Skyline Bit and Spur owner Carson Jorgensen could have been a lot of things when he grew up.
The 29-year-old’s family runs a massive sheep and turkey farm in Mount Pleasant, Utah, and they raise ranch and performance horses there, too. Despite finishing at the top of his class as a diesel mechanic and garnering a job offer from Caterpillar, Jorgensen’s dreams of becoming a cowboy craftsman and having the chance to live on his own terms called him away from any of the traditional career paths.
“I didn’t want to just be a bit maker—I wanted to leave something that works and lasts a lifetime,” Jorgensen said. “I want it to work for the horse. I wanted to build the right tools for the right people and to put horsemanship back into team roping. I wanted it to be user friendly to get the job done but to be as light as possible. I didn’t just study Western bits—I studied English bits. I’ve read a lot of books on anatomy and where to put pressure and how to avoid hurting things that are irreparable.”
Jorgensen, who says he still helps around the family’s ranch for his sanity’s sake today, pulled bit-making knowledge from his own experiences, Olympic equestrians, YouTube videos, and interactions with other makers to develop a line of bits now used by some of the best in the business.
Quinn Kesler and Coleman Proctor both use Skyline bits, and Jorgensen gave away the trophy bits at the Wildfire XX this year in Hamilton, Texas. Jorgensen takes mostly custom orders, but often builds a second copy of that order to sell to the public through his skylinebitandspur.com.
“I build bits for actual hands. It’s just like a gun: If the wrong person is using it, bad things can happen,” Jorgensen said.
Jorgensen’s signature bit is his #1 flat-port mouthpiece with a straight shank—a bit he developed by happy accident.
“I screwed a bit up, and I welded a bit of round bar to the chain. It’s got a slight curve to it. The bit made sense. The chain is different on both sides of that bar, twisted in a different direction. The different twist gives you the same feel on both sides. A lot of the pros have them and use them. You can ride it on those finished heel horses or those strong head horses. It’s a funny combination. If you ride a straight chain bit, if you pick up on the left, it twists itself together and becomes basically solid. If you pull on the right side, the chain can spin 10 times in a circle and never come tight. With this, you get all the benefits of a chain bit with less pressure on the tongue. If I had to recommend a bit most people could use on most horses, this is it.”
Jorgensen fits team roping into this busy schedule about once a week, though he doesn’t often compete. When he’s not building bits, he’s spending time with his wife, Amy, and daughters, Adeline, 1; Joslynn, 4; and Olivia, 7; and speaking to students and other groups about business development and success, told from his cowboy perspective.