A rural Utah report: Burns Saddlery

EDCUtah 1000

“Pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” is a well-worn phrase, but one that can be taken quite literally in Salina, Utah.

The city of 2,551 sits on I-70 in rural Utah, a watering hole for truckers and travelers moving east and west on the interstate.

However, wisely venturing a mile or so north off the freeway into downtown Salina, one discovers a unique community thriving in its own way to help build rural Utah.

A few weeks ago, while discussing business over a piece of delicious blueberry sour cream pie at Mom’s Café on Main Street, Sevier County Economic Development Director Malcolm Nash encouraged EDCUtah staff to venture a block west to visit Burns Saddlery. Opening the door, we were greeted by the pleasant smell of tanned leather. The showroom was an inviting place, showcasing a wide variety of custom designed and produced saddles, boots, belts, buckles and hats.

The company was started in 1876 in Loa, Utah, as a blacksmith and harness repair shop. Five moves and five generations later, Salina is home to Burns Saddlery. Through each generation, new ideas and products have been incorporated, while carrying on the traditions of leatherwork of the old West. In this spirit, current owners Scott and Dana Burns-Shaw have stepped up to take the company to new heights. Opening retail locations in Carmel, California, and Park City, Utah in the past decade has established a clientele of well-heeled customers, who truly appreciate the quality and materials of custom designed leather goods.

Not to forget its roots, Burns Saddlery caters to Western ranchers in need of a saddle for the range. It also supplies riders with the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association, and even National Finals Rodeo Qualifiers, with saddles and wear seen on rodeo’s top stages. The internet and high-speed broadband service in Salina has also contributed to helping Burns Saddlery build its international customer base.

Every product is hand-made with nothing but grade-A leathers. Its 25 employees are renowned for leatherwork, silversmithing, and custom artistry unparalleled. 

Looking for a saddle? Get in line. Burns’ custom production capacity is about 12 saddles a week. With 120 barrel-racer saddles currently on order and 40 ranch saddles in the queue, be patient in waiting to receive your legacy piece of Burns Saddlery.

Through its Development Ready Communities program, EDCUtah is helping cities and counties throughout the state identify, strengthen, and deploy the assets that foster high-performing rural companies like Burns Saddlery.

Utah’s economic development community salutes Burns Saddlery as they help build Utah’s rural economy, one hat, pair of boots, or saddle at a time.