Jory Zurcher creates one-of-a-kind leatherwork | TheFencePost.com

Jory Zurcher creates one-of-a-kind leatherwork

Jo Chytka
Hemingford, Neb.

Photo by Jo ChytkaJory Zurcher with chaps he made for himself as well as a rope can cover and strap.

Jory Zurcher got his start in leatherwork at a very young age. “When I was about four or five years old I was with my dad when he picked up a pair of chaps that Tim Bath had made him,” Jory said, “and Tim gave me some scrap leather. I sculpted a bronc saddle that was about 3 to 3-1/2 inches and covered it with that leather. I had a little Breyer guy that I made chaps for. I also made little bull ropes and put them on toy bulls.”

Jory is from Mitchell, Neb., and attends Chadron State College while competing on their rodeo team in calf roping, bronc riding and team roping. He has a degree in Ag Business and is studying Art Education with the goal of teaching art/ag at the secondary level.

“I’ve always enjoyed art and when I traveled with my family to rodeos I would draw in the car. I did some sculpting when I was younger and I’m taking a class in it next semester. I’m really looking forward to it and hope to do more.”

Jory comes from a rodeo/horse background. His dad was a bull rider and his older brother Chad competed in Cowboy Mounted Shooting competitions. Jory also competed in the shooting competitions, and even won a .45 pistol competing in Douglas, Wyo., but prefers rodeo which he has competed in Little Britches, high school and now college level. “I’ve done all of the events, except steer wrestling, but prefer bronc riding and calf roping,” Jory commented.

The family has always raised and trained horses. “I like to train my own,” Jory said, “that way I know all about them and what I have. But I have a lot to learn about training and am always looking to learn more.

“My rodeoing and leatherwork are a nice fit,” Jory said. “I’ve made about 25-30 pairs of chaps. The first ones I made when I was a junior in high school, for friends Brock and Chase Oliver and J.W. Moore. I made belts in high school too.

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“Tim Bath, from Burns, Wyo., has helped me and taught me a lot. He got me started and helped with designing and has answered a lot of questions. I’ve gotten advice from several people and am always willing to learn; and there is some trial and error.

“I started sewing leather when I was 13, on an antique Singer sewing machine that was hand cranked. Before that I sewed everything by hand, using a whip stitch, with a lot of help from my dad. I now have an industrial Juki leather sewing machine, but I’ve kept the old Singer.”

Zurcher’s creative process starts with the appropriate type of leather for a project. Chaps require softer, pre-dyed leather, while tooling leather is thicker and is an all natural color. When making an item out of tooling leather, it has to be cut, skived, patterns drawn, tooled, and finished with a clear lacquer or sheen. Jory does tooling, cutouts, inlays and dying; whatever the customers would like. He will also add embellishments such as conchos, beading and silver dots. Jory’s chaps patterns are all his own design and with the exception of one duplicate, no two pair are the same. “There is a resemblance to Tim’s style because he has helped me so much,” Jory said.

Zurcher creates a number of items including spur straps, chinks, head stalls, belts, day planners, Bible covers, checkbook covers, rope can straps and chaps. “The most unusual thing I’ve made is a leather curtain,” Jory said. “I always like a new challenge and the opportunity to get better. I ask around to learn and am ready for any advice. My favorite thing to make is chaps and I would like to make a roping saddle some day.”

Jory has helped to pay for his college education with his leatherwork. “The money is nice and helpful, but mostly I just love doing it. I hope to have my own shop some day.”

To keep his drawing skills honed Jory sketches pictures for friends and donates some of his artwork to events like the Black Tie Calf Fry yearly fundraiser for the Chadron State College rodeo team. “Hopefully, I can eventually sell my drawings,” Zurcher said.

Zurcher’s artistic talents extend to music as well. When he was a sophomore in high school he got kicked during a bronc ride which resulted in an injury to his left arm/hand. “My hand was numb and I needed something to do to get healed up, so I took up guitar.” He had already played drums with his brother since junior high. He and high school friend J.W. have a small band now and have played at rodeos just for fun, and with friends like Sam Munsick just to kill time.

