Alamo Saddlery will unveil it’s brand new saddle and tack line “ALAMO Elite” at the largest western market in the world, the Western & English Sales Association, in Denver, Colorado, January 2008. CEO Leisha Wardlaw Ashley along with other Alamo Saddlery family members will be on hand to reveal her newest creation.
Ashley grew up surrounded by horses on her family ranch in Brackettville, Texas, which is located 18 miles from the Mexican border. The Wardlaw kids spent their childhood growing up around rodeos and ranching. Leisha is as comfortable in her factory in Mexico as she is in a saddle. Looking at her background, family heritage and work experience; it’s no wonder.
This true Texas cowgirl is one of few female manufacturers in a male-dominated industry. As the originator of Jewelry on Tack, Alamo Saddlery is always one step ahead of the rest. Leisha has been hands-on at her company from the beginning, holding the reins at Alamo Saddlery for eleven years. It’s also one of the few family owned businesses left in the industry.
When the late Roy E. Martin and Leisha’s father Hadley Wardlaw started the company in 1996, it began in a 10x30 room at the Alamo Village. Alamo Village, built as a movie location by Leisha’s grandfather, Happy Shahan, is home to many movies and commercials, including John Wayne’s “The Alamo”. Alamo Village is still an active tourist attraction run by Leisha’s 92-year-old grandmother, Virginia.
Ashley’s determination, work ethic, and the way she leads her employees have served Alamo Saddlery well. Leisha says, “Waking up at 4:30 in the morning – rounding up and working in the pens – definitely taught me to rise to the occasion, not to give up, and do it all without whining or complaining. My personal favorite quote is from Winston Churchill, ‘No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle.’ He was just as right then as he is today.”
The company manufacturers a variety of leather products that is targeted towards the middle market. But with the debut of the new “ALAMO Elite” line, Alamo Saddlery is taking it up a notch. “This is something that we have never done before. It’s top of the line. We’re using Wickett & Craig and Herman Oak leather, 100% Wool, stainless steel hardware and better fitting trees from Hadlock & Fox. Our beautiful hand tooling and unique conchos will once again set us apart and hopefully generate a wide appeal.”
Western saddle and tack sales representative Larry Roe has watched Alamo Saddlery’s progression, “Leisha has taken her West Texas heritage to develop a company in an industry that has been virtually unchanged. She uses her knowledge and business skills to build new traditions that make Alamo Saddlery stand out and be noticed by many.”
The Elite line is expected to create a lot of excitement right after the first of 2008. It will take the company into its 12th year of business. This is a huge leap of faith for Leisha Ashley and Alamo Saddlery. But as she says with confidence, “Cowgirls know that courage is not knowing what to expect…. but saddling up anyway!”