My paternal grandfather, Theodore John Schwarz (b.1896) came to Idaho in the 1910’s. This is a pencil illustration by my first cousin Todd Schwarz rendered from a photo of our Grandpa Schwarz. This was a time when woolie chaps were extremely common among the cowboys of the day in much of the west. All the major saddle shops offered woolies made out of angora goat skin, often dyed in a variety of colors. Green, orange, black, brown, white with black spots, were some colors to name a few. Ideal for keeping them warm in the cold months, photos also show cowboys and buckaroos of the great basin wearing these in the summer time. This is another indication that the Vaquero/Spanish tradition runs deep in the veins of its subscribers. Braided rawhide, silver mounted bits and spurs, floral carved saddles with silver appointments were a part of a rich heritage that endures today. My grandfather was a small part of that tradition as a young man. I wonder if there is room for woolies to re-enter the vaquero scene with the renaissance that is happening today. I’ve made these out of black Galloway cowhide, wild goat, black bear, and angora. My goal is to have a pair of my own one day.
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