“I am blessed with a great family and friends. Everything I’ve done has been with a lot of help from them.”

Jory Zurcher got his start in leatherwork at a very young age. “When I was about four or five years old I was with my dad when he picked up a pair of chaps that Tim Bath had made him,” Jory said, “and Tim gave me some scrap leather. I sculpted a bronc saddle that was about 3 to 3-1/2 inches and covered it with that leather. I had a little Breyer guy that I made chaps for. I also made little bull ropes and put them on toy bulls.”

Jory is from Mitchell, Neb., and attends Chadron State College while competing on their rodeo team in calf roping, bronc riding and team roping. He has a degree in Ag Business and is studying Art Education with the goal of teaching art/ag at the secondary level.

“I’ve always enjoyed art and when I traveled with my family to rodeos I would draw in the car. I did some sculpting when I was younger and I’m taking a class in it next semester. I’m really looking forward to it and hope to do more.”

Jory comes from a rodeo/horse background. His dad was a bull rider and his older brother Chad competed in Cowboy Mounted Shooting competitions. Jory also competed in the shooting competitions, and even won a .45 pistol competing in Douglas, Wyo., but prefers rodeo which he has competed in Little Britches, high school and now college level. “I’ve done all of the events, except steer wrestling, but prefer bronc riding and calf roping,” Jory commented.

The family has always raised and trained horses. “I like to train my own,” Jory said, “that way I know all about them and what I have. But I have a lot to learn about training and am always looking to learn more.

“My rodeoing and leatherwork are a nice fit,” Jory said. “I’ve made about 25-30 pairs of chaps. The first ones I made when I was a junior in high school, for friends Brock and Chase Oliver and J.W. Moore. I made belts in high school too.

“Tim Bath, from Burns, Wyo., has helped me and taught me a lot. He got me started and helped with designing and has answered a lot of questions. I’ve gotten advice from several people and am always willing to learn; and there is some trial and error.

“I started sewing leather when I was 13, on an antique Singer sewing machine that was hand cranked. Before that I sewed everything by hand, using a whip stitch, with a lot of help from my dad. I now have an industrial Juki leather sewing machine, but I’ve kept the old Singer.”

Zurcher’s creative process starts with the appropriate type of leather for a project. Chaps require softer, pre-dyed leather, while tooling leather is thicker and is an all natural color. When making an item out of tooling leather, it has to be cut, skived, patterns drawn, tooled, and finished with a clear lacquer or sheen. Jory does tooling, cutouts, inlays and dying; whatever the customers would like. He will also add embellishments such as conchos, beading and silver dots. Jory’s chaps patterns are all his own design and with the exception of one duplicate, no two pair are the same. “There is a resemblance to Tim’s style because he has helped me so much,” Jory said.

Zurcher creates a number of items including spur straps, chinks, head stalls, belts, day planners, Bible covers, checkbook covers, rope can straps and chaps. “The most unusual thing I’ve made is a leather curtain,” Jory said. “I always like a new challenge and the opportunity to get better. I ask around to learn and am ready for any advice. My favorite thing to make is chaps and I would like to make a roping saddle some day.”

Jory has helped to pay for his college education with his leatherwork. “The money is nice and helpful, but mostly I just love doing it. I hope to have my own shop some day.”

To keep his drawing skills honed Jory sketches pictures for friends and donates some of his artwork to events like the Black Tie Calf Fry yearly fundraiser for the Chadron State College rodeo team. “Hopefully, I can eventually sell my drawings,” Zurcher said.

Zurcher’s artistic talents extend to music as well. When he was a sophomore in high school he got kicked during a bronc ride which resulted in an injury to his left arm/hand. “My hand was numb and I needed something to do to get healed up, so I took up guitar.” He had already played drums with his brother since junior high. He and high school friend J.W. have a small band now and have played at rodeos just for fun, and with friends like Sam Munsick just to kill time.

