28th Governor's Arts Awards Honors Sheridan Saddlemaker

At the 28th Annual Governor's Arts Awards Saturday, Sheridan saddlemaker Don Butler was one of the recipients to be honored at a banquet held at Little America in Cheyenne.

Representative Rosie Berger attended, and said of the award winning craftsman.

Butler's biography indicates that his passion for leatherwork began as a hobby 46 years ago, stamping belts for the Otto F. Ernst Saddlery Company in Sheridan.

Butler opened Custom Cowboy Shop in 1976 in the back of a barbershop on Main Street. His early work focused mostly on belts, wallets, albums, saddlemaking and repair. As his tooling artistry developed, he perfected the "Sheridan Style" of carving that mentors like the late, great Don King had introduced to the area.

Butler's business grew into two locations, with a shop in Cody opening in 1990. Butler also taught himself to engrave silver.

Also receiving the 2009 Governor's Arts Award: Duane Evenson of Gillette, Naoma J. Tate of Cody, Louise Wesswick of Sweetwater County, and Wyoming Educators of Secondary Theatre, or WEST.

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