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Ed Lawrence, bit and spur maker

Photo courtesy Ed LawrenceThis popular bit can be made with various mouth pieces, and is a favorite of Lawrence's. He calls it the Cowboss.

Just south of the tiny town of Alzada, MT, lies the Lawrence Ranch nestled along the protected meadows of the Little Missouri River. Hereford and black-baldy cows graze the spring grass, their calves sheltered from the wind by the trees and brush of the river bottom.

Tucked into the yard between the house and corrals is the workshop of Ed Lawrence. His work benches evidence his craft, from bits and spurs to leather work. A saddle on a stand is about half done, plus there are bridles and other gear waiting for repairs. Primarily a bit and spur maker, Lawrence also makes buckles and an occasional jewelry piece.

In 1977, Ed was given a bag of miscellaneous gear from an old friend. In that bag was an old bit that was in pretty tough shape. The bit intrigued Lawrence, and he says, “I redid that bit and it took off from there.” He found that he really enjoyed working on that bit, so he started making some bits and spurs when he had a little time.



He liked being able to have nice gear for his own use, too.

“My first bridle was an old workhorse bridle with the blinders cut off, one shortened driving line and one braided rein,” he laughed.



His wife Mary chuckled and said of their son, “Justin’s never had to work with bad tack! He’s always had the good stuff that Ed’s made.”

Justin and his wife Kelcie, have two kids, Kagan, 6, and Dallie, 5. They are on the ranch with Ed and Mary, plus Justin is a well known cowhorse trainer who shows all over the west. The bits, buckles and spurs that Justin uses are all made by his dad.

Their daughter Nancy and her husband Doug Thorson live near Quinn, SD, and have three children, Grace, in college, Cassidy in high school, and Hannah, 5.

Very proud of their family, Ed has made something special for all of the grandkids, and it does his heart good to see them using it.

From the beginning, Ed’s gear was functional, durable and attractive, so pretty quick, folks started asking him to make them something. Through some hard years on the ranch Lawrence says that making the bits and spurs “Kind of kept the wolf away from the door!”

Word of mouth has kept him busier than he could have imagined. An order for a bit or spurs today would probably have an 18 month wait before delivery, but the ranchers and cowboys are patient, knowing that it will be worth the wait.

“I call that job security,” says Lawrence, adding, “You can tell the season by the orders. Christmas and calving season are when I get the most orders.”

The seasons on the ranch also dictate how much time he can devote to his shop. Fall and winter he can get more hours in, with fall providing half and even whole days in the shop. But during calving and haying, he barely gets in the shop at all.

Besides the area ranchers, Lawrence says that he has filled orders from 33 states and six foreign countries. His spurs have been used by Tom Selleck in several movies, and calf roper Roy Cooper also uses a Lawrence bit, plus several top cowhorse trainers use his gear. He believes he has more of his bits and spurs in South Dakota than any other state, though.

“Some local people don’t know I do this,” says Lawrence, citing several times when someone stopped at a business in Alzada inquiring about the bit and spur maker and no one knew who they were talking about. That doesn’t concern Ed, though, and it demonstrates what an unassuming craftsman that he is.

He clearly enjoys his craft, paging through multiple photo albums and remembering who each item was made for and even a story to go with the name.The variety of styles and designs are fascinating, some Ed’s ideas and some the customer’s.

The best part, according to Ed, is a satisfied customer. He strives to keep improving and says, “I’ve never been to my best yet. I always think that my next one will be better.”

The worst is not having enough time to work in his shop. “I look forward to the grandkids taking up more of the slack when they get bigger, so I can spend more time on this,” says Lawrence.

The subject of the unfinished saddle came up, and Lawrence explained that he was making that saddle for himself, and said, “I just always wanted to do it.” It’s his second one and he has really enjoyed working on it. “I think I’d like to do some more. I’ll probably build these kids some saddles at least.”

The grandkids, just like Justin and Nancy, will probably never have to put up with bad gear either. Grandson Kagan has commandeered one of Ed’s good saddle horses, though there isn’t evidence that grandpa minds at all. The big smile when he talks about the little cowboy is proof of that.

Besides the gear he makes, Ed has other interests, stating “I love to go to brandings and ride a good horse,” adding, “This is still a saddle horse outfit. First thing I do in the morning is saddle a horse and go check the cows.” Lawrence has also been a brand inspector for quite a few years, so enjoys getting out and visiting folks while on that job.

The afternoon is waning, with evening shadows getting long, so tall, soft-spoken Ed Lawrence bridles his brown horse and steps aboard. He’ll make a pass through the cows and see that everything is okay before dark.

Calving season on his southeast Montana ranch is in full swing, so the tools in his shop will remain idle for a while. But, first chance he gets, he’ll be back at work on the quality Ed Lawrence Handmade Bits and Spurs that he is known for.

Just south of the tiny town of Alzada, MT, lies the Lawrence Ranch nestled along the protected meadows of the Little Missouri River. Hereford and black-baldy cows graze the spring grass, their calves sheltered from the wind by the trees and brush of the river bottom.

Tucked into the yard between the house and corrals is the workshop of Ed Lawrence. His work benches evidence his craft, from bits and spurs to leather work. A saddle on a stand is about half done, plus there are bridles and other gear waiting for repairs. Primarily a bit and spur maker, Lawrence also makes buckles and an occasional jewelry piece.

