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Steve McKay - Saddle Making

Steve McKay (Burns) is a buckaroo and traditional saddle maker. McKay learned to tool saddles in the 80s from fellow traditional artist Len Babb II. Working buckaroos around the state of Oregon consider McKay a the "go-to" for rugged, functional gear.


What made Steve McKay stop buckarooing to become a saddle maker? Given his love for working cattle and horses, it's hard to say. What is obvious is that McKay remains passionate about the buckaroo lifestyle and all the gear making that goes along with it. As a saddle maker in a location many would view as "in the middle of nowhere," he is now a critical go-to man for bonafide or aspiring buckaroo/cowboys from Oregon and beyond.

A saddle maker in Harney County since 1998, McKay got into the trade full time after repairing his own saddles. His training began in earnest in 1986 when he signed on with Len Babb II, a saddle maker based out of Paisley, Oregon. While there, McKay tooled 18 saddles. Today, his tooling skills remain one of his strongest suits, setting his work apart. Along the trail, McKay also taught himself how to braid rawhide, hitch hair, and do a bit of silverwork. In the late 1980s, McKay was invited to show his hitched horsehair work at the Western Folklife Center in Elko, Nevada. At the time, only a handful of craftsmen in the country practiced the art form.

To meet his production goals, McKay likes to build one or two flower-tooled saddles a year, four or five rough-out saddles, and that many, or double that, in basket-stamped saddles. When he tools, McKay doesn't use pre-made patterns. Instead, he hand draws all his patterns; just an added touch that make his saddles one-of-a-kind.

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Name - Steve


Steve McKay
66283 Quincy Road
Burns, OR, 97720
(541) 495-2334

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