“I am blessed with a great family and friends. Everything I’ve done has been with a lot of help from them.”

Jory Zurcher got his start in leatherwork at a very young age. “When I was about four or five years old I was with my dad when he picked up a pair of chaps that Tim Bath had made him,” Jory said, “and Tim gave me some scrap leather. I sculpted a bronc saddle that was about 3 to 3-1/2 inches and covered it with that leather. I had a little Breyer guy that I made chaps for. I also made little bull ropes and put them on toy bulls.”

Jory is from Mitchell, Neb., and attends Chadron State College while competing on their rodeo team in calf roping, bronc riding and team roping. He has a degree in Ag Business and is studying Art Education with the goal of teaching art/ag at the secondary level.

“I’ve always enjoyed art and when I traveled with my family to rodeos I would draw in the car. I did some sculpting when I was younger and I’m taking a class in it next semester. I’m really looking forward to it and hope to do more.”

Jory comes from a rodeo/horse background. His dad was a bull rider and his older brother Chad competed in Cowboy Mounted Shooting competitions. Jory also competed in the shooting competitions, and even won a .45 pistol competing in Douglas, Wyo., but prefers rodeo which he has competed in Little Britches, high school and now college level. “I’ve done all of the events, except steer wrestling, but prefer bronc riding and calf roping,” Jory commented.

The family has always raised and trained horses. “I like to train my own,” Jory said, “that way I know all about them and what I have. But I have a lot to learn about training and am always looking to learn more.

“My rodeoing and leatherwork are a nice fit,” Jory said. “I’ve made about 25-30 pairs of chaps. The first ones I made when I was a junior in high school, for friends Brock and Chase Oliver and J.W. Moore. I made belts in high school too.

“Tim Bath, from Burns, Wyo., has helped me and taught me a lot. He got me started and helped with designing and has answered a lot of questions. I’ve gotten advice from several people and am always willing to learn; and there is some trial and error.

“I started sewing leather when I was 13, on an antique Singer sewing machine that was hand cranked. Before that I sewed everything by hand, using a whip stitch, with a lot of help from my dad. I now have an industrial Juki leather sewing machine, but I’ve kept the old Singer.”

Zurcher’s creative process starts with the appropriate type of leather for a project. Chaps require softer, pre-dyed leather, while tooling leather is thicker and is an all natural color. When making an item out of tooling leather, it has to be cut, skived, patterns drawn, tooled, and finished with a clear lacquer or sheen. Jory does tooling, cutouts, inlays and dying; whatever the customers would like. He will also add embellishments such as conchos, beading and silver dots. Jory’s chaps patterns are all his own design and with the exception of one duplicate, no two pair are the same. “There is a resemblance to Tim’s style because he has helped me so much,” Jory said.

Zurcher creates a number of items including spur straps, chinks, head stalls, belts, day planners, Bible covers, checkbook covers, rope can straps and chaps. “The most unusual thing I’ve made is a leather curtain,” Jory said. “I always like a new challenge and the opportunity to get better. I ask around to learn and am ready for any advice. My favorite thing to make is chaps and I would like to make a roping saddle some day.”

Jory has helped to pay for his college education with his leatherwork. “The money is nice and helpful, but mostly I just love doing it. I hope to have my own shop some day.”

To keep his drawing skills honed Jory sketches pictures for friends and donates some of his artwork to events like the Black Tie Calf Fry yearly fundraiser for the Chadron State College rodeo team. “Hopefully, I can eventually sell my drawings,” Zurcher said.

Zurcher’s artistic talents extend to music as well. When he was a sophomore in high school he got kicked during a bronc ride which resulted in an injury to his left arm/hand. “My hand was numb and I needed something to do to get healed up, so I took up guitar.” He had already played drums with his brother since junior high. He and high school friend J.W. have a small band now and have played at rodeos just for fun, and with friends like Sam Munsick just to kill time.