In 1977, Ed was given a bag of miscellaneous gear from an old friend. In that bag was an old bit that was in pretty tough shape. The bit intrigued Lawrence, and he says, “I redid that bit and it took off from there.” He found that he really enjoyed working on that bit, so he started making some bits and spurs when he had a little time.

He liked being able to have nice gear for his own use, too.

“My first bridle was an old workhorse bridle with the blinders cut off, one shortened driving line and one braided rein,” he laughed.

His wife Mary chuckled and said of their son, “Justin’s never had to work with bad tack! He’s always had the good stuff that Ed’s made.”

Justin and his wife Kelcie, have two kids, Kagan, 6, and Dallie, 5. They are on the ranch with Ed and Mary, plus Justin is a well known cowhorse trainer who shows all over the west. The bits, buckles and spurs that Justin uses are all made by his dad.

Their daughter Nancy and her husband Doug Thorson live near Quinn, SD, and have three children, Grace, in college, Cassidy in high school, and Hannah, 5.

Very proud of their family, Ed has made something special for all of the grandkids, and it does his heart good to see them using it.

From the beginning, Ed’s gear was functional, durable and attractive, so pretty quick, folks started asking him to make them something. Through some hard years on the ranch Lawrence says that making the bits and spurs “Kind of kept the wolf away from the door!”

Word of mouth has kept him busier than he could have imagined. An order for a bit or spurs today would probably have an 18 month wait before delivery, but the ranchers and cowboys are patient, knowing that it will be worth the wait.

“I call that job security,” says Lawrence, adding, “You can tell the season by the orders. Christmas and calving season are when I get the most orders.”

The seasons on the ranch also dictate how much time he can devote to his shop. Fall and winter he can get more hours in, with fall providing half and even whole days in the shop. But during calving and haying, he barely gets in the shop at all.

Besides the area ranchers, Lawrence says that he has filled orders from 33 states and six foreign countries. His spurs have been used by Tom Selleck in several movies, and calf roper Roy Cooper also uses a Lawrence bit, plus several top cowhorse trainers use his gear. He believes he has more of his bits and spurs in South Dakota than any other state, though.

“Some local people don’t know I do this,” says Lawrence, citing several times when someone stopped at a business in Alzada inquiring about the bit and spur maker and no one knew who they were talking about. That doesn’t concern Ed, though, and it demonstrates what an unassuming craftsman that he is.

He clearly enjoys his craft, paging through multiple photo albums and remembering who each item was made for and even a story to go with the name.The variety of styles and designs are fascinating, some Ed’s ideas and some the customer’s.

The best part, according to Ed, is a satisfied customer. He strives to keep improving and says, “I’ve never been to my best yet. I always think that my next one will be better.”

The worst is not having enough time to work in his shop. “I look forward to the grandkids taking up more of the slack when they get bigger, so I can spend more time on this,” says Lawrence.

The subject of the unfinished saddle came up, and Lawrence explained that he was making that saddle for himself, and said, “I just always wanted to do it.” It’s his second one and he has really enjoyed working on it. “I think I’d like to do some more. I’ll probably build these kids some saddles at least.”

The grandkids, just like Justin and Nancy, will probably never have to put up with bad gear either. Grandson Kagan has commandeered one of Ed’s good saddle horses, though there isn’t evidence that grandpa minds at all. The big smile when he talks about the little cowboy is proof of that.

Besides the gear he makes, Ed has other interests, stating “I love to go to brandings and ride a good horse,” adding, “This is still a saddle horse outfit. First thing I do in the morning is saddle a horse and go check the cows.” Lawrence has also been a brand inspector for quite a few years, so enjoys getting out and visiting folks while on that job.

The afternoon is waning, with evening shadows getting long, so tall, soft-spoken Ed Lawrence bridles his brown horse and steps aboard. He’ll make a pass through the cows and see that everything is okay before dark.

Calving season on his southeast Montana ranch is in full swing, so the tools in his shop will remain idle for a while. But, first chance he gets, he’ll be back at work on the quality Ed Lawrence Handmade Bits and Spurs that he is known for.

Just south of the tiny town of Alzada, MT, lies the Lawrence Ranch nestled along the protected meadows of the Little Missouri River. Hereford and black-baldy cows graze the spring grass, their calves sheltered from the wind by the trees and brush of the river bottom.

Tucked into the yard between the house and corrals is the workshop of Ed Lawrence. His work benches evidence his craft, from bits and spurs to leather work. A saddle on a stand is about half done, plus there are bridles and other gear waiting for repairs. Primarily a bit and spur maker, Lawrence also makes buckles and an occasional jewelry piece.

In 1977, Ed was given a bag of miscellaneous gear from an old friend. In that bag was an old bit that was in pretty tough shape. The bit intrigued Lawrence, and he says, “I redid that bit and it took off from there.” He found that he really enjoyed working on that bit, so he started making some bits and spurs when he had a little time.

He liked being able to have nice gear for his own use, too.

“My first bridle was an old workhorse bridle with the blinders cut off, one shortened driving line and one braided rein,” he laughed.

