With young blood rare in the world of bespoke leather chaps for the rodeo community, 23-year old Lane Stuckey stands out.
When Stuckey was given a Tandy Leather factory kit for Christmas in his early teens, he was hooked; he knew what he would pursue even way back then.
“Leatherwork has been my passion since I was 14 years old and it all started the way most leatherworkers end up starting,” said Stuckey. “I messed around with the kit my grandparents had given me and began to make small projects but it wasn’t until I was about 16 years old that I started to pursue it with bigger projects, such as chaps and bags.”
With Stuckey being a fourth-generation rodeo contestant himself and firmly a part of the community, he was quite sure about the kind of leatherwork he was into.
“I always loved custom-made leatherwork and the designs and styles that were being made by other craftsmen, and so I decided that I wanted to pursue that and create my own customized products for my friends and people in the rodeo community,” added Stuckey. “Growing up around the rodeo and ranching world, custom leatherwork is in a high demand and a necessity.”
So what started as a hobby soon turned into a serious vocation.
When Stuckey graduated from high school, he moved out to Rocky Mountain House to build log homes, focusing on his leatherwork in the evenings.
And it was not until Sept. 2014 that he started focusing on leatherwork as a full time job.
“Me and my fiancée recently moved back to the Stettler area where I grew up and so far I have built items for PBR Canada, CFR, NFR and numerous other rodeo contestants, as well as local ranchers and farmers,” said Stuckey. “I have built pro rodeo queen chaps as well for the Strathmore and Benalto rodeos and the relatively new sport of mounted shooting has brought me numerous orders as well.”
Stuckey’s customers are spread all over the world and a lot of them are just by word of mouth.
“My leatherwork has gone across Canada, numerous states in the US, Mexico and even as far as Australia,” said Stuckey. “My customers come from all walks of life, but mainly the rodeo world is where they are from.”
Although Stuckey likes a lot of the old craftsmanship, he tries to give his leather works a contemporary outlook.
“The modern rodeo cowboy is always evolving and fashion trends come and go, so I try to keep up to date on all the new styles and am continually developing my own style that I hope will catch on, and being a rodeo cowboy myself has helped with this and been very beneficial,” noted Stuckey.
With his leatherwork mainly consisting of custom orders such as chaps, halters, bags, spur straps, and belts, Stuckey has also ventured out into saddles recently, completing his first saddle.
“I have built everything from home décor to accessories in the rodeo arena and though I am mostly self taught, I personally think that it is a good thing and experimenting on my own has helped me in leather work designs because you learn how things work first hand, not just by being told by someone how it’s supposed to work,” he added. “I spent a lot of time with my grandfather learning how to braid leather as well and even did some leather carving projects with him when I was first starting out, so I owe a lot of my success to him.”
According to Stuckey, sometimes the demand for the leather work is so high that craftsmen often don’t pay attention to quality.
“I dislike how most things are made this day and age where they are designed to fall apart after a few months and you are forced to replace it every so often,” said Stuckey. “I have tried to go back to the old ways of craftsmanship and I only buy the highest quality leather and hardware, and stand by my work, providing lifetime guarantee on everything I build.”
He says he wants his products to serve generations.
“There is a reason that old saddles and tack are still around today, it’s because the makers spent the extra time to work on it properly,” said Stuckey. “I want my work to be around for generations to come and I hand draw all of my patterns so they are originals, and then transfer that pattern to the leather and start carving it out.”
With most of his orders coming by word of mouth, his leather products sold under LS Leatherwork are definitely well sought after.