Reatas & Hondos

How I got started…

I first met Bill Dorrance, the great horseman and braider, through Bryan Neubert, another great horseman and braider.  After a few visits with Bill, I mentioned that I would really like to use a rawhide reata, but couldn’t afford one even if I could find someone to braid one for me.  Bill said, “If you’ll get a hide, I’ll help you get started.”  One week later I was cutting the first round of string from a big, red Simmental hide under Bill’s discerning gaze.  Bill got me started and we cut and sized the string together in Bill’s rawhide room.  Then Bill got me going on the push-pull process of getting a Reata put together, showing me how to get the crosses up good and tight and trying hard to give me the benefit of his experience.  That was on a Sunday.  I was working a ranch job about an hour and some from Bill’s, so in the evenings after work, I would braid for a while.  About Friday of that week, Bill called to see how far I had gotten on the reata, and I said I had braided all the string and was needing a hondo.  Bill was laughing when he asked how long the Reata was, and I told him 110 feet!  Then he really laughed!  See, we had made our four strands with all the string, each one 140 feet long, all sized and put up in “tamales”.  Bill never said to quit at any given point and I just kept braiding till I got to the end of the strings.  Bill was there to get me started, but not to stop me when I got past 60 feet.  Anyway, that was my first rawhide reata and it’s a very special one, long too!

I have braided quite a few reatas since then, and continue to take orders for them. I also have braided over 2,500  San Juan style hondos, which I sell separately for use on poly or nylon ropes.