His wife Mary chuckled and said of their son, “Justin’s never had to work with bad tack! He’s always had the good stuff that Ed’s made.”

Justin and his wife Kelcie, have two kids, Kagan, 6, and Dallie, 5. They are on the ranch with Ed and Mary, plus Justin is a well known cowhorse trainer who shows all over the west. The bits, buckles and spurs that Justin uses are all made by his dad.

Their daughter Nancy and her husband Doug Thorson live near Quinn, SD, and have three children, Grace, in college, Cassidy in high school, and Hannah, 5.

Very proud of their family, Ed has made something special for all of the grandkids, and it does his heart good to see them using it.

From the beginning, Ed’s gear was functional, durable and attractive, so pretty quick, folks started asking him to make them something. Through some hard years on the ranch Lawrence says that making the bits and spurs “Kind of kept the wolf away from the door!”

Word of mouth has kept him busier than he could have imagined. An order for a bit or spurs today would probably have an 18 month wait before delivery, but the ranchers and cowboys are patient, knowing that it will be worth the wait.

“I call that job security,” says Lawrence, adding, “You can tell the season by the orders. Christmas and calving season are when I get the most orders.”

The seasons on the ranch also dictate how much time he can devote to his shop. Fall and winter he can get more hours in, with fall providing half and even whole days in the shop. But during calving and haying, he barely gets in the shop at all.

Besides the area ranchers, Lawrence says that he has filled orders from 33 states and six foreign countries. His spurs have been used by Tom Selleck in several movies, and calf roper Roy Cooper also uses a Lawrence bit, plus several top cowhorse trainers use his gear. He believes he has more of his bits and spurs in South Dakota than any other state, though.

“Some local people don’t know I do this,” says Lawrence, citing several times when someone stopped at a business in Alzada inquiring about the bit and spur maker and no one knew who they were talking about. That doesn’t concern Ed, though, and it demonstrates what an unassuming craftsman that he is.

He clearly enjoys his craft, paging through multiple photo albums and remembering who each item was made for and even a story to go with the name.The variety of styles and designs are fascinating, some Ed’s ideas and some the customer’s.

The best part, according to Ed, is a satisfied customer. He strives to keep improving and says, “I’ve never been to my best yet. I always think that my next one will be better.”

The worst is not having enough time to work in his shop. “I look forward to the grandkids taking up more of the slack when they get bigger, so I can spend more time on this,” says Lawrence.

The subject of the unfinished saddle came up, and Lawrence explained that he was making that saddle for himself, and said, “I just always wanted to do it.” It’s his second one and he has really enjoyed working on it. “I think I’d like to do some more. I’ll probably build these kids some saddles at least.”

The grandkids, just like Justin and Nancy, will probably never have to put up with bad gear either. Grandson Kagan has commandeered one of Ed’s good saddle horses, though there isn’t evidence that grandpa minds at all. The big smile when he talks about the little cowboy is proof of that.

Besides the gear he makes, Ed has other interests, stating “I love to go to brandings and ride a good horse,” adding, “This is still a saddle horse outfit. First thing I do in the morning is saddle a horse and go check the cows.” Lawrence has also been a brand inspector for quite a few years, so enjoys getting out and visiting folks while on that job.

The afternoon is waning, with evening shadows getting long, so tall, soft-spoken Ed Lawrence bridles his brown horse and steps aboard. He’ll make a pass through the cows and see that everything is okay before dark.

Calving season on his southeast Montana ranch is in full swing, so the tools in his shop will remain idle for a while. But, first chance he gets, he’ll be back at work on the quality Ed Lawrence Handmade Bits and Spurs that he is known for.

Just south of the tiny town of Alzada, MT, lies the Lawrence Ranch nestled along the protected meadows of the Little Missouri River. Hereford and black-baldy cows graze the spring grass, their calves sheltered from the wind by the trees and brush of the river bottom.

Tucked into the yard between the house and corrals is the workshop of Ed Lawrence. His work benches evidence his craft, from bits and spurs to leather work. A saddle on a stand is about half done, plus there are bridles and other gear waiting for repairs. Primarily a bit and spur maker, Lawrence also makes buckles and an occasional jewelry piece.

In 1977, Ed was given a bag of miscellaneous gear from an old friend. In that bag was an old bit that was in pretty tough shape. The bit intrigued Lawrence, and he says, “I redid that bit and it took off from there.” He found that he really enjoyed working on that bit, so he started making some bits and spurs when he had a little time.

He liked being able to have nice gear for his own use, too.

“My first bridle was an old workhorse bridle with the blinders cut off, one shortened driving line and one braided rein,” he laughed.

His wife Mary chuckled and said of their son, “Justin’s never had to work with bad tack! He’s always had the good stuff that Ed’s made.”

Justin and his wife Kelcie, have two kids, Kagan, 6, and Dallie, 5. They are on the ranch with Ed and Mary, plus Justin is a well known cowhorse trainer who shows all over the west. The bits, buckles and spurs that Justin uses are all made by his dad.

Their daughter Nancy and her husband Doug Thorson live near Quinn, SD, and have three children, Grace, in college, Cassidy in high school, and Hannah, 5.

Very proud of their family, Ed has made something special for all of the grandkids, and it does his heart good to see them using it.