“I am blessed with a great family and friends. Everything I’ve done has been with a lot of help from them.”

Jory Zurcher got his start in leatherwork at a very young age. “When I was about four or five years old I was with my dad when he picked up a pair of chaps that Tim Bath had made him,” Jory said, “and Tim gave me some scrap leather. I sculpted a bronc saddle that was about 3 to 3-1/2 inches and covered it with that leather. I had a little Breyer guy that I made chaps for. I also made little bull ropes and put them on toy bulls.”

Jory is from Mitchell, Neb., and attends Chadron State College while competing on their rodeo team in calf roping, bronc riding and team roping. He has a degree in Ag Business and is studying Art Education with the goal of teaching art/ag at the secondary level.

“I’ve always enjoyed art and when I traveled with my family to rodeos I would draw in the car. I did some sculpting when I was younger and I’m taking a class in it next semester. I’m really looking forward to it and hope to do more.”

Jory comes from a rodeo/horse background. His dad was a bull rider and his older brother Chad competed in Cowboy Mounted Shooting competitions. Jory also competed in the shooting competitions, and even won a .45 pistol competing in Douglas, Wyo., but prefers rodeo which he has competed in Little Britches, high school and now college level. “I’ve done all of the events, except steer wrestling, but prefer bronc riding and calf roping,” Jory commented.

The family has always raised and trained horses. “I like to train my own,” Jory said, “that way I know all about them and what I have. But I have a lot to learn about training and am always looking to learn more.

“My rodeoing and leatherwork are a nice fit,” Jory said. “I’ve made about 25-30 pairs of chaps. The first ones I made when I was a junior in high school, for friends Brock and Chase Oliver and J.W. Moore. I made belts in high school too.

“Tim Bath, from Burns, Wyo., has helped me and taught me a lot. He got me started and helped with designing and has answered a lot of questions. I’ve gotten advice from several people and am always willing to learn; and there is some trial and error.

“I started sewing leather when I was 13, on an antique Singer sewing machine that was hand cranked. Before that I sewed everything by hand, using a whip stitch, with a lot of help from my dad. I now have an industrial Juki leather sewing machine, but I’ve kept the old Singer.”

Zurcher’s creative process starts with the appropriate type of leather for a project. Chaps require softer, pre-dyed leather, while tooling leather is thicker and is an all natural color. When making an item out of tooling leather, it has to be cut, skived, patterns drawn, tooled, and finished with a clear lacquer or sheen. Jory does tooling, cutouts, inlays and dying; whatever the customers would like. He will also add embellishments such as conchos, beading and silver dots. Jory’s chaps patterns are all his own design and with the exception of one duplicate, no two pair are the same. “There is a resemblance to Tim’s style because he has helped me so much,” Jory said.

Zurcher creates a number of items including spur straps, chinks, head stalls, belts, day planners, Bible covers, checkbook covers, rope can straps and chaps. “The most unusual thing I’ve made is a leather curtain,” Jory said. “I always like a new challenge and the opportunity to get better. I ask around to learn and am ready for any advice. My favorite thing to make is chaps and I would like to make a roping saddle some day.”

Jory has helped to pay for his college education with his leatherwork. “The money is nice and helpful, but mostly I just love doing it. I hope to have my own shop some day.”

To keep his drawing skills honed Jory sketches pictures for friends and donates some of his artwork to events like the Black Tie Calf Fry yearly fundraiser for the Chadron State College rodeo team. “Hopefully, I can eventually sell my drawings,” Zurcher said.

Zurcher’s artistic talents extend to music as well. When he was a sophomore in high school he got kicked during a bronc ride which resulted in an injury to his left arm/hand. “My hand was numb and I needed something to do to get healed up, so I took up guitar.” He had already played drums with his brother since junior high. He and high school friend J.W. have a small band now and have played at rodeos just for fun, and with friends like Sam Munsick just to kill time.

