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Shasta Leatherworks
po box 309
harper, OR 97906

Telephone: 541-358-1111

Year Started: 2004

# American Employees: 1
  There’s no substitute for experience. Just ask Mike Domeyer of Shasta Leatherworks. His story goes back about 45 years. “As a kid, about eight or so, I helped my uncle who put up hay with a team of horses. I got to drive the wagon to the barn. I took a corner too tight one day and caught the wagon on the gatepost. It ripped the harness. So my uncle made me go fix the harness. And that was my first taste of stitching leather. And after that, I was always fixing my own saddles and built my own spur straps and chaps. And I just kept doing it.” And it was practical experience, as Mike managed ranches in California and, for a few years, New Mexico. When some leather needed fixing, well, it was up to him to do it. Then, in the late ‘80s, he got into cowboy action shooting. One thing led to another, and before long he was making holsters and selling them to folks in the sport. Then he started doing garment leather—handbags, shoulder bags, saddlebags. And chaps and chinks. Now let’s be clear about it—Mike Domeyer is into chaps and chinks. His SASS handle is Wooley Maker. He takes a special pride in making cowboy leggings. And he likes to make them historically accurate. There’s the usuals—shotgun chaps, the straight-legged style favored by working cowboys across the West since the 1870s. Batwings were developed after the end of the open range era. They are wider than shotguns and flare out at the bottom; you’ll see them on many top rodeo competitors, especially bronc and bull riders. You’ll see both styles in cowboy mounted shooting. Some folks prefer chinks, which come from the Spanish tradition. Domeyer says, “They’re short because the vaqueros usually wore a long and tall legging above their boot. And so the chinks were cut to come down to that level, just below the knee. That’s where the fringe starts, going down another four or five inches. And the fringe was cut so that in the rain, it worked as drippage—it kept the water off the lower leg.” They tend to be cooler than most chap styles. They’re popular in the southwest and parts of California. Then there’s the polaina, which is Spanish for legging, and goes from the knee down to the boot …“A lot of cowboy shooters like them because they’re period correct,” says Domeyer. “Buffalo Bill wore them in his shows—and they aren’t as hot as other styles.” And he makes woolies. They look great, but they aren’t terribly practical for everyday wear in hot climates—or in mounted shooting. But Shasta Leatherworks offers a good variety of them, especially for folks who are dressing up for parades and special events (or work in the mountains). All are made of top leather, so they can be used for everyday ranch work and/or equestrian sports. Everything is custom made to the buyer’s specifications. Domeyer offers cowhide, buffalo, and a number of exotics like ostrich. You can choose colors, fringing, fasteners, inlays, tooling and more. Shasta Leatherworks offers other items for mounted shooters. Custom cowboy cuffs are popular with many. And Domeyer makes the Thunderfist Rig, a shoulder holster set that mounts both guns on the chest for easy access. But he remains fascinated with chinks and chaps. In fact, at his shop in northern California, in the shadow of Mount Shasta, he has a pair of 1889 woolies hanging on the wall. They were made by the legendary Miles City Saddlery, a name that meant quality back in the Old West (and today). Those woolies symbolize experience, tradition, history and authenticity. They represent the things that stand the test of time. And they do a good job of explaining just where Mike Domeyer and Shasta Leatherworks is coming from. There’s just no substitute for experience.  
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