attaching cowboy belt buckles

Attaching Cowboy Belt Buckles: Rachet and Clasps

There are a few important practical processes that come with any Western or cowboy belt buckle, and one of these is the attachment of the buckle to your actual belt. Whether your belt is leather or any similar material, and whether you’re competing in a rodeo event or just going for a stylish look, knowing how to attach and fasten the buckle properly is important.

At A Cut Above Buckles, we’re here to offer a wide range of rodeo and custom cowboy belt buckles for clients around Utah and Texas, plus to offer tips on any form of use or similar need. There are several distinct kinds of belt buckles, and precisely how they’ll be attached to your belt will vary depending on this. This two-part blog series will go over all of the most common, plus some general approaches for attaching your Western belt buckle.

Why a Secure Fit Matters

Before we look at the different ways your belt buckle can be attached, it’s important to understand why a secure fit matters and what kind of impact this has on your overall look. A bulky or poorly-fitted belt buckle will draw attention away from any other stylish elements you might be wearing with it, not to mention detracting from whatever purpose the belt serves (fashion, work, etc.) A securely-fitted belt buckle should be relatively flush against your belt and the pants you’re wearing with it. Depending on what kind of style you’re going for, there may be some bulk due to a larger buckle size or intricate design elements – but this is still better than having an overly-loose fit.

Ratchet Buckles

When we talk about ratchet buckles, we’re referring to a type of belt buckle that features two pieces. The first is a permanent bar, typically made with leather or metal and held in place by an adjustable set of teeth known as the ratchet. This second piece fits over the bar after you’ve placed your belt and can be adjusted to fit snugly around it.

The actual attachment process for ratchet buckles is very easy. Simply open up the clasp/teeth, insert your belt, and then move the ratchet piece over the bar. After that, you can adjust it by pushing down on the teeth until they lock into place.

Belt Buckles with Clasps/Clips

The second major type of belt buckle is one that features a more traditional clasp or clip. This type of buckle looks a bit different from the ratchet buckle, with a more traditional shape and the clasp itself being built into it.

Usually, these buckles are heavier than the ratchet variety, and they’ll be found mostly in dressier or fancier belts. Attachment is almost identical to ratchets – just open up the clasp, insert your belt, and then close it until it’s secure.

In part two of our series, we’ll discuss some other unique types of belt buckles and their attachment processes. For more here, or to learn about any of our quality belt buckles or Western accessories for clients in Texas and Utah, speak to our team at A Cut Above Buckles today.

becoming rough stock rider

Becoming a Rough Stock Rider: Mentor, Fitness, Technique

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the basics on what it takes to become a rough stock rodeo rider. Events like bareback, saddle bronc and bull riding all fall under the category of rough stock riding, and it takes a combination of the right physical equipment and the right attitude to enter this world.

At A Cut Above Buckles, we’re here to offer custom rodeo belt buckles and numerous other accessories that are ideal for various parts of the rodeo experience. While part one of our series went over the proper equipment to have on-hand plus the right mindset to adopt if you’re becoming a rough stock rider, today’s part two will look into some other themes to closely consider as you push into this realm.

Consider a Mentor

Mentorship is valuable in many fields and areas of life, and the same applies if you’re starting to pursue a passion for rough stock riding. A mentor is someone who has knowledge and experience in the field, and can offer advice on various topics to help guide your journey. Your mentor may be an experienced rider themselves, or they might be involved with rodeo through another capacity such as livestock management or event organization.

There are numerous ways you can lean on a mentor to help you as you start to ride rough stock, from understanding the fundamentals of a competition to learning how to stay safe while on the back of a bull or bronc. A mentor can also provide insight into industry trends, as well as connections that could help you move forward in your journey.

Buff Up Your Physical Fitness

Rough stock riding is a demanding physical activity that requires the right kind of fitness in order to stay safe and excel at the sport. It’s important to condition yourself for the rigors of rough stock riding, which could include strength training, running, stretching and core exercises designed to keep you agile and limber during your rides.

Improving Technique

Your physical fitness should extend beyond just your body, however. It’s important to have a thorough understanding of the animal you’re riding, both in terms of their habits and tendencies as well as the effects they can have on your body if something goes wrong. Knowing how to properly mount and dismount a bull or bronc will go a long way towards keeping yourself safe from any potential mishaps, as well as building your confidence for the ride itself.

At A Cut Above Buckles, we offer a number of custom rodeo buckles and accessories to complete your look when participating in rough stock competitions. From our selection of championship belt buckles to clothing items like hats, shirts and more, you can find everything you need to feel confident in the ring.

