If you’re going to go Western, you’ll have to have the right gear to carry it off. Our Western Experience expert takes you shopping across Oklahoma.
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If you don’t know the difference between a straw Resistol and a 20x Stetson, shopping for Western gear and garb will involve an education along the way. Even if you’re an expert, you’ll be delighted to discover that some of the best Western shopping – from rodeo gear to custom boots, hats, saddles, tack artwork and even furniture – is found in the Sooner State.
Langston’s has been around since 1913, and the Stockyards City building that houses the flagship store has been around since 1910. Sure, a store that’s been around that long is likely to be a pretty good place to shop, but walk in and you’ll realize you wouldn’t care if it had opened yesterday. When it comes to the basics of Western haberdashery – boots, jeans and shirts – you’ll find what you want at Langston’s. Despite the cool neighborhood and local nature of the store, the prices are as good as you’d find at a national chain.
Norma’s is smack dab in the middle of downtown Caddo. And Caddo is the sort of place where you might expect a stagecoach to come rolling into town at any time. Norma’s is stuffed with jeans, shirts, outerwear, hats and boots, and the building is full of character, with sloping floors and men’s and women’s wear separated by a wall down the middle. That authentic feel is part of the fun of shopping here – that and a darn fine selection of goods.
Sure, Resistol, Stetson and Bailey all make fine hats, but Shorty will make you one you can truly call your own. The ultimate cowboy hat has to be Shorty’s custom-made 100x – the 100x means it’s all genuine beaver fur, and you’ll never need to worry about it in the rain. Shorty starts with a blank and uses traditional equipment and a careful hand to block and shape the hat to a customer’s liking. The lining and hatband are sewn in by hand. Less-expensive beaver blend hats (50x and 20x) are also available. Shorty’s can also resize and recondition a hat you already own.
Mock Brothers has been around since 1941. They make saddles on site, which is fun to watch, and the store also carries upper-end production saddle brands including Circle Y, Dan Martin, HR Saddlery and Bob’s Custom Saddles. They carry Western gifts, including sculptures, watches and accessories. Naturally they have a full compliment of Western clothing, tack and rodeo supplies. And boots, of course.
Ray Dorwart will tell you that store-bought boots are like canned biscuits – they’re easy to find and will satisfy a customer's immediate needs. But a foot is a unique thing, and Dorwart says he’s never seen a boot that truly fit more than one foot. Dorwart Custom Cowboy Boots makes only custom boots. They’re made to measure, one pair at a time, to each customer’s taste and comfort from top-grade materials. Side seams, welts and soles are stitched with hot-waxed linen thread, which Dorwart guarantees against ripping.
Fred Schafer of Schafer Hat Works makes hats one at a time and he’s made them for some pretty famous heads – including heads of state. Visit Schafer’s shop and you can join the ranks of his star-studded customer list that includes both President Bushes, Charlie Daniels, Toby Keith, General Norman Schwarzkopf, Dale Earnhart, Jr. and Travis Tritt. He’ll tell you that with 35 years of experience under his hatband, there isn’t a head he can’t fit. But much of this hat maker’s charm is his understanding of a person’s emotional tie to his headwear. He lives for that moment when a customer dons the hat and realizes it’s made him a new person, too.
Rick Yocham can make you just about anything. From custom saddles to custom sofas, Yocham and his wife, Rhonda, have been at it since 1974. Rick took a liking to cowboys back in the fourth grade and turned his interest into a business. He started out making saddles and tack, but a growing family launched an interest in making furniture. Everything in Yocham's is cowboy, and if it’s too big to take with you, he’ll ship it. Check out some of the unique tables, sofas and chairs. And have a look at the shaving kits, purses, holsters – well, as I said, Rick Yocham can make you just about anything.