Tom Balding celebrates a milestone anniversary this summer. Thirty years in business. He has a global clientele and was featured on the Discovery Channel.
Thirty years ago, Tom up and quit the aerospace industry in southern California where he was a precision welder. He moved to Ucross where a neighbor asked him: “Can you fix this?”
He did, and Tom Balding Bits and Spurs was off and running. Today, he employs 14 staff members and artisans with clients from all over the U.S. and world seeking his custom made spurs and bits and other horse-related, Western-related items — both functional and beautiful. It’s one of Sheridan’s best-known local brands.
He plans a week-long Open House during rodeo week, July 7-12, then a free community barbecue July 12 to say thanks.
Today is Week Six of the spring edition of the Sheridan Film Festival at Centennial Theatre. “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” is featured, the story of Nelson Mandela’s life from an impoverished childhood, to protest and imprisonment and later as the first democratically elected president of South Africa. The film received three Golden Globe and one Oscar nominations. It’s rated PG-13 and show times are 4:30 and 7:15 p.m.
The annual Empty Bowl fundraiser, sponsored by the Volunteers of America Northern Rockies will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Sheridan County YMCA. Proceeds will benefit the Sheridan Community Homeless Shelter. For more information, call Angela Lockard, 672-0475. The Y is located at 417 N. Jefferson.
One more good local event is the Festival of Cultures at Sheridan College. The event will bring attendees food and refreshment and entertainment from the Pacific Islands.
Save the date: Friday, March 21, 5:30 p.m. It’ll be inside the Bruce Hoffman Golden Dome.
Tickets are available inside the welcome center at the Edward A. Whitney Academic Center. The deadline to purchase tickets ($20) is this Friday, March 14.
I see by the paper……
Auctions of television memorabilia, particularly that from Westerns, is a hot commodity these days. At a recent High Noon Auctions event in Hollywood, the Colt .45 used by Marshal Matt Dillon (James Arness) in the series “Gunsmoke” fetched $50,000. This included the holster designed by Arvo Ojala. The TV series ran for 20 seasons, 1955 to 1975.
What’s noteworthy is that the leather craftsman/designer, Arvo Ojala, was a recognized, but unnamed member of the cast: he was the fellow shot by Marshal Dillon in a showdown in the show’s opening scenes. Again and again. Another Colt .45 used in the series, owned by the Tibbals family, is on display in Cody at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.
“There are two theories to arguing with a woman. Neither works.”
—Will Rogers, journalist/actor/social muse, 1879-1935