From the beginning, Ed’s gear was functional, durable and attractive, so pretty quick, folks started asking him to make them something. Through some hard years on the ranch Lawrence says that making the bits and spurs “Kind of kept the wolf away from the door!”

Word of mouth has kept him busier than he could have imagined. An order for a bit or spurs today would probably have an 18 month wait before delivery, but the ranchers and cowboys are patient, knowing that it will be worth the wait.

“I call that job security,” says Lawrence, adding, “You can tell the season by the orders. Christmas and calving season are when I get the most orders.”

The seasons on the ranch also dictate how much time he can devote to his shop. Fall and winter he can get more hours in, with fall providing half and even whole days in the shop. But during calving and haying, he barely gets in the shop at all.

Besides the area ranchers, Lawrence says that he has filled orders from 33 states and six foreign countries. His spurs have been used by Tom Selleck in several movies, and calf roper Roy Cooper also uses a Lawrence bit, plus several top cowhorse trainers use his gear. He believes he has more of his bits and spurs in South Dakota than any other state, though.

“Some local people don’t know I do this,” says Lawrence, citing several times when someone stopped at a business in Alzada inquiring about the bit and spur maker and no one knew who they were talking about. That doesn’t concern Ed, though, and it demonstrates what an unassuming craftsman that he is.

He clearly enjoys his craft, paging through multiple photo albums and remembering who each item was made for and even a story to go with the name.The variety of styles and designs are fascinating, some Ed’s ideas and some the customer’s.

The best part, according to Ed, is a satisfied customer. He strives to keep improving and says, “I’ve never been to my best yet. I always think that my next one will be better.”

The worst is not having enough time to work in his shop. “I look forward to the grandkids taking up more of the slack when they get bigger, so I can spend more time on this,” says Lawrence.

The subject of the unfinished saddle came up, and Lawrence explained that he was making that saddle for himself, and said, “I just always wanted to do it.” It’s his second one and he has really enjoyed working on it. “I think I’d like to do some more. I’ll probably build these kids some saddles at least.”

The grandkids, just like Justin and Nancy, will probably never have to put up with bad gear either. Grandson Kagan has commandeered one of Ed’s good saddle horses, though there isn’t evidence that grandpa minds at all. The big smile when he talks about the little cowboy is proof of that.

Besides the gear he makes, Ed has other interests, stating “I love to go to brandings and ride a good horse,” adding, “This is still a saddle horse outfit. First thing I do in the morning is saddle a horse and go check the cows.” Lawrence has also been a brand inspector for quite a few years, so enjoys getting out and visiting folks while on that job.

The afternoon is waning, with evening shadows getting long, so tall, soft-spoken Ed Lawrence bridles his brown horse and steps aboard. He’ll make a pass through the cows and see that everything is okay before dark.

Calving season on his southeast Montana ranch is in full swing, so the tools in his shop will remain idle for a while. But, first chance he gets, he’ll be back at work on the quality Ed Lawrence Handmade Bits and Spurs that he is known for.

Just south of the tiny town of Alzada, MT, lies the Lawrence Ranch nestled along the protected meadows of the Little Missouri River. Hereford and black-baldy cows graze the spring grass, their calves sheltered from the wind by the trees and brush of the river bottom.

Tucked into the yard between the house and corrals is the workshop of Ed Lawrence. His work benches evidence his craft, from bits and spurs to leather work. A saddle on a stand is about half done, plus there are bridles and other gear waiting for repairs. Primarily a bit and spur maker, Lawrence also makes buckles and an occasional jewelry piece.

In 1977, Ed was given a bag of miscellaneous gear from an old friend. In that bag was an old bit that was in pretty tough shape. The bit intrigued Lawrence, and he says, “I redid that bit and it took off from there.” He found that he really enjoyed working on that bit, so he started making some bits and spurs when he had a little time.

He liked being able to have nice gear for his own use, too.

“My first bridle was an old workhorse bridle with the blinders cut off, one shortened driving line and one braided rein,” he laughed.

His wife Mary chuckled and said of their son, “Justin’s never had to work with bad tack! He’s always had the good stuff that Ed’s made.”

Justin and his wife Kelcie, have two kids, Kagan, 6, and Dallie, 5. They are on the ranch with Ed and Mary, plus Justin is a well known cowhorse trainer who shows all over the west. The bits, buckles and spurs that Justin uses are all made by his dad.

Their daughter Nancy and her husband Doug Thorson live near Quinn, SD, and have three children, Grace, in college, Cassidy in high school, and Hannah, 5.

Very proud of their family, Ed has made something special for all of the grandkids, and it does his heart good to see them using it.

From the beginning, Ed’s gear was functional, durable and attractive, so pretty quick, folks started asking him to make them something. Through some hard years on the ranch Lawrence says that making the bits and spurs “Kind of kept the wolf away from the door!”

Word of mouth has kept him busier than he could have imagined. An order for a bit or spurs today would probably have an 18 month wait before delivery, but the ranchers and cowboys are patient, knowing that it will be worth the wait.

“I call that job security,” says Lawrence, adding, “You can tell the season by the orders. Christmas and calving season are when I get the most orders.”

