There are so many people that don't know the difference between an Authentic Billy Cook Saddle and a Longhorn/Simco. I am in no way saying Longhorn/Simco is a counterfeit as Billy Cook did sell them his old designs, they are just not the new Authentic currently made by Billy cook.
I did not write any of this and I got all my information from Research and Google and the US Trademark Company.
Billy Cook opened shop in Greenville, Tx. many ears ago after serving a time in the military where he had met Bill Potts. After a time they got together because Billy had the shop and Bill had the money. It became Billy Cook Saddlery/Potts Longhorn. The Billy Cook saddles were the upper line saddles, and Longhorns were the lower line. The Billy Cook saddles had better trees, Herman Oak leather, beveled stainless dees, hand tooling, and hand sewed rigs to skirts. Longhorns were lesser priced trees, regular stainless hardware, synthetic wool, and machine sewed rigs to skirts.
Tooling patterns were often pressed by a huge press, which is what made a lot of those saddles really hard and stiff. The people that worked there were proud of their work and proud to work there and made one of the best production saddles of that day. Jay Lynn Gore was the head tooler there for many years. The tooling look of Billy Cook saddles was largely the work of Jay Lynn.
Billy was the manager of this operation for many years, designing all the saddles, making patterns, and then having a complete set of dies made for every new design. Billy believes in dies.
Billy later started another shop in downtown Greenville making harness. It was called Billy Cook Harness. Eventually he started making saddles there too. He would work at Longhorn in the morning and go to the harness shop in the afternoon.
Billy Cook Saddlery/Potts Longhorn had corporate offices in Dallas. In the late 80's Bill Potts passed away. The Co. continued to be run from Dallas. The co. had tons of orders but there was corporate embezzlement in Dallas and the co. went chapter 11, and then chapter 7. Everybody wanted to buy it and it went up for auction. Don Motsenbocker bought it. Don was originally a bookkeeper for the Shoelkopf family. This was the family that used to make Jumbo Saddles. Don knew the saddle business and already owned Action, Tex Tan, Simco, which is in Chattanooga, Saddle smith, and now Billy Cook Saddlery. He then advertised as the largest saddle co. in the world, which he probably was. That is how Simco and Longhorn came to be associated. Simco is still in Chattanooga, Longhorn is still in Greenville, Tx. They did combine the corporate offices in Chattanooga and call it Simco/Longhorn.
Billy Cook did not sell his name, he just couldn't keep it. When the Co went bankrupt everything went up with it, including the name, which had international recognition, which is what made it valuable. He did keep building saddles at Billy Cook Harness until the I.R.S. shut him down for not paying his taxes, or not doing withholdings correctly for a number of years which amounted to a ton of money, which put him out of business in Greenville.
Sulphur, O.K., had one of those grant type situations to get new businesses in their town and Billy got one. That is why he has his business there while still having his home in Greenville, Tx.
No one who works at the Greenville plant is an original employee, but all the dies and patterns were done by Billy Cook. When those companies fuse like that they can buy literally truckloads, train car loads of leather, synthetic fleece, glues, threads, etc. everything and distribute them to their various plants, also much cheaper than any small shop can do. This is one reason why a custom shop can't compete with a production shop, and shouldn't even try.
The bottom line is, if you have a Billy Cook saddle then it was made in Greenville, Tx. Billy Cook saddles have never been made in Mexico, or in Tn. Saddles labeled Genuine Billy Cook saddles are made in Sulphur, O.K. where Billy wants it to be clear that that is where he is, the real Billy Cook..
Original saddles by Billy Cook have special markings that distinguish them from imitation products.
For instance, original ones include an etching on top of the saddle horn with the details “Billy Cook/ Saddlery/ Greenville, Texas”.
In addition, there is a leather stamp that includes the name of the maker (Billy Cook), place where it was manufactured (Greenville, Texas), and the model number. The serial number is stamped deeply in the leather located under the jockey, which also includes the year of manufacture.
If it says Billy Cook Maker, Genuine, Sulphur, Oklahoma it was made by the production shop currently owned by Billy Cook.
"I don't know how to insert a picture with text and then more pictures and texts so I took screen shots of my word document"
Hrm ok. So what about saddles that say 'Hand made by Billy Cook' but it also says Longhorn on it? Which one is it?
Saddles labeled Billy Cook Sulfur Oklahoma are superior to the ones made in Texas Today and for the last 10 years,
The Saddles labeled Billy Cook Longhorn Texas that are older than 12 years old are twice as good as what they are Today.
After The Action Company bought Simco and moved them to Texas, Billy Cook Texas, Simco-Longhorn are all high production made off the shelf Saddles, just like so many others Big Name Brands, Tucker, Cirlce Y, none of them are anywhere near the quality they once were