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Lost Buckaroo Finds His Groove
By Maddy Butcher Gray
If the horse world were a plant, it’d be a grape vine. Along that vine, you’d find bunches of
grapes, differentiated by taste and topic. Each bunch would have individual grapes, filled with particular flavors.
Carlos Macias is one of those fine grapes in the Vaquero-style bunch.
And judging from his reputation, he’s starting to earn vintage vineyard status.
Macias owns and operates
He makes Western gear, especially chaps, chinks, and armitas, and has supplied renowned clinicians including
Not everyone wears leather on their legs. I didn’t until last year when a friend loaned me a pair of armitas. With my bushwhacking ways, they’ve saved numerous pairs of jeans. Plus, they look nice. Carlos made them.
Needless to say, the temporary loan turned into a gift.
Carlos stumbled onto his profession through experiences with horses. For a spell, he attended Montana State University in Bozeman. He found work on a ranch nearby and lived – even during Montana winters – in a 16-foot camper trailer with no running water.
He met Pete Melniker and found work tying rope halters with Melniker’s
Double Diamond Halter Company.
Through Melniker, he learned about Buck Brannaman, Ray Hunt, and Bill and Tom Dorrance, and started applying what he learned to his horsemanship.
As years passed, he grew frustrated with the lack of quality gear on the market, especially headstalls. In 2003, he bought his first sewing machine.
Sara Douglas Hagel
with giving him generous doses of mentoring in the many aspects of his work, from preparing and stamping to finishing leather gear.
Eight years on, Macias has developed a strong following for his quality work and customer service. His patterns for leg gear have evolved and been refined through meticulous attention to detail as well as client feedback.
“He’s really hitting his stride,” said Emily Kitching, President of
. “The attention to detail is incredible and the fit is just fantastic.”
Early supporters Trina and Peter Campbell [photo at right] have more than a dozen pairs between them. The husband-and-wife clinicians say they’ve watched Macias’ work improve over the years. Peter Campbell was instrumental in helping Macias improve his patterns by wearing prototypes and giving feedback.
“They’re not only functional, but very fashionable, too,” said Trina Campbell. "Our clients are always amazed at his quality of work and friendly service. He’s very honest and dedicated to what he does.”
It’s no surprise that most of his renown has developed by word of mouth. With minimal advertising, Macias nonetheless has more than a four-month waiting list. He strive
s to produce about four pairs per week while juggling parenting responsibilities of his young daughter, Kaitlin.
[Photo at right of Macias and daughter.]
Customers don’t seem to mind the wait.
“In the end, it’s not so much the product,” said Macias. “It’s the experience along the way. As long as it’s a positive one for the customer, I’ll be happy.”
View Reader Comments:
Like Craig Cameron says "I wouldnt even think of riding without my leggings". And if you are going to wear them..invest in the softest, best fiting, highest quality...Over the years, Carlos has made me Armitas and Chinks..he is a true craftsman appreciated by all buckaroos
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"Love means attention, which means looking after the things we love. We call this stable management." - George H. Morris
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