Rod Teuscher (b. 1948)
A Pair of Crockett Spurs, 2020
Dimensions: 18’H x 6’W
A pair of antique Crockett spurs was the inspiration for the monumental sculpture commissioned by Balfour Senior Living and created by master bit and spur maker Rod Teuscher. In 1943, Oscar Crockett relocated his Crockett Bit & Spur Co. from Lenexa, Kansas to a brick building at 944 Pearl Street in Boulder, Colorado where he became known as one of the world’s “Big Three” bit and spur makers. He employed more than 100 craftsmen who produced 10,000 of his legendary hand-forged, hand-engraved bits and spurs annually. Crockett Co. sales catalogs from the Boulder workshop include the tag line, “You’ll Lead the Parade if they’re Crockett-made Bits and Spurs,” and show nearly 30 pages of bit, spur and buckle designs for men, women and children including the famous “Airplane Aluminum” style that was introduced in 1938. When Jim Renalde of Denver bought the company from Crockett’s widow in 1951, all products were manufactured under the Crockett Renalde brand name until the business closed in 1980.
Spur sculptor Rod Teuscher is a renowned master of the fine art of bit and spur making, and he credits much of his success to a lifetime spent in the saddle. He grew up cowboying on his family’s Wyoming ranch and at age twelve was given his first spurs by his father – a reward for working a tough three-day spring roundup and cattle drive. Teuscher learned welding in high school and began experimenting with bit making when he started his own horse training business after college. Over time, word of his talent spread and he launched a full-time metalworking business to keep up with the orders. Since then, he’s developed a worldwide clientele and still thrives on creating new and unusual designs that come from customers’ imagination, including this outdoor sculpture, one of three others he’s made for Balfour communities in Colorado and Michigan. Mr. Teuscher’s workshop, RT Bits & Spurs, is located in Gainesville, Texas.
Western style spurs have been a part of American cowboy culture since the 1850s when they were introduced by the Mexican “Vaqueros” which is a Spanish word for herder of cattle deriving from “vaca” meaning “cow” which in turn comes from the Latin word “vacca.” Spur making developed into a fine art in the late 1800s when cowboys found skilled craftsmen to create customized, highly ornate spurs inlaid with precious metals. Such spurs have become family heirlooms and are often passed down through generations. No matter what the spur’s design, its purpose is utilitarian – an aid that fine-tunes a horse’s response to leg pressure in forward and lateral movements. Any good cowboy will tell you spurs are not intended to cause pain or injury and their horses are trained to respond to the slightest touch of a spur.