Grandpa’s Saddle

Auction fulfills man’s wish for family heirloom
Frank Mehling, left, takes a close look Saturday morning at the saddle Denny Brengle has just bought after a heated bidding session in the auction being held in the Home Show building at the Eastern Montana Fairgrounds. (Star photo by Sharon Moore)


It was just a saddle. It didn’t have the fanciest tooling, and it was a little worn. 

But to Denny Brengle, it was a priceless piece of family history he had sought for a long time.

At the H. D. Landers estate auction Saturday, the bidding on that saddle got pretty hot and heavy in the Home Show building at the Eastern Montana Fairgrounds. Brengle was the final bidder and got to take the saddle home, but not until he had spent some time showing it off. 

When someone asked him why he had spent so much effort and money buying the saddle, he rolled it over and showed them the saddle maker’s name: W.O. Brengle.

“That is my grandfather,” he said.

He shared his memories of visiting his grandfather as he was working in Al Furstnow’s Saddlery in Miles City, and of sitting on his lap watching him craft saddles. 

Furstnow saddles are world renowned for their quality and history, but this saddle had the added nostalgia of Brengle’s childhood.

Grandpa had explained each step as he was working on a saddle, building a lifelong, loving memory for Denny of both saddles and his grandfather. For as long as he can remember, Denny wanted to own one of Grandpa’s saddles. When the auction came up Saturday, he said, “for the first time a saddle was available when I had the money to buy it.”

Denny is wiling to explain how good a saddle maker his grandfather was and why. If you feel he may be a bit prejudiced about his grandfather’s skill, just remember, there were two people bidding over the telephone Saturday who were willing to pay almost as much money as Denny, and they probably never met W.O. Brengle or sat on his lap watching him craft leather into a work of art.