RENO RODEO SILVER SPURS AWARD SADDLE
Nevada's Historic "Reno Rodeo"
(ridden by Grand Marshall 1950 - 1965) Saddle
Saddle may be seen by appointment at security vault facility in Reno, Nevada.
Click Here To Contact The Owner
Historic silver saddle needs a home
Saturday August 12th, 2000
Last weeks column about the effort to start a Reno Rodeo museum caught the
attention of quite a few people, including Reno's Sam Dehne.
Many people know Dehne as the man who regularly takes to task the Reno City
Council, Reno Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority, and other government
agencies for their policies and spending practices.
The 59-year-old retired airline pilot also owns a piece of Renos history the
Silver Spurs Saddle.
The saddle was made in the 1950s for Harold's Club owner Raymond A. Smith. It
was made to be used by the winner of the Silver Spurs Award in the Reno Rodeo
The Silver Spurs Award was started by the Reno Chamber of Commerce in 1949
to honor the western film star whose work best kept the Western spirit alive. The
first winner was the Duke, John Wayne, who won with director John Huston for
his work in the movies Red River and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon.
Other winners of the award included Gregory Peck, Jimmy Stewart, Gary
Cooper, Alan Ladd, Spencer Tracy, Glenn Ford, Fred MacMurray, James
Arness, Richard Boone, Dan Blocker, Lorne Green and Michael Landon, among
Hollywood celebrities, and the press that followed them, were regulars at the
Reno Rodeo in the 1950s and 60s and a major reason why spectators packed
the streets 10 or more deep to watch the Reno Rodeo parade. Blocker, Green
and Landon were especially popular with the fans since their television series,
Bonanza, was set at the Ponderosa Ranch in Incline Village.
Blocker won the Silver Spurs award twice. Landon later returned as the parades
The saddle reportedly was used sparingly as some of the Silver Spurs winners
elected to ride in automobiles or horse-drawn wagons during the parade.
Dehne said he has owned the saddle for about 15 years, keeping it in his small
condominium and wondering what to do with it. It is a beautiful saddle with silver
inlays and hard carving.
He said he would love if arrangements could be made for it to be displayed in a
The truth of the matter is, there has been nothing for me to do with it, Dehne
said. I would be delighted to put it in a museum.
He has also considered putting the saddle up for auction.
Other than the museum, it would probably be better off in someone elses
hands, he said.
* * * * *
Guy Cliftons column on local history and lore runs weekly in this section. You
can call him at 788-6337 or e-mail him at gclifton@@rgj.com.
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©2000 Reno Gazette-Journal
A Short History of "The Silver Spurs Award" Parade Saddle
The Silver Spurs Award Parade saddle was dedicated to a very exclusive group of movie stars... including John Wayne, Gary Cooper, Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe and others... most of whom sat in the saddle during the Silver Spurs Reno Rodeo Parades.
The unique saddle was showcased at Reno, Nevada's once a year Reno Rodeo Parade by each year's recipient of the "Silver Spurs Award". The award consisted of a custom made pair of silver spurs that was given to the outstanding cowboy or cowgirl of the year from 1950 to the mid 1960s.
This one-of-a-kind saddle was custom made for Raymond A. Smith by master saddle maker Russ Vaughn. [Raymond A. Smith was the son of Harold I. Smith... of Harold's Club Casino (weblink) fame.
The list of recipients also includes:
Jimmy Stewart (2 times)
Glenn Ford (2 times)
John Wayne (again)
John Wayne also won the award twice.
(record of ownership of a work of art or an antique, used as a guide to demonstrate authenticity or quality)
Answer to last question on page! Saddle was NOT sold.
Sam DEHNE has owned the Silver Spurs Saddle since 1980.
He received it as collateral for a $30,000 loan that was never repaid.
Special LIVE PERFORMANCE Album Dedicated to This Historic Saddle
Read all about the Reno Rodeo (click).