Longhorn Saddlery & Western Wear was started January 23rd, 1968 by Roy and Jeanette Bettcher. It was originally located in downtown Dubuque on Main Street across from the Julien Hotel. In 1973, Roy and Jeanette decided to build a new store out off of Highway 20 past the Kennedy Mall; where Longhorn is currently located. Many other businesses have followed and started expanding in the same direction, putting Longhorn in a prime location.
Roy and Jeanette have since passed: Jeanette in April of 2018 and Roy in June of 2021. Their legacy was then handed down to their only son, Jim Bettcher. Jim has worked at Longhorn since 1988. In 2013, Jim's son, Travis, (Roy and Jeanette's only grandson) also joined in. Jim manages and controls Longhorn's inventory and ordering. Travis, who gained a lot of knowledge through Jeanette, has taken over the all the finances, advertising and various other office roles. Roy taught both Jim and Travis the tricks of the trade when it came to leatherwork. Jim and Travis equally take on saddle and tack repairs. Travis also does some occasional custom leatherwork; holsters, sheaths, hatbands, belts, etc.
Both Roy and Jim had experience in rodeo, roping, and shoeing horses. Expressing their love for the sport of rodeo over the years, they managed to grab the attention of Travis, who also took interest in riding and roping. Between Roy's 65+ years, Jim's 55+ years and Travis' 20+ years of knowledge; if you ever have a question, whether it's about our history, experience or just need some solid advice, you're sure to find an answer here!
Roy and Jeanette were committed to Longhorn Saddlery since they founded it back in 1968 until they passed away. Jeanette took classes in bookkeeping and advertising to kick start the company. Roy was involved in many rodeos, including PRCA rodeos, where he participated in calf and team roping. He passed on his knowledge of the sport by teaching kids how to rope for over 45 years. In 2006, Roy was recognized and introduced into the Iowa Horseman's Hall of Fame for his service.
Jim participated in college rodeo at River Falls and many other open rodeos. Whether it was steer wrestling, calf roping or team roping, he could be found on horseback! Jim is certified in horseshoeing and utilized this skill to save up and start his own business making trailers in 1978. After selling B-B Trailer Company in 1988, he decided to continue the legacy that is Longhorn Saddlery. Jim has since left his rodeo days in the past, but still enjoys an occasional trail ride. Jim also has saddled up in a bit smaller seat and completed RAGBRAI, an annual bike ride across Iowa, in 2013 & '14 as a tribute to his wife Leesa, who passed away in 2012.
From retail to serving, construction to correctional officer; Travis managed to stay busy throughout high school and college while gaining a lot of experience along the way. Travis graduated from Clarke University in 2014 with a Bachelor's degree. He took classes in finance, accounting, human resource, psychology and business management. Travis utilized Longhorn Saddlery to complete a business internship while at Clarke, gaining valuable knowledge while also developing a great pride for the family business. Travis has ultimately chosen Longhorn as his career choice and to help keep the family legacy rolling