Incredible Workmanship and a Commitment to Quality!
Growing up in his father’s leather repair shop and showing horses, Jon Carpenter developed a passion for craftsmanship at a young age. So when the Arkansas native began looking to have a couple of well-made saddles made and came upon Elite Custom Saddles, he knew he’d found something special.
Not only did Jon commission ECS to build the saddles, he requested to be hands-on in the process. Over the next eight months, he became increasingly impressed with the company. The beautiful saddles and the high standards the makers held themselves to inspired Jon to invest in the shop. He took ownership of Elite Custom Saddles in 2015.
The saddlemaking company flourished with Jon, along with help from his longtime friend Harold Brown, who has been a concrete part of the business and helps with design, shows, and production logistics.
ECS takes pride in building saddles – both performance and work saddles – that combine function and beauty. Its saddlemakers are an incredible mix of talent and creativity. From material selection to tooling and painting, the staff is constantly innovating and updating styles and techniques. Each saddle is a handcrafted piece of equipment and art.
Investing in a custom saddle can be overwhelming, and ECS walks customers through the process from start to finish. No detail is overlooked, from tree size to tooling, and customers will ride in a saddle that fits their horse, looks sharp, and lasts a lifetime.
In 2021, Smarty Roping, which makes roping dummies and other training and educational tools, acquired ECS. Smarty Roping’s philosophy of excellence pairs well with Elite’s commitment to quality craftsmanship and workmanship.
Jon, who is passionate about steer wrestling and team roping, has been familiar with Smarty for some time, and is encouraged about the collaboration. “The partnership allows ECS to expand its footprint in the industry, increase production, and have stock saddles available to customers,” Jon says.
“Smarty prides its brand on the ‘Spirit of Excellence’ and has always dabbled with the idea of a saddle line,” says Smarty co-partner OC Ross. “Elite Custom Saddles was a natural fit for our business because of the quality behind its product and the fact that it is already established and respected.”
Smarty, headquartered in Mount Pleasant, Texas, got its start building roping machines for team ropers. Now, the company has expanded and makes training equipment for breakaway and tie down ropers, with more innovative training ideas in the works. Smarty continues to grow its menu of all-inclusive tack and gear to Western enthusiasts, adding an apparel line and collaborating with Weaver Leather on its Synergy line.