"I grew up in a machine shop as a machinist,” Wade Raney, of Dumas, Texas’s Wade Bit & Spur Shop, explained. “So, the bits and spurs wasn’t hard for me to learn.”
Raney, a 5 header, also grew up team roping, and he credits the sport with much of his success.
“I’m pretty self-taught. I was team roping and thought, ‘I can make that stuff,’ so I started. I was working at a feed yard and going to college and, I don’t know, it was easy to me. ”
So easy, in fact, Raney abandoned his path to a degree in mechanical engineering to go whole hog on his new-found talent.
“I’ve been a bit and spur maker since 1996. I did it full time for 15 years. Now, I have a real good job at an oil and gas refinery, but I have plenty of time off [and] I have plenty of orders.”
Raney, who spends 14 days each month at his oil and gas refinery job, spends the remainder of his time in his shop and in the roping arena.
“I look forward to my days off so I can go to the shop and unwind,” Raney posited. “If it wasn’t for team ropers, I wouldn’t have gone as far as I have in the spur-making deal. That was 90% of my customers in the beginning—I was a team roper and I dealt with team ropers.”
Raney’s client list has included heavy hitters like Trevor Brazile, Lane Ivy and George Strait.
“I’ve done three sets of saddle hardware for George Strait and the buckles have the signature on them. I’d done a lot for Trevor back in the day, too. Built his spurs and saddle conchos.”
And, while Raney still ropes year round, his clientele has become more diverse over the years.
“It’s evolved from bits and spurs to a lot of trinkets, now. I do jewelry and lots of the nicer engraving. I absolutely love it. I like working with sterling silver the best. It engraves well. It’s a little bit higher-end than the nickel silver, and it really engraves good.”
Actually, not only did building a friend’s wedding ring allow Raney to work on his favorite part of the craft, it also eventually led to his own wedding four years ago.
“My friend’s wife and my now-wife, Brenda, were friends. She seen it and just had to know who built that ring and just could not believe somebody right there in the little town of Dumas made it. We met and it was all over from there. She thought she wanted her a team roper, but now that’s she’s got one, I don’t know if she’s so sure,” Raney joked, adding, “She’s my model.”
As a team roper, Raney keeps 10 steers at home with his two horses, Goose and VCIP.
“Where I work, that’s our yearly bonus: Variable Cash Incentive Program. That’s how I was able to afford ‘ol VCIP. He came from Clay Lewis.”
Raney keeps it simple in the arena.
“I just try to catch ’em all. I like to catch them all.”