In our last Speaking Spurs post, we took a trip to Weatherford, Texas to the home of Kerry Kelley. This week, we are keeping the Texas trend going with custom spur maker, Joshua Ownbey.
Joshua Ownbey is a Crowell, Texas native. He grew up with a family background in farming and ranching. From the time Ownbey was born, he was exposed to the life of a cowboy in that his dad ran his own preconditioning yard from the 1990’s to the present. Growing up just 12 miles from Adolph Bayer’s shop and watching his dad build in the late 80’s and early 90’s, he was exposed to the history, fundamentals and visual design that comprise bit and spur making.
Ownbey spent most of his high school years calf roping and graduated from Crowell High School in 2001. After graduation, he helped his dad with the preconditioning yard. He also participated in Ranch Horse Association of America Horse Shows from 2005-2009 and in Ranch Rodeo competitions from 2004 to 2011. Ownbey’s lifestyle has given him the knowledge to determine the effectiveness that a bit has on a horse and the impact that a good spur has on a cowboy. Yes, he still loves to cowboy on occasion and still retains a passion for roping.
In 2007 Joshua moved to Canyon, Texas. In February 2009, just two days before he was about to marry his high school sweetheart, Ownbey was in his father’s shop going through his pattern box, and it was then that he came to the conclusion that he would pick up where his father left off. Immediately, Ownbey’s father passed down his equipment to him. After Ownbey married his wife, Jennifer in 2009, they decided to start their life and business in Canyon, Texas. In 2012, the Ownbeys were fortunate enough to be able to have Jennifer stay home and run the business end of Joshua Ownbey Custom Orders.
Ownbey’s style was inspired by Peewee Peebles, who taught him how to engrave and refine his design. Pebbles also educated Ownbey on the blacksmithing techniques of a one piece spur, which Ownbey still applies daily. Ownbey also credits Jerry Cates and Terry Alward, who have both helped guide his work. Ownbey prefers to “stay in the fire,” as they call it, as much as he can by forging out all of his stock.
All of Ownbey’s spurs are hammered out from a piece of 4140 round stock, except for the rowels. All rowels are hand cut and filed for a very distinct ring. The spur bands are hand filed and polished out to a mirror finish. With a wide variety of engraving choices to choose from, each spur is hand engraved and adorned with delicately crafted sterling silver and customized to your own preference. However, he does not keep any floral or scroll patterns. All of his work is free handed, allowing each piece visually be unique to you. Each spur is stamped with his JO logo along with a consecutive running number, and are completed with various forms of finishes.
With a promising career ahead, Ownbey strives to maintain the loyalty of his customers by producing functional equipment for them. He seeks daily to continue improving the craftsmanship involved in building his products so that he is able to meet his customers’ needs and desires. The Ownbeys promote their products at various Trade Shows throughout the year. They are so incredibly thankful for the support from their clients, because without those valued individuals, they would not have been able to embark on this journey.
For more information on Ownbey’s pieces, visit https://jocustomorders.com/.