GREAT FALLS — Whether it be working livestock, running barrels, roping or recreation, the saddle is an essential piece of gear for any horseman.
Grizzly Saddlery in Great Falls continues to carry on a legacy that began in the late 1800s after Victor Ario, an Austrian immigrant was inspired by western culture.
He established Victor Ario Saddlery in 1897 after traveling to Montana.
The Great Falls business changed hands in the late 1950s and then again in 1978, and today the legacy lives on through Grizzly Saddlery.
From the very beginning, Ario kept records of all the saddles that he built.
The ledgers list the price of the saddle, down to the very last detail on how each piece was constructed.
This attention to detail has been telling the story of the working cowboy for over a century.
“If your grandfather had a saddle made in 1940, I can actually look it up,” Said Jeff Gollehon, owner of Grizzly Saddlery.
The history on horseback continues to thrive today; Gollehon purchased the company in 1990 after working for Grizzly Saddlery for nine years and is proud to carry on Ario’s work.
He says Grizzly Saddlery builds all types of saddles from roughout ranch saddles to fully tooled or stamped ropers.