Big Bend Saddlery
2701 East Hwy 90 Alpine, Tx 79830
Monday - Friday
8:00 am - 5:30 pm
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
By the time he was in his early 30s, native Chihuahuan Federico Villalba had achieved success as a merchant and rancher in the village of San Carlos, near Lajitas crossing, in the late 1880s. Looking to expand his operations, he moved into the Big Bend, establishing a ranch in the Burro Mesa area. Contracted by the U.S. Army, Federico's Rancho Barras supplied horses to the 8th Cavalry at Fort. Davis. It was in Fort Davis that Federico met his young bride, María Cortez. Prosperity came to the Big Bend when the demand for mercury increased dramatically with the onset of World War I. Mercury, used in detonation of munitions, was extracted from cinnabar ore, plentiful in the lower Big Bend. Mine workers from the silver mines in Mexico crossed the Rio Grande into Texas for better pay in the mercury mines. Civil unrest in Mexico and increasing numbers of Mexican immigrants induced fear among the Anglo populace. Mexican outlaw Cuco Torres, who often raided ranches on the U.S. side, Pancho Villa's raid of Columbus, New Mexico, in 1916, and the massacre by Texas Rangers of fifteen innocent Mexican men and boys in Porvenir, Texas, in 1917, brought great tension to the border towns of the Big Bend. Federico taught his children to be vigilant. His sons and daughter all packed .45s and knew how to use them. His son Jacobo had a quick temper and a fast gun, which would, in time, make him a marked man. After WWI, the demand for mercury weakened, and many mines were forced to close. When Edgar Gleimes, part owner of the Texas Almaden Mine, faced closure of his mine, he approached Federico about merging the Almaden company store with Villalba's Study Butte store. Angered by their termination as storekeepers and guards at the Texas Almaden Mine and store, Jack and Winslow Coffman sought retribution from Jorge Villalba who had been appointed to oversee the merger. The ensuing feud would result in an unfortunate and tragic chapter to Coffman and Villalba family history. Federico Villalba, who died in 1933 and rests in the Terlingua Cemetery, met the challenges of land and man. His legacy, and that of other prominent Mexican families, is woven into the fabric of Big Bend history. The time has come to share his story.
Order with Confidence from Big Bend Saddlery. We make only top quality products from the best materials that money can buy. We stand behind all our products with a guarantee against defects in materials or workmanship. We want you to be 100% satisfied with any product you buy from Big Bend Saddlery. If not, simply return it to us for a credit, refund or exchange. Items eligible for returns must be received by to our store within 30 days and items must be new, unused and contain original product packaging and accessories. Some items are non-returnable such as CD's, DVD's, Video Tapes, Books, and Customized Items. Shipping charges will not be refunded unless we are at fault in shipping incorrect or damaged merchandise.
We stock or have access to many products not shown on our website, and would be happy to help you find anything that we can. We do custom leatherwork and custom silverwork.
As far as we can tell, our shop was opened in 1905. It was named for this area, the Big Bend Region of Texas, which got its name from the bend or turn made by the Rio Grande River just south of us. We are located in the Davis Mountains with the 800,000-acre Big Bend National Park to the south. We are a small shop located on the east side of Alpine, Texas with employees who feature personalized, friendly service. Let us help you any way we can.