10 – Buffalo Bill’s Saddle – Made In Craig, CO

By Museum of Northwest Colorado

If there was ever a Forrest Gump of the Old West – somebody who found themselves in nearly every major event – it was, according to himself, Buffalo Bill.
William F. Cody, also known as Buffalo Bill, claimed that he was a trapper, bullwhacker, “Fifty-Niner” in Colorado, Pony Express rider, wagonmaster, stagecoach driver, Civil War veteran, and even a Medal of Honor recipient as a scout during the Indian Wars. While there are some doubts surrounding a few of his claims (though many are true), it can’t be denied that the name “Buffalo Bill” is synonymous with the American West.
Fred Ross was a young German immigrant who moved to Craig, CO in 1891 and set up shop as a saddle maker. By 1898 he had already made a name for himself and received the attention of William F. Cody with the invention of an improved cinch buckle. Cody placed an order for 300 of Fred’s new invention and used them in his wildly popular “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West” traveling show. In 1901 Cody followed-up by requesting one of Ross’ saddles to be used in the New York Pan American Exhibition that same year. The result was the fine saddle pictured here which was indeed ridden by the legend himself.
While it is certain that Buffalo Bill used numerous saddles throughout his career, this particular saddle remained in the Cody family until it was auction