Search Results

Merlin Rupp - Mane Horsehair Mecates and Cinches / Rawhide Riatas and Hondas Making

Merlin Rupp (Hines) is one of the finest makers of mane horsehair mecates (reins) and cinches. A working buckaroo, Rupp braids rawhide riatas (lassoes), and hondas (lasso knot). He considers himself one of the last true buckaroos.


After several decades working ranches across the region, Merlin Rupp settled down in his new home outside of Burns. Though his buckarooing days were cut short by a high-spirited horse that toppled over on him, breaking his neck, Rupp has become one of the finest makers of mane horsehair mecates and cinches in the region and beyond. He also braids riatas (lassoes) and hondas.

To twist the horsehair, Rupp begins by attaching the hair to a hook mounted on a rotating spindle. As he draws the horsehair out, adding more with each rotation, he takes care not to break the fibers. At frequent intervals, he tugs on a pulley line that is fastened to the spindle. With each tug on the pulley line, the spindle rotates, twisting the horsehair fibers, and in turn, creating the makings of a strand. It takes six strands of twisted horsehair to make up a Merlin Rupp 5/8" mecate. The horsehair comes from two sources: good friends, and commercial vendors who market horsehair from China and Mongolia.

These days, Rupp considers himself one of the last true vaquero buckaroos. "Nice bridled up horse, the buckaroo lassoing, his riata stretched way out there...that's what impresses me...when you rope cattle, the ropes got to be out at least 60 feet or it ain't no good to you."

Programs Offered

Please contact the artist.

Technology Needed

Please contact the artist.


The OFN recommends that artists/culture keepers receive a fee of at least $250 plus travel expenses. Please contact artists directly.

Search Criteria

Name - rupp


Merlin Rupp
P.O. Box 897
Hines, OR, 97738
(541) 573-3165

Search Again

Enter the name of a particular artist, scholar, or group.
Search by ethnicity, occupation, and/or religion; include any combination.
Example: music, craft, storytelling; be as general or specific as you like.