uncle Frank, who just recently stopped riding at the age of 80, loved rough stock and his buckarooing mostly involved colt breaking. During my visit Uncle Frank gave me one of his old saddles which he bought in 1949 in Ontario, Oregon. (watch for more about the saddle in future blogs).

When I got back to the Valley I ran by RC Beans Saddlery and they fixed me up with a new cinch and latigo. Bob is great – and very helpful. Next I went for a ride – a great ending to a long day.
Watch for my next blog and don’t forget to ride along with me on the Idaho Buckaroo Project.

  1. Jackie Beverage says:

    Still learning how to do this…

    “To Promote Understanding and Preserve the Buckaroo Way of Life.”

    Very interesting story by the way!

    • Jen Harris says:

      Jackie – YOU WIN! YOU WIN!
      Sorry for the confusion of WHERE to blog, it will never be with-in Facebook due to each individuals security settings.
      Jackie, I will email you right away with information of how we will get you your mugs! Of course, with a last name like Beverage, it was a given that you were going to win!
      Thanks for playing everyone, have a great weekend!

  2. Jackie Beverage says:

    Since it’s 8 and 12, I’ll try again!

    “To Promote Understanding and Preserve the Buckaroo Way of Life.”

    Yay me!

  3. Laureen Fisher says:

    To bring more awareness and knowledge of the Idaho Buckaroos of the Great Basin Project and what they are all about. Would love to have some that handmade stuff, just can’t get any better than that.

  4. Jackie Beverage says:

    Just to be safe, I’m still trying.

    “To Promote Understanding and Preserve the Buckaroo Way of Life.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>