On The Road

RoadNotes 2014

Buffalo Billfold CompanyIt has been brought to my attention that I haven’t been keeping up with the Buffalo Billfold Company RoadNotes.   That is entirely TRUE!   I’ve been a bit of a Lackard when it comes to arranging the alphabet into words and words into meaningful thoughts.

Your understanding would be appreciated.  The reasons behind this lack of communication?  We’ve never been so busy!
We set out this past New Year with our  French God Daughter and headed to the Colorado Indian Market.  It was there in our hotel room that she realized that my wife and I were celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary.   With great alarm she expressed  “Biiiiilll, I cannot be here!”   We all laughed and laughed,  we spent the night watching Sherlock and eating stinky French cheeses!
Colorado Indian Market is a great start to our SouthWestly road trip.  We are quite grateful to be invited to this exclusive market.  Though we are not Native Americans, we center our life style around the animal that was most significant in their historic past. (Bison Bison)


The Colorado Indian Market was a great success, afterwhich we pointed the StarShip (sprinter van conversion) due South and arrived in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  There we said our goodbyes to our French daughter and she caught a flight to South, south America and spent the following months on horseback herding cattle in the (near) Patagonia region.   Our travel seemed quite tame compared to her sort of “daring do”.


Our art festivals begat in Tubac AZ.  and then on to CaveCreek with our Apache friends.  We turned tail and headed to Wickenburg and quite abruptly back to Denvertown!   The Denver Gift Show allows us to meet many people that buy gifts for National Parks, State Parks, Museums and SaddleShops.  We sell our products to many of these places and have they have placed their trust in us.  We don’t take that trusting relationship lightly.   If you happen to come across our products in a fancy museum shop or just a ma and pa saddleshop, you should know that we think quite highly of them.   Consider patronizing them, for they have, in some part, placed their trust in us.


As  leathersmiths we believe we have  confidence over the materials, the processes, and tools that keep alive the artisanship of  American Cottage Craft Industry.   If you buy our products from a museum, a fancy gallery or a humble saddleshop, we are as grateful as if you have bought directly from us, we are beholden.    You have probably just helped a small business continue to contribute to their community in so many different ways.  They buy groceries, they employ a small work force, they take the risk to support American made products.   If you buy from them, thank them for handling our products, we will all be the better for it.


The summer started off with a Grand Distraction!    Few people know that behind my western duds, I’m a windsurfer.   In fact  a dozen  years ago I windsurfed my way into the V. P. position of United States Windsurfing.   My community has officially hosted the 2014 United States Windsurfing Association-NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS  for the third time in fifteen years .   It was an eventful five day event drawing sailors from throughout the United States and many far flung countries.     Last week my resignation was accepted and I can enjoy an emeritus position within the organization called Worthington Okabena Windsurfers.  It has been quite heartening over the years to see a community rise to the many challenges in building this event.  I  also appreciate the trust they placed in a bunch of windsurfers with limited influence…. and even less money!  My community has every reason to stand tall and be proud for taking on this Event of UnCommon Merit!


As soon as it was over we hitched our horses and set out for the Little BigHorn.  The Custer Re-enactment in Hardin, Montana.  A windy battlefield with a few rattlesnakes and a few hardy exhibitors like ourselves!   We reconnected with friends, Crow, Cheyenne and Northern Cheyenne and the battlefield re-enactors.
 The reenactment didn’t hold any surprises, Custer lost once again (what a loser).   It’s a  short trip to Cody Wyoming-the gateway to Yellowstone and we found ourselves at the Wild West Extravaganza Art Festival.   We make this westerly journey so  we can camp in the Big Horn Mountains at 9 or 10,000 feet, “the air is as thin , as soup made from the shadow of a duck”.  (A.Lincoln)


Switch around, swing back the following week to  Brookings SD. , Fargo, North Dakota, UpTown-Mpls and ArtSplash in Sioux City.


In betwixt all of this traveling I got to spend an evening at the historic Palace Theatre in Luverne , MN.  (the town that Ken Burns-Public Television featured in the epic WW 2 documentary)    I was asked to play some music as a finale’ for a radio show called “Living on a county road” by Bruce Kurtz
It was a gala event, seldom do I get a billing with the principal Harpist of the Regenborg Germany Orchestra.   The theatre had recently undergone a million dollar renovation and my music selection was from the 30’s thru 50’s era.  The crowd was very receptive.   I found it quite groovy!


 The summer played out and we met just short of a bazillion people.   One person that sticks out in my mind was a kindly fellow named King Wellington-From Trinidad.   I was strumming from guitar one afternoon at the Custer State Park Buffalo Round Up and up comes someone that knows all of my personal musical hero’s !!   Understand that my musical interest heads to the islands that appreciate calypso poly-rhythms Trinidad! My new found friend “King Wellington” from Trinidad knew all of my hero’s and in fact he has performed with a number of them.     A curious cowboy playing Calypso to King Wellington – This made my travels complete.


After the Buffalo Round-Up we pointed our StarShip toward the Southern Cross and made a quick trip to Albuquerque Balloon Festival.     It is known for being one of the top ten Art /Craft Festivals in the U.S.   The event lasted two weeks and we reconnected with fellow artists and friends.   The singular trip to Albuquerque was a long, long way but fruitful.   Betwixt weekends we got to visit Chaco Canyon, a place that we have long wanted to explore.  It is quite remote  and it has recently been  declared a Unesco World Heritage Site.    The disappearance of this  Puebloan culture is still being researched.   The Anasazi were thought to be a quiet and peaceful group of indians that dealt in regional commerce.    However, recently findings suggest Androphagi may have been practiced.


The StarShip has registered 110,000 miles and this week has had a minor touch up paint job, it looks spankin new.      While enroute, our employees  have refueled us when necessary,  they  kept us credible & with that we are appreciative.


Our travels are a matter of trust, trust in our fellow workers, trust in our event organizers, trust in our mechanics and trust in our customers patronage.   We have learned to keep our gratitude higher than our expectations (R. Hubbard)
It has been an exceeding good year.
Bill and Lauri Keitel – Buffalo Billfold Company

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