The seasons on the ranch also dictate how much time he can devote to his shop. Fall and winter he can get more hours in, with fall providing half and even whole days in the shop. But during calving and haying, he barely gets in the shop at all.

Besides the area ranchers, Lawrence says that he has filled orders from 33 states and six foreign countries. His spurs have been used by Tom Selleck in several movies, and calf roper Roy Cooper also uses a Lawrence bit, plus several top cowhorse trainers use his gear. He believes he has more of his bits and spurs in South Dakota than any other state, though.

“Some local people don’t know I do this,” says Lawrence, citing several times when someone stopped at a business in Alzada inquiring about the bit and spur maker and no one knew who they were talking about. That doesn’t concern Ed, though, and it demonstrates what an unassuming craftsman that he is.

He clearly enjoys his craft, paging through multiple photo albums and remembering who each item was made for and even a story to go with the name.The variety of styles and designs are fascinating, some Ed’s ideas and some the customer’s.

The best part, according to Ed, is a satisfied customer. He strives to keep improving and says, “I’ve never been to my best yet. I always think that my next one will be better.”

The worst is not having enough time to work in his shop. “I look forward to the grandkids taking up more of the slack when they get bigger, so I can spend more time on this,” says Lawrence.

The subject of the unfinished saddle came up, and Lawrence explained that he was making that saddle for himself, and said, “I just always wanted to do it.” It’s his second one and he has really enjoyed working on it. “I think I’d like to do some more. I’ll probably build these kids some saddles at least.”

The grandkids, just like Justin and Nancy, will probably never have to put up with bad gear either. Grandson Kagan has commandeered one of Ed’s good saddle horses, though there isn’t evidence that grandpa minds at all. The big smile when he talks about the little cowboy is proof of that.

Besides the gear he makes, Ed has other interests, stating “I love to go to brandings and ride a good horse,” adding, “This is still a saddle horse outfit. First thing I do in the morning is saddle a horse and go check the cows.” Lawrence has also been a brand inspector for quite a few years, so enjoys getting out and visiting folks while on that job.

The afternoon is waning, with evening shadows getting long, so tall, soft-spoken Ed Lawrence bridles his brown horse and steps aboard. He’ll make a pass through the cows and see that everything is okay before dark.

Calving season on his southeast Montana ranch is in full swing, so the tools in his shop will remain idle for a while. But, first chance he gets, he’ll be back at work on the quality Ed Lawrence Handmade Bits and Spurs that he is known for.

Just south of the tiny town of Alzada, MT, lies the Lawrence Ranch nestled along the protected meadows of the Little Missouri River. Hereford and black-baldy cows graze the spring grass, their calves sheltered from the wind by the trees and brush of the river bottom.

Tucked into the yard between the house and corrals is the workshop of Ed Lawrence. His work benches evidence his craft, from bits and spurs to leather work. A saddle on a stand is about half done, plus there are bridles and other gear waiting for repairs. Primarily a bit and spur maker, Lawrence also makes buckles and an occasional jewelry piece.

In 1977, Ed was given a bag of miscellaneous gear from an old friend. In that bag was an old bit that was in pretty tough shape. The bit intrigued Lawrence, and he says, “I redid that bit and it took off from there.” He found that he really enjoyed working on that bit, so he started making some bits and spurs when he had a little time.

He liked being able to have nice gear for his own use, too.

“My first bridle was an old workhorse bridle with the blinders cut off, one shortened driving line and one braided rein,” he laughed.

His wife Mary chuckled and said of their son, “Justin’s never had to work with bad tack! He’s always had the good stuff that Ed’s made.”

Justin and his wife Kelcie, have two kids, Kagan, 6, and Dallie, 5. They are on the ranch with Ed and Mary, plus Justin is a well known cowhorse trainer who shows all over the west. The bits, buckles and spurs that Justin uses are all made by his dad.

Their daughter Nancy and her husband Doug Thorson live near Quinn, SD, and have three children, Grace, in college, Cassidy in high school, and Hannah, 5.

Very proud of their family, Ed has made something special for all of the grandkids, and it does his heart good to see them using it.

From the beginning, Ed’s gear was functional, durable and attractive, so pretty quick, folks started asking him to make them something. Through some hard years on the ranch Lawrence says that making the bits and spurs “Kind of kept the wolf away from the door!”

Word of mouth has kept him busier than he could have imagined. An order for a bit or spurs today would probably have an 18 month wait before delivery, but the ranchers and cowboys are patient, knowing that it will be worth the wait.

“I call that job security,” says Lawrence, adding, “You can tell the season by the orders. Christmas and calving season are when I get the most orders.”

The seasons on the ranch also dictate how much time he can devote to his shop. Fall and winter he can get more hours in, with fall providing half and even whole days in the shop. But during calving and haying, he barely gets in the shop at all.

Besides the area ranchers, Lawrence says that he has filled orders from 33 states and six foreign countries. His spurs have been used by Tom Selleck in several movies, and calf roper Roy Cooper also uses a Lawrence bit, plus several top cowhorse trainers use his gear. He believes he has more of his bits and spurs in South Dakota than any other state, though.

“Some local people don’t know I do this,” says Lawrence, citing several times when someone stopped at a business in Alzada inquiring about the bit and spur maker and no one knew who they were talking about. That doesn’t concern Ed, though, and it demonstrates what an unassuming craftsman that he is.