We hope this two-part blog series has been informative in helping to kickstart your rough stock rider career. For more information on our custom rodeo buckles and accessories, contact us today!

rough stock rider equipment

Becoming a Rough Stock Rider: Equipment and Mindset

While there are a number of different events that take place within many rodeos, some of the most well-known throughout popular culture today are rough stock riding events. These include themes like bareback, saddle bronc and bull riding competitions, all events where the animal being ridden is meant to buck as part of the event.

At A Cut Above Buckles, we’re proud to provide custom rodeo belt buckles and numerous other rodeo accessories or items to clients in Utah, Texas and nearby areas. We’ve helped many would-be rough stock riders figure out exactly what they need to enter this role, from equipment to the kinds of personality traits you’ll need and more. In this two-part blog series, we’ll go over the varying elements it takes to become a rough stock rodeo rider.

The Right Equipment

First and foremost, any rough stock rider needs to have the right equipment in order to be successful. Of course, this means finding a quality horse or bull and getting it ready for the competition. This can mean investing in special training sessions, though many riders are adept enough at this themselves to avoid such costs.

In terms of additional equipment, you’ll need various pieces of safety gear, such as a hard hat with a face guard or helmet and protective vest. You’ll also need various straps or rope to help you stay on the animal during the ride, and practice is key in terms of learning how to properly use this equipment.

Finally, many riders put significant effort into designing their own custom rodeo belt buckles and other accessories they can wear during the event. This part of the process is often overlooked but is an important element in terms of creating a visually appealing rider and commanding respect on the rodeo grounds.

A Gritty Mindset

Simply put, rough stock riding is not for the faint of heart. It’s a dangerous sport and requires a great deal of grit and determination in order to be successful. Not only do you have to physically prepare yourself for the ride, but mentally as well; it’s important to understand the risks before entering into this part of the rodeo world.

Mental toughness is also important during the actual ride. You’ll need to be able to remain focused and alert even as your horse or bull is jumping, bucking, spinning and doing other tricks. This kind of focus requires a great deal of practice and a clear understanding of the task at hand.

It’s also important to be prepared for failure; no matter how much practice you put in, there are still risks of not completing the full 8-second ride or being disqualified. You’ll need to be able to accept any outcome and continue on with your rodeo career.

These are just a few of the elements it takes to become a successful rough stock rider. In our next blog post, we’ll go into greater detail. For more on this, or to learn about any of our custom rodeo belt buckles, accessories or other Western items, speak to our team at A Cut Above Buckles today.

rodeo themed holiday gifts

Utah Rodeo-Themed Holiday Gifts to Consider

The holidays are around the corner, and people around Utah are looking for great gift ideas for those close to them. For those who enjoy rodeos and various other Western themes, these are often ideal starting points for gift ideas – and there are numerous area you might consider within this realm.

At A Cut Above Buckles, we’re happy to offer an unmatched selection of rodeo belt buckles and various other Western accessories for clients around Utah, whether you participate in rodeos yourself or just enjoy the fashion styles they come with. Here are a few of our top gift ideas for this upcoming holiday season for the rodeo lover in your life.

A Custom Belt Buckle

One of the most popular items we offer at A Cut Above Buckles is our custom belt buckles, which are perfect for those who want a unique gift that makes a statement. We work with clients across Utah to design and create one-of-a-kind custom belt buckles that reflect the recipient’s personality and preferences.

Whether you’re looking for an item that can commemorate a special event, or just something to show off your passion for the rodeo, our custom belt buckles are sure to be a hit. They’re ideal not only for those who actively participate in rodeos, but also for those who simply appreciate the fashion or aesthetic.

Western-Style Jewelry

Another great gift idea from A Cut Above Buckles is our selection of Western jewelry, which are perfect for adding a stylish touch to any outfit. From classic rodeo-style bracelets and rings to intricate necklaces and earrings, there’s something for everyone in our selection. We also offer custom jewelry pieces that can be designed to match the recipient’s taste, making it one of the most special gifts you could give.

Many clients love our selection of pendants and necklaces, which offer a timeless Western style with subtle hints of luxury. They’re perfect for adding a dash of rodeo-style flair to any look, and our experienced jewelers can customize them to perfectly match the recipient’s preferences.

Other Accessories

There are a wide range of other accessories a rodeo lover might enjoy. Spurs, for instance, can be great for those who actively participate in rodeos, while Western-style hats can make a fashionable statement. We also offer custom items like belt keepers and buckles, as well as unique leather pieces including wallets, knife sheaths, and more – all of which make for excellent gifts.

