The old Jehova Witness Church building now has a new owner, but he won’t be doing much preaching rather he will be spending his days creating. Bob Kaufman, the owner of Kaufman Saddles, has now set up shop and is ready for business.
For the past 30 years, Kaufman has been involved in ranching and range management. He has worked for the Alberta Forest Service as a range manager and managed large ranching operations in British Columbia and Alberta. When he wasn’t managing, he was busy working on his custom saddles and leatherwork.
The Montana raised rancher was hunting for a new place to continue his work after selling his quarter section farm in Irvine, Ab and was very inspired by the young entrepreneurial spirit in Maple Creek, making the choice to live here an easy one.
“There are young people here, and they seem enthusiastic about business, on top of that there is so much history in Maple Creek as far as ranching and things go, so I thought what better place to be,” Kaufman said.
Since arriving in Maple Creek, September was a busy time for him, spending his days repurposing the existing building by installing windows on the east and north sides, removing carpets, and some other interior work. Now all that there is left to do is some finishing touches here and there.
While Kaufman continues to do day work at some local ranches, his true passion lies in the saddle making. Kaufman saddles are entirely handmade and custom built. He specializes in attention to exacting details and puts countless hours into his custom saddles. His current custom saddle projects will take him 180 hours and 250 hours to finish.
But while his time will be spent on his custom work, Kaufman says he plans to retire here and become part of the community.
“As best I can I want to fit in and play a part in the community,” he said.”I’ve helped gather at the Westblock Round-Up, so I’ve ridden in the area and know quite a few of the people. I want to contribute in whichever way I can and probably become a member of the Chamber of Commerce, and possibly Cypress Hills Destinations.”
Kaufman also contributed towards the filming and production of the DVD series entitled Canuck Cowmen which played at the Jasper Culture Centre just a few months back.
When Kaufman is not in his shop working away, he says you can find him riding and working cattle. But when you enter his shop be prepared to be blown away by some of his creations, including a custom toilet seat amongst other things. His business statement is, “For the discriminating horseman who desires the best available cowboy gear, Kaufman saddles and other western accessories will provide many years of excellent service – quality that will last for many generations.”
To get in contact with Kaufman, he can be reached at 403-878-6994 or pay a visit to his shop located just behind the Co-Op.
NEWS PHOTO FACUNDO RODRIGUEZ
His shop may look like its all ready for business but it wasn’t always like that. Kaufman put a couple months of work to turn what was a church before to now a custom saddle and leather shop.