He clearly enjoys his craft, paging through multiple photo albums and remembering who each item was made for and even a story to go with the name.The variety of styles and designs are fascinating, some Ed’s ideas and some the customer’s.

The best part, according to Ed, is a satisfied customer. He strives to keep improving and says, “I’ve never been to my best yet. I always think that my next one will be better.”

The worst is not having enough time to work in his shop. “I look forward to the grandkids taking up more of the slack when they get bigger, so I can spend more time on this,” says Lawrence.

The subject of the unfinished saddle came up, and Lawrence explained that he was making that saddle for himself, and said, “I just always wanted to do it.” It’s his second one and he has really enjoyed working on it. “I think I’d like to do some more. I’ll probably build these kids some saddles at least.”

The grandkids, just like Justin and Nancy, will probably never have to put up with bad gear either. Grandson Kagan has commandeered one of Ed’s good saddle horses, though there isn’t evidence that grandpa minds at all. The big smile when he talks about the little cowboy is proof of that.

Besides the gear he makes, Ed has other interests, stating “I love to go to brandings and ride a good horse,” adding, “This is still a saddle horse outfit. First thing I do in the morning is saddle a horse and go check the cows.” Lawrence has also been a brand inspector for quite a few years, so enjoys getting out and visiting folks while on that job.

The afternoon is waning, with evening shadows getting long, so tall, soft-spoken Ed Lawrence bridles his brown horse and steps aboard. He’ll make a pass through the cows and see that everything is okay before dark.

Calving season on his southeast Montana ranch is in full swing, so the tools in his shop will remain idle for a while. But, first chance he gets, he’ll be back at work on the quality Ed Lawrence Handmade Bits and Spurs that he is known for.

Just south of the tiny town of Alzada, MT, lies the Lawrence Ranch nestled along the protected meadows of the Little Missouri River. Hereford and black-baldy cows graze the spring grass, their calves sheltered from the wind by the trees and brush of the river bottom.

Tucked into the yard between the house and corrals is the workshop of Ed Lawrence. His work benches evidence his craft, from bits and spurs to leather work. A saddle on a stand is about half done, plus there are bridles and other gear waiting for repairs. Primarily a bit and spur maker, Lawrence also makes buckles and an occasional jewelry piece.

In 1977, Ed was given a bag of miscellaneous gear from an old friend. In that bag was an old bit that was in pretty tough shape. The bit intrigued Lawrence, and he says, “I redid that bit and it took off from there.” He found that he really enjoyed working on that bit, so he started making some bits and spurs when he had a little time.

He liked being able to have nice gear for his own use, too.

“My first bridle was an old workhorse bridle with the blinders cut off, one shortened driving line and one braided rein,” he laughed.

His wife Mary chuckled and said of their son, “Justin’s never had to work with bad tack! He’s always had the good stuff that Ed’s made.”

Justin and his wife Kelcie, have two kids, Kagan, 6, and Dallie, 5. They are on the ranch with Ed and Mary, plus Justin is a well known cowhorse trainer who shows all over the west. The bits, buckles and spurs that Justin uses are all made by his dad.

Their daughter Nancy and her husband Doug Thorson live near Quinn, SD, and have three children, Grace, in college, Cassidy in high school, and Hannah, 5.

Very proud of their family, Ed has made something special for all of the grandkids, and it does his heart good to see them using it.

From the beginning, Ed’s gear was functional, durable and attractive, so pretty quick, folks started asking him to make them something. Through some hard years on the ranch Lawrence says that making the bits and spurs “Kind of kept the wolf away from the door!”

Word of mouth has kept him busier than he could have imagined. An order for a bit or spurs today would probably have an 18 month wait before delivery, but the ranchers and cowboys are patient, knowing that it will be worth the wait.

“I call that job security,” says Lawrence, adding, “You can tell the season by the orders. Christmas and calving season are when I get the most orders.”

The seasons on the ranch also dictate how much time he can devote to his shop. Fall and winter he can get more hours in, with fall providing half and even whole days in the shop. But during calving and haying, he barely gets in the shop at all.

Besides the area ranchers, Lawrence says that he has filled orders from 33 states and six foreign countries. His spurs have been used by Tom Selleck in several movies, and calf roper Roy Cooper also uses a Lawrence bit, plus several top cowhorse trainers use his gear. He believes he has more of his bits and spurs in South Dakota than any other state, though.

“Some local people don’t know I do this,” says Lawrence, citing several times when someone stopped at a business in Alzada inquiring about the bit and spur maker and no one knew who they were talking about. That doesn’t concern Ed, though, and it demonstrates what an unassuming craftsman that he is.

He clearly enjoys his craft, paging through multiple photo albums and remembering who each item was made for and even a story to go with the name.The variety of styles and designs are fascinating, some Ed’s ideas and some the customer’s.

The best part, according to Ed, is a satisfied customer. He strives to keep improving and says, “I’ve never been to my best yet. I always think that my next one will be better.”

The worst is not having enough time to work in his shop. “I look forward to the grandkids taking up more of the slack when they get bigger, so I can spend more time on this,” says Lawrence.