No matter what you’re looking for this holiday season, A Cut Above Buckles has something that’s sure to make the perfect gift for any Western-style enthusiast in Utah. Browse our selection of custom and pre-made items today to find the perfect addition to your holiday shopping list!

stories Western fashion history

Telling Stories With Western Fashion: History, Materials

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the simple concepts you might consider if you’re using Western fashion to tell a story. This is a common way people utilize numerous different areas of fashion, and the Western garb world in particular offers a number of great options for those going down this road.

At A Cut Above Buckles, we’re proud to offer a wide range of Western products, from trophy and rodeo belt buckles to Western jewelry, Western accessories and more. In today’s part two of our series, we’ll go over some other ways of going about telling a story with your Western fashion.

Consider the History

There are many different kinds of Western fashion, and it can be useful to consider the history of the different sub-genres of this style. One example is Texas country attire, which was created in the late 20th century by artists such as George Strait and honky tonk singer David Allan Coe. This look involved brown or tobacco-colored boots and hats, plain jeans and denim shirts, bolo ties (or other necktie styles) to match the belt buckle, and a Western hat.

This look is historically significant because it was a major milestone in the history of country music fashion. By creating this style, artists like Coe created their own brand that fans could immediately recognize as part of this country music subculture.

Another example of Western fashion that has a fascinating history is the grunge look, which became popular in the 1990s as an alternative to mainstream style. This consisted of torn-up jeans, flannel shirts (often with a plaid pattern) and beanie hats. It was inspired by bands like Pearl Jam and Nirvana, who often combined Western fashion with heavy metal elements for a truly unique look.

Think About the Materials

In addition to considering the history and sub-genres of Western fashion, it’s also important to think about what kind of materials you want your clothing or accessories to be made of. One example is leather, which has been used throughout history to make Western wear. You can find everything from leather boots to belts and jackets in the Western fashion world, and this material has become a hallmark of cowboy style.

Wool is another popular material that’s commonly used in Western fashion. Usually woven into flannel or plaid patterns, wool clothing was first introduced during the California gold rush in the 1800s. It was used then because it was less expensive than leather and offered a great look, which made it perfect for the rugged outdoor life that early pioneers lived.

Other materials that you might consider incorporating into Western fashion include denim (a staple of jeans) and cotton, both of which were originally developed in the 1800s by Eli Whitney to make the manufacture of clothing more efficient.

For more on how to use Western fashion to tell a story, or to learn about any of our custom belt buckles or other great Western products, speak to our team at A Cut Above Buckles today.

stories western fashion contrasts

Telling Stories With Western Fashion: Contrasts, Layers

Visual storytelling is a form of general storytelling that’s immensely popular and desirable among many people, and one of its many possible forms of expression comes in the realm of fashion and clothing. The clothes you wear can help tell a story about you in several different ways, and the world of Western and rodeo fashion is no exception.

At A Cut Above Buckles, we’re here to provide numerous forms of Western fashion and accessories, from our custom rodeo and Western belt buckles to Western jewelry, accessories and more. We’re also happy to offer tips and expertise to clients in any way needed, including those looking to use our products to help tell a visual story. What are some simple concepts to consider if this is your goal? Here are several across this two-part blog series.

Contrasting or Complementing?

One of the first things you need to decide is whether you want your clothing choices to contrast with or complement each other. There are benefits and drawbacks to both approaches.

Contrasting colors can certainly help make a statement. If you’re looking to be noticed, this may be the route for you. However, it’s important to make sure that the colors you choose actually contrast well with each other, rather than just clash. You’ll also want to be aware of the overall message you’re trying to send. Wearing all black might convey a very different message than wearing a mix of black and white.

Complementary colors, on the other hand, can help create a more polished look. If you’re going for a more classic Western aesthetic, this may be the way to go. You’ll want to make sure that the colors you choose actually complement each other well, of course. A good rule of thumb is to choose colors that are next to each other on the color wheel.

Layer Considerations

As you’re putting together your outfit, it’s important to think about layering. This can be a great way to add both contrast and interest to your look. It can also help you stay warmer in cooler weather or cooler in warmer weather, which is always a bonus.

One thing to keep in mind when layering is proportion. You don’t want your layers to be so bulky that they make it difficult for you to move around or that they overwhelm your overall look. It’s a good idea to start with thinner, more fitted layers and then add on from there.

Texture is another important consideration when layering. Mixing different textures can help create interest and depth in your look. Just be careful not to go overboard. Too many different textures can be overwhelming and make it difficult for people to really appreciate any one element of your outfit.

