24 – “Wild Horse Jack’s” Remarkable Chaps

By Museum of Northwest Colorado

If you like the fancier side of vintage cowboy paraphernalia, you’re gonna love these chaps!
This particular set of chaps have been featured in Western Horseman, Cowboys and Indians and numerous other publications over the years – and it’s easy to see why. They are some of the finest in any Western collection regarding both craftsmanship and condition.
Made c.1910s, the chaps feature an astonishing 1,990 silver studs, 38 silver conchos and a silver buckle made in the Colorado State Penitentiary. They also feature 26 ornate silver letters spelling “Wild Horse Jack” down each leg.
They are made by the prolific R.T. Frazier out of Pueblo, Colorado. They were Frazier’s most expensive model of chaps (about $1,200 in today’s dollars) and were appropriately marketed as “a fine showy chap for show business”. They were acquired by the museum in 1999 from the famed collector, Bill Mackin.
So, who was Wild Horse Jack? Well, perhaps you can help us with that. For several years R.T. Frazier had a contract with the wildly popular 101 Ranch Wild West Show which ran from 1907 to 1927. The show featured well-known performers such as Lillian Smith, Bill Picket, Tom Mix, Mexican Joe and even Buffalo Bill himself. So, it is quite probable that these belonged to one of the lesser-known performers of the day. If anybody has more information on Wild Horse Jack’s true identity, we’re all ears!