The subject of the unfinished saddle came up, and Lawrence explained that he was making that saddle for himself, and said, “I just always wanted to do it.” It’s his second one and he has really enjoyed working on it. “I think I’d like to do some more. I’ll probably build these kids some saddles at least.”

The grandkids, just like Justin and Nancy, will probably never have to put up with bad gear either. Grandson Kagan has commandeered one of Ed’s good saddle horses, though there isn’t evidence that grandpa minds at all. The big smile when he talks about the little cowboy is proof of that.

Besides the gear he makes, Ed has other interests, stating “I love to go to brandings and ride a good horse,” adding, “This is still a saddle horse outfit. First thing I do in the morning is saddle a horse and go check the cows.” Lawrence has also been a brand inspector for quite a few years, so enjoys getting out and visiting folks while on that job.

The afternoon is waning, with evening shadows getting long, so tall, soft-spoken Ed Lawrence bridles his brown horse and steps aboard. He’ll make a pass through the cows and see that everything is okay before dark.

Calving season on his southeast Montana ranch is in full swing, so the tools in his shop will remain idle for a while. But, first chance he gets, he’ll be back at work on the quality Ed Lawrence Handmade Bits and Spurs that he is known for.

Just south of the tiny town of Alzada, MT, lies the Lawrence Ranch nestled along the protected meadows of the Little Missouri River. Hereford and black-baldy cows graze the spring grass, their calves sheltered from the wind by the trees and brush of the river bottom.

Tucked into the yard between the house and corrals is the workshop of Ed Lawrence. His work benches evidence his craft, from bits and spurs to leather work. A saddle on a stand is about half done, plus there are bridles and other gear waiting for repairs. Primarily a bit and spur maker, Lawrence also makes buckles and an occasional jewelry piece.

In 1977, Ed was given a bag of miscellaneous gear from an old friend. In that bag was an old bit that was in pretty tough shape. The bit intrigued Lawrence, and he says, “I redid that bit and it took off from there.” He found that he really enjoyed working on that bit, so he started making some bits and spurs when he had a little time.

He liked being able to have nice gear for his own use, too.

“My first bridle was an old workhorse bridle with the blinders cut off, one shortened driving line and one braided rein,” he laughed.

His wife Mary chuckled and said of their son, “Justin’s never had to work with bad tack! He’s always had the good stuff that Ed’s made.”

Justin and his wife Kelcie, have two kids, Kagan, 6, and Dallie, 5. They are on the ranch with Ed and Mary, plus Justin is a well known cowhorse trainer who shows all over the west. The bits, buckles and spurs that Justin uses are all made by his dad.

Their daughter Nancy and her husband Doug Thorson live near Quinn, SD, and have three children, Grace, in college, Cassidy in high school, and Hannah, 5.

Very proud of their family, Ed has made something special for all of the grandkids, and it does his heart good to see them using it.

From the beginning, Ed’s gear was functional, durable and attractive, so pretty quick, folks started asking him to make them something. Through some hard years on the ranch Lawrence says that making the bits and spurs “Kind of kept the wolf away from the door!”

Word of mouth has kept him busier than he could have imagined. An order for a bit or spurs today would probably have an 18 month wait before delivery, but the ranchers and cowboys are patient, knowing that it will be worth the wait.

“I call that job security,” says Lawrence, adding, “You can tell the season by the orders. Christmas and calving season are when I get the most orders.”

The seasons on the ranch also dictate how much time he can devote to his shop. Fall and winter he can get more hours in, with fall providing half and even whole days in the shop. But during calving and haying, he barely gets in the shop at all.

Besides the area ranchers, Lawrence says that he has filled orders from 33 states and six foreign countries. His spurs have been used by Tom Selleck in several movies, and calf roper Roy Cooper also uses a Lawrence bit, plus several top cowhorse trainers use his gear. He believes he has more of his bits and spurs in South Dakota than any other state, though.

“Some local people don’t know I do this,” says Lawrence, citing several times when someone stopped at a business in Alzada inquiring about the bit and spur maker and no one knew who they were talking about. That doesn’t concern Ed, though, and it demonstrates what an unassuming craftsman that he is.

He clearly enjoys his craft, paging through multiple photo albums and remembering who each item was made for and even a story to go with the name.The variety of styles and designs are fascinating, some Ed’s ideas and some the customer’s.

The best part, according to Ed, is a satisfied customer. He strives to keep improving and says, “I’ve never been to my best yet. I always think that my next one will be better.”

The worst is not having enough time to work in his shop. “I look forward to the grandkids taking up more of the slack when they get bigger, so I can spend more time on this,” says Lawrence.

The subject of the unfinished saddle came up, and Lawrence explained that he was making that saddle for himself, and said, “I just always wanted to do it.” It’s his second one and he has really enjoyed working on it. “I think I’d like to do some more. I’ll probably build these kids some saddles at least.”

The grandkids, just like Justin and Nancy, will probably never have to put up with bad gear either. Grandson Kagan has commandeered one of Ed’s good saddle horses, though there isn’t evidence that grandpa minds at all. The big smile when he talks about the little cowboy is proof of that.

