Trent Ward has been in the cowboy business—one way or another—for most of his life. While most know him as a saddlemaker and active team roper, he started out riding colts and working at the auction barn until famed saddlemaker Billy Cook took him under his wing.
“I used to ride a lot of colts for him,” Ward said about working for Cook. “I do a lot of auctioneering and I used to sell a lot of horses for Billy Cook. He had a lot of colts that came around every year and I’d sell a lot of colts at the auction for him. I’ve just been around it all my life.”
Though auctioneering and riding colts can take up a lot of a man’s time, what struck his interest for the saddlemaking business was when young Ward was gifted a saddle from Cook.
“He gave me a saddle one time, years ago, and I just admired it a lot and looked at it,” Ward said. “It was a gift that he gave me. I’ve been around a lot of saddlemakers that built them.”
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From the admiration of the Billy Cook saddle and watching saddlemakers throughout his lifetime, Ward decided to dedicate his time to figuring out how to make the best product that ropers and riders would purchase, which became Trent Ward Saddlery.
“Before it really took off, it took 10 years’ worth of just going here and going there, making very little profit,” Ward said of the early saddlemaking days. “We were making a good product and the main thing was getting it out there. I didn’t even care if I broke even. Finally, it kind of took a hold over the 10-year period and it just gets bigger from here on out. Now we’re so busy every day. Every morning, we’re taking in custom orders. Every morning, we have people calling around 4 or 5 o’clock and, sometimes, at 10 o’clock at night.”
With business booming over the years, Ward took in fellow team roper Milton Aguilera to come work in the saddle shop. Now Ward and Aguilera spend their time working as business partners in the saddle shop in Kaufman, Texas, and roping at USTRC and Ariat World Series of Team Roping events.
“Me and Milton are pretty much in the saddle shop every day,” Ward said. “Milton’s always wanting to go somewhere and I’m not wanting to go. He’s like, ‘Come on, come on,’ and I end up going.”
NFR header Tyler Wade has known Ward for years and had ridden his saddles throughout his professional career.
“The deal about those guys is they’ll always make it right—whether they need to trade you for one,” Wade said. They’re easy to deal with. Between the CSI Pads and the Trent Ward saddles I haven’t had any issues, so I haven’t had any reason to do anything different. I’ve got five (saddles) and I still ride them all.”
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Not only can you see Trent Ward Saddlery stamped on the side of Wade’s saddles, you may have seen it at the Cinch USTRC National Finals in 2019 under the man himself, Trent Ward, who won the #12.5 Shoot-Out with header Mike Carrell, worth $43,300 for the team, with the help of Aguilera pushing him to enter.
“I quit for about 12 years and just started back three of four years ago because of him (Aguilera),” Ward said about roping at the 2019 Cinch USTRC National Finals. “This year, I went and honestly wasn’t expecting to win it. I just went in there and wanted to rope every steer that I got turned. That was all that was in my mind and had set to do. The guy that I had heading for me, Mike Carrell, we drew four good steers and we used every one of them. It seemed like it just happened. He was doing his job and I did mine.”
Ward, who has attended the Cinch USTRC National Finals on and off for the last 30 years, is looking forward to roping in his custom saddle at the new location in Fort Worth, Texas, on April 21 through April 26.
“I think having it in Fort Worth will be bigger because of the change and the fees,” Ward said about the prestigious event. “Just being at Fort Worth, there’s a lot of people [who] are east, west, north and south of Fort Worth. That’s a good gathering point. They have good facilities over there and a good atmosphere. I think it will be a good change.”