“I am blessed with a great family and friends. Everything I’ve done has been with a lot of help from them.”

Jory Zurcher got his start in leatherwork at a very young age. “When I was about four or five years old I was with my dad when he picked up a pair of chaps that Tim Bath had made him,” Jory said, “and Tim gave me some scrap leather. I sculpted a bronc saddle that was about 3 to 3-1/2 inches and covered it with that leather. I had a little Breyer guy that I made chaps for. I also made little bull ropes and put them on toy bulls.”

Jory is from Mitchell, Neb., and attends Chadron State College while competing on their rodeo team in calf roping, bronc riding and team roping. He has a degree in Ag Business and is studying Art Education with the goal of teaching art/ag at the secondary level.

“I’ve always enjoyed art and when I traveled with my family to rodeos I would draw in the car. I did some sculpting when I was younger and I’m taking a class in it next semester. I’m really looking forward to it and hope to do more.”

Jory comes from a rodeo/horse background. His dad was a bull rider and his older brother Chad competed in Cowboy Mounted Shooting competitions. Jory also competed in the shooting competitions, and even won a .45 pistol competing in Douglas, Wyo., but prefers rodeo which he has competed in Little Britches, high school and now college level. “I’ve done all of the events, except steer wrestling, but prefer bronc riding and calf roping,” Jory commented.

The family has always raised and trained horses. “I like to train my own,” Jory said, “that way I know all about them and what I have. But I have a lot to learn about training and am always looking to learn more.

“My rodeoing and leatherwork are a nice fit,” Jory said. “I’ve made about 25-30 pairs of chaps. The first ones I made when I was a junior in high school, for friends Brock and Chase Oliver and J.W. Moore. I made belts in high school too.

“Tim Bath, from Burns, Wyo., has helped me and taught me a lot. He got me started and helped with designing and has answered a lot of questions. I’ve gotten advice from several people and am always willing to learn; and there is some trial and error.

“I started sewing leather when I was 13, on an antique Singer sewing machine that was hand cranked. Before that I sewed everything by hand, using a whip stitch, with a lot of help from my dad. I now have an industrial Juki leather sewing machine, but I’ve kept the old Singer.”

Zurcher’s creative process starts with the appropriate type of leather for a project. Chaps require softer, pre-dyed leather, while tooling leather is thicker and is an all natural color. When making an item out of tooling leather, it has to be cut, skived, patterns drawn, tooled, and finished with a clear lacquer or sheen. Jory does tooling, cutouts, inlays and dying; whatever the customers would like. He will also add embellishments such as conchos, beading and silver dots. Jory’s chaps patterns are all his own design and with the exception of one duplicate, no two pair are the same. “There is a resemblance to Tim’s style because he has helped me so much,” Jory said.

Zurcher creates a number of items including spur straps, chinks, head stalls, belts, day planners, Bible covers, checkbook covers, rope can straps and chaps. “The most unusual thing I’ve made is a leather curtain,” Jory said. “I always like a new challenge and the opportunity to get better. I ask around to learn and am ready for any advice. My favorite thing to make is chaps and I would like to make a roping saddle some day.”

Jory has helped to pay for his college education with his leatherwork. “The money is nice and helpful, but mostly I just love doing it. I hope to have my own shop some day.”

To keep his drawing skills honed Jory sketches pictures for friends and donates some of his artwork to events like the Black Tie Calf Fry yearly fundraiser for the Chadron State College rodeo team. “Hopefully, I can eventually sell my drawings,” Zurcher said.

Zurcher’s artistic talents extend to music as well. When he was a sophomore in high school he got kicked during a bronc ride which resulted in an injury to his left arm/hand. “My hand was numb and I needed something to do to get healed up, so I took up guitar.” He had already played drums with his brother since junior high. He and high school friend J.W. have a small band now and have played at rodeos just for fun, and with friends like Sam Munsick just to kill time.