In part two of our series, we’ll go over some further considerations to keep in mind as you’re putting together your story-telling Western outfit. Stay tuned! In the meantime, be sure to browse our selection of rodeo and Western fashion products at A Cut Above Buckles at your nearest convenience.

Trophy Buckle to be Awarded to our Make A Difference Challenge Winner!

Announcing the Winner of the A Cut Above Buckles Make a Difference Challenge:

Mrs. Jackie Harris of Pittsburg, PA

For her ‘cut above’ hard work and dedication towards helping sick children and raising funds for cancer Societies and animal welfare, “saving lives one ride at a time” through her organization ‘Dreaming of Three.’ (Scroll Down to see Jackie’s Story).

Jackie will work with our designers to choose a design she likes (or create a new design!) for her hand-crafted personalized buckle she will receive for winning the Make A Difference Challenge.

We were overwhelmed with amazing stories of many people who are ‘a cut above’. We were so inspired by many of these stories that we are going to award custom key fobs to 14 additional nominees who are also working very hard to make a positive difference. These hand-cut custom key fobs will be designed by A Cut Above Buckles Founder Andy Andrews and Vice-President Kyle Graff.

The 14 additional nominees receiving hand-cut custom key fobs are: Mark & Donna McCain, Brian Whitehead, Joe Powell, Paul Riggs, Michael Minix, Chance Long, The Riders of Innisfail Trail Ride Against Cancer, Penny Mitchell, Tia Borden, Pam Wolfe, Zac Peterson, Mark Drum, Stephanie Castle, and Justice Barker.

At A Cut Above Buckles, the phrase “A Cut Above” stands for more than just our name. We think it’s a way of life- to do more, go farther, last longer, and be a little bit better every day. Jackie and the additional 14 nominees recognized have gone far above and beyond to help others, overcome obstacles, and work hard to make a positive change in the lives of others, their community, and society.

Thank You again to all who participated in the A Cut Above Buckles Make a Difference Challenge. Stay tuned for our next Challenge.

Jackie’s Story:

Jackie Harris is the founder of Dreaming of Three (DO3), a non-profit organization to help raise funds for Cancer Societies and Animal Rescues by equestrians donating a portion of their winnings to these groups. She started up Do3 only last year after she lost both her father and step-father only 3 months apart from Cancer and Heart Disease. She only started Do3 expecting it would just be her and small group of people, but it quickly spread like wild fire and now Do3 is over 100 members strong dotted all over the U.S. Riders and Rodeo Competitors from all disciplines are welcomed to join and may choose to donate in many different ways. Some donate through winnings, some through hours in the saddle or pledge per ribbon won. Others who cannot ride can donate by matching another members donation.

Do3 also holds numerous fund raisers to help animal rescue groups. After hearing about Northstar, a paint horse who was doused in Kerosene and set on fire, Jackie immediately set up an online Auction and over $7,000 was raised to help Northstar. The story was so remarkable that the Northstar Foundation was set up, to help other animals who have been afflicted with trauma from humans.

Another amazing party of Do3 is the Rodeo Kids Program. Jackie started this when she first started up Do3. The Rodeo Kids program is set up for State Captains of Do3 to take a child who is battling or won the battle with cancer/disease for a fun filled night at the Rodeo. The child can watch the Do3 member compete, and typically if applicable, the rodeo announcer gives a shout out to the child and the child gets to meet the Rodeo Queen, Bull fighters, and others. They also get to have dinner at a nice local restaurant nearby and are showered with gifts from members and sponsors of Do3.

Jackie’s most recent large endeavor has been the Extreme Retired Racehorse Makeover Barrel Race for off the track thoroughbreds. Many Thoroughbreds are very capable of having success in the western discipline, and the challenge is to match 12 capable trainers with 12 off the track Thoroughbreds. After 100 days they compete in a free-style class and barrel class. The race has picked up a ton of momentum and is getting news coverage all over the US.

Now that Do3 is really getting on its feet members are able to hold their own Do3 Events to help out even more. For example, a local ‘See No Evil Benefit’ Barrel Series helps raise funds for the Texas Rodeo Kid Dominique McAllister, and what started out as a one day race has expanded into a series due the over-whelming response received from sponsors and locals.

According to the friend who nominated Jackie, none of this would have ever happened if it wasn’t for Jackie and her endless task of “Saving Lives One Ride At A Time”-

“She is the epitome of inspiration and has done so much for so many in such a short amount of time. I absolutely cannot imagine anyone more deserving than her. She without a doubt deserves recognition for creating Do3 and making such a difference in this world.”