Besides the gear he makes, Ed has other interests, stating “I love to go to brandings and ride a good horse,” adding, “This is still a saddle horse outfit. First thing I do in the morning is saddle a horse and go check the cows.” Lawrence has also been a brand inspector for quite a few years, so enjoys getting out and visiting folks while on that job.

The afternoon is waning, with evening shadows getting long, so tall, soft-spoken Ed Lawrence bridles his brown horse and steps aboard. He’ll make a pass through the cows and see that everything is okay before dark.

Calving season on his southeast Montana ranch is in full swing, so the tools in his shop will remain idle for a while. But, first chance he gets, he’ll be back at work on the quality Ed Lawrence Handmade Bits and Spurs that he is known for.

Just south of the tiny town of Alzada, MT, lies the Lawrence Ranch nestled along the protected meadows of the Little Missouri River. Hereford and black-baldy cows graze the spring grass, their calves sheltered from the wind by the trees and brush of the river bottom.

Tucked into the yard between the house and corrals is the workshop of Ed Lawrence. His work benches evidence his craft, from bits and spurs to leather work. A saddle on a stand is about half done, plus there are bridles and other gear waiting for repairs. Primarily a bit and spur maker, Lawrence also makes buckles and an occasional jewelry piece.

In 1977, Ed was given a bag of miscellaneous gear from an old friend. In that bag was an old bit that was in pretty tough shape. The bit intrigued Lawrence, and he says, “I redid that bit and it took off from there.” He found that he really enjoyed working on that bit, so he started making some bits and spurs when he had a little time.

He liked being able to have nice gear for his own use, too.

“My first bridle was an old workhorse bridle with the blinders cut off, one shortened driving line and one braided rein,” he laughed.

His wife Mary chuckled and said of their son, “Justin’s never had to work with bad tack! He’s always had the good stuff that Ed’s made.”

Justin and his wife Kelcie, have two kids, Kagan, 6, and Dallie, 5. They are on the ranch with Ed and Mary, plus Justin is a well known cowhorse trainer who shows all over the west. The bits, buckles and spurs that Justin uses are all made by his dad.

Their daughter Nancy and her husband Doug Thorson live near Quinn, SD, and have three children, Grace, in college, Cassidy in high school, and Hannah, 5.

Very proud of their family, Ed has made something special for all of the grandkids, and it does his heart good to see them using it.

From the beginning, Ed’s gear was functional, durable and attractive, so pretty quick, folks started asking him to make them something. Through some hard years on the ranch Lawrence says that making the bits and spurs “Kind of kept the wolf away from the door!”

Word of mouth has kept him busier than he could have imagined. An order for a bit or spurs today would probably have an 18 month wait before delivery, but the ranchers and cowboys are patient, knowing that it will be worth the wait.

“I call that job security,” says Lawrence, adding, “You can tell the season by the orders. Christmas and calving season are when I get the most orders.”

The seasons on the ranch also dictate how much time he can devote to his shop. Fall and winter he can get more hours in, with fall providing half and even whole days in the shop. But during calving and haying, he barely gets in the shop at all.

Besides the area ranchers, Lawrence says that he has filled orders from 33 states and six foreign countries. His spurs have been used by Tom Selleck in several movies, and calf roper Roy Cooper also uses a Lawrence bit, plus several top cowhorse trainers use his gear. He believes he has more of his bits and spurs in South Dakota than any other state, though.

“Some local people don’t know I do this,” says Lawrence, citing several times when someone stopped at a business in Alzada inquiring about the bit and spur maker and no one knew who they were talking about. That doesn’t concern Ed, though, and it demonstrates what an unassuming craftsman that he is.

He clearly enjoys his craft, paging through multiple photo albums and remembering who each item was made for and even a story to go with the name.The variety of styles and designs are fascinating, some Ed’s ideas and some the customer’s.

The best part, according to Ed, is a satisfied customer. He strives to keep improving and says, “I’ve never been to my best yet. I always think that my next one will be better.”

The worst is not having enough time to work in his shop. “I look forward to the grandkids taking up more of the slack when they get bigger, so I can spend more time on this,” says Lawrence.

The subject of the unfinished saddle came up, and Lawrence explained that he was making that saddle for himself, and said, “I just always wanted to do it.” It’s his second one and he has really enjoyed working on it. “I think I’d like to do some more. I’ll probably build these kids some saddles at least.”

The grandkids, just like Justin and Nancy, will probably never have to put up with bad gear either. Grandson Kagan has commandeered one of Ed’s good saddle horses, though there isn’t evidence that grandpa minds at all. The big smile when he talks about the little cowboy is proof of that.

Besides the gear he makes, Ed has other interests, stating “I love to go to brandings and ride a good horse,” adding, “This is still a saddle horse outfit. First thing I do in the morning is saddle a horse and go check the cows.” Lawrence has also been a brand inspector for quite a few years, so enjoys getting out and visiting folks while on that job.

The afternoon is waning, with evening shadows getting long, so tall, soft-spoken Ed Lawrence bridles his brown horse and steps aboard. He’ll make a pass through the cows and see that everything is okay before dark.

Calving season on his southeast Montana ranch is in full swing, so the tools in his shop will remain idle for a while. But, first chance he gets, he’ll be back at work on the quality Ed Lawrence Handmade Bits and Spurs that he is known for.


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