“I am blessed with a great family and friends. Everything I’ve done has been with a lot of help from them.”

Jory Zurcher got his start in leatherwork at a very young age. “When I was about four or five years old I was with my dad when he picked up a pair of chaps that Tim Bath had made him,” Jory said, “and Tim gave me some scrap leather. I sculpted a bronc saddle that was about 3 to 3-1/2 inches and covered it with that leather. I had a little Breyer guy that I made chaps for. I also made little bull ropes and put them on toy bulls.”

Jory is from Mitchell, Neb., and attends Chadron State College while competing on their rodeo team in calf roping, bronc riding and team roping. He has a degree in Ag Business and is studying Art Education with the goal of teaching art/ag at the secondary level.

“I’ve always enjoyed art and when I traveled with my family to rodeos I would draw in the car. I did some sculpting when I was younger and I’m taking a class in it next semester. I’m really looking forward to it and hope to do more.”

Jory comes from a rodeo/horse background. His dad was a bull rider and his older brother Chad competed in Cowboy Mounted Shooting competitions. Jory also competed in the shooting competitions, and even won a .45 pistol competing in Douglas, Wyo., but prefers rodeo which he has competed in Little Britches, high school and now college level. “I’ve done all of the events, except steer wrestling, but prefer bronc riding and calf roping,” Jory commented.

The family has always raised and trained horses. “I like to train my own,” Jory said, “that way I know all about them and what I have. But I have a lot to learn about training and am always looking to learn more.

“My rodeoing and leatherwork are a nice fit,” Jory said. “I’ve made about 25-30 pairs of chaps. The first ones I made when I was a junior in high school, for friends Brock and Chase Oliver and J.W. Moore. I made belts in high school too.

“Tim Bath, from Burns, Wyo., has helped me and taught me a lot. He got me started and helped with designing and has answered a lot of questions. I’ve gotten advice from several people and am always willing to learn; and there is some trial and error.

“I started sewing leather when I was 13, on an antique Singer sewing machine that was hand cranked. Before that I sewed everything by hand, using a whip stitch, with a lot of help from my dad. I now have an industrial Juki leather sewing machine, but I’ve kept the old Singer.”

Zurcher’s creative process starts with the appropriate type of leather for a project. Chaps require softer, pre-dyed leather, while tooling leather is thicker and is an all natural color. When making an item out of tooling leather, it has to be cut, skived, patterns drawn, tooled, and finished with a clear lacquer or sheen. Jory does tooling, cutouts, inlays and dying; whatever the customers would like. He will also add embellishments such as conchos, beading and silver dots. Jory’s chaps patterns are all his own design and with the exception of one duplicate, no two pair are the same. “There is a resemblance to Tim’s style because he has helped me so much,” Jory said.

Zurcher creates a number of items including spur straps, chinks, head stalls, belts, day planners, Bible covers, checkbook covers, rope can straps and chaps. “The most unusual thing I’ve made is a leather curtain,” Jory said. “I always like a new challenge and the opportunity to get better. I ask around to learn and am ready for any advice. My favorite thing to make is chaps and I would like to make a roping saddle some day.”

Jory has helped to pay for his college education with his leatherwork. “The money is nice and helpful, but mostly I just love doing it. I hope to have my own shop some day.”

To keep his drawing skills honed Jory sketches pictures for friends and donates some of his artwork to events like the Black Tie Calf Fry yearly fundraiser for the Chadron State College rodeo team. “Hopefully, I can eventually sell my drawings,” Zurcher said.

Zurcher’s artistic talents extend to music as well. When he was a sophomore in high school he got kicked during a bronc ride which resulted in an injury to his left arm/hand. “My hand was numb and I needed something to do to get healed up, so I took up guitar.” He had already played drums with his brother since junior high. He and high school friend J.W. have a small band now and have played at rodeos just for fun, and with friends like Sam Munsick just to kill time.

“I am blessed with a great family and friends. Everything I’ve done has been with a lot of help from them.”