When a rodeo association spends approximately $20,000 on trophy saddles alone, it is serious business. Awards committee members lose sleep over their decisions trying to make all contestants and their parents happy. They go cross-eyed looking at bid after bid that appears to be written in a foreign language of ½ breed this and combo-tooled that. To say it is overwhelming is quite the understatement. How do you make a decision? Everybody has an opinion about tooling, seat colors, price points, skirt styles, and tree fits, and none of them appear to jive with one single bid option you have in front of you. It is enough to make a sane person crazy all day every day!
Let’s break it down, calm those committee member’s fears, and allow them to rest well at night. Slone Saddles has nearly 20 years of experience in this industry not including the thirty plus years that Tod Slone spent in the contestant world earning his own trophy saddles. (*Fun Fact: Tod Slone won the 1994 NFR Tie-Down Average riding a trophy saddle. It was a Diamond S.) To please the masses, you must find the perfect combination of structure, style, and price. Through years of honing these areas, we have created a saddle line, Diamond S Saddles, that is truly #FITTOWIN.
The bare bones of a saddle, known as the tree, have two extremely important components to consider when choosing a trophy saddle provider: FIT and STRENGTH. Each rodeo event has a different “style” of horse that works best. There is no “one size fits all” saddle tree. The bottom of the tree is designed to fit the horse, and the top of the tree is designed to fit the rider. A barrel horse and a team roping horse are not always built the same. You can say the same for the competitors of the events. We set up Tie-Down Ropers to get to the front and get off quickly and our Team Roping saddles are designed to be able to rope, sit down, and get a dally. When selecting a trophy saddle provider, you want to choose a company that knows the ins and outs of what works and has trees designed to meet the specific needs of each event. In regard to saddle tree strength, you want to ask what the tree warranty is on the saddles being bid. Slone Saddles come with 10 Year Tree Warranties. When making a selection, red flags should be waved for any saddle with less than a seven year tree warranty. You also should be skeptical and ask for a definition when told a saddle tree has a “Life-Time Warranty.” We trust the FIT and STRENGTH of our trees more than any of our competitors. They are BUILT TO RIDE and not to sit in a living room, because we believe the amount of money associations spend on trophy saddles is the best advertising you do for your association. You want to see them in the arena and not locked up in a barn or living room!
This is the fun part and should definitely carry weight in your trophy saddle decision process. You want your trophy saddles to stand out in the arena; after all, this is a marketing expense as well as a prize! It can attract or deter future contestants. Use it to your advantage. Saddle design options are endless. There are hundreds of combinations of skirt styles, tooling patterns, seat colors and prints, conchos, spots, buck-stitching. The list goes on and on. Here is what you need to know. Choose a saddle provider that is willing to work with your association to get the design you want that fits within your budget! This is an important note; all of these options have a cost associated with them because they take time and materials. Figure out what is important to your contestants. Would they rather have more floral tooling or an exotic print seat? Do they want a ranch-style look or is your association a little on the wild side? Find out! We have more experience in saddle design that anyone else in the industry. We turn in saddle bids that are unique to your association, but if there is a “must-have” that is not on the bid, ask for it! The saddle bid that is turned in to your association is just a “first shot”. The best advice is to have an open dialogue about price, design, and the wants and needs of your association! We work hard to make your saddle dreams a reality!
Saddle price is extremely important when selecting a trophy saddle provider. You want the most “bang for your buck!” You want the highest quality and best designed saddle you can get, which we know we have! The days of the $900 are over, and if you receive a bid in this price range, you need to question the aforementioned areas before making a selection. Slone Saddles offers something for every budget. We LOVE to work with associations to provide quality awards that you can be proud to award and champions are excited to WIN and RIDE! Here’s the kicker – your association awards prizes in other areas too! I advise you to see what other prize lines and awards are available to you. At Slone Saddles, we have an entire trophy awards line that includes Tod Slone Saddle Pads, breast collars, tack and accessories, Jon Hart items and more. The best news is – when you choose to award our saddles, we work to get you a great deal and the best price possible on additional prize items for your association. Ask for a trophy package deal!
It should not go unmentioned that Slone Saddles has an unprecedented saddle certificate program. Our certificate program goes the extra mile to ensure that your association’s dollars are going to be put to good use and be seen in the arena! Saddle certificates allow contestants to design their saddle to ensure that each individual gets exactly what works for them and their horse. All saddles are required to have the association lettering and sponsors. Without spending any extra money, a saddle certificate allows your champions to get the correct seat size and tree fit. This is difficult to get correct 100% of the time when ordered in batches. However, there are pros and cons to both sides. We understand the thrill and excitement in walking away from your association finals with a shiny new saddle in your trailer!
Finally, let’s de-bunk these Slone Saddles Myths:
1.) Your Association CAN afford a Slone Saddle! We are competitively priced and guarantee you the “MOST BANG FOR YOUR BUCK!”
2.) In the trophy saddle business, we go the EXTRA MILE to ensure that your saddles are designed specifically for your association! We WILL NOT let them all look alike!
3.) The Diamond S Line & Tod Slone Custom Series BOTH come with 10 Year Tree Warranties! We absolutely do not believe in building a “trophy saddle” that cuts corners on quality! They are excellent quality and superior design!
At Slone Saddles, we build saddles individually and for YOUR association! We work with you to design a saddle within your budget that is #FITTOWIN and #BUILTTORIDE! Let us help you market your association and get trophy saddles out of the living room and barn and INTO THE ARENA where they belong!