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.
Roy and Jeanette have been committed to Longhorn Saddlery since they founded it back in 1968. Jeanette took classes in bookkeeping and advertising to kick start the company. Roy has been involved in many rodeos, including PRCA rodeos, where he participated in calf and team roping. He has also 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.
From construction and serving to being a 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 where he utilized Longhorn Saddlery to complete a business internship. He took classes in finance, accounting, human resource and business management. Travis gained even more pride in the family business during his internship, ultimately choosing Longhorn as his career choice and to keep the family tradition rolling!
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 it is currently located. Many other businesses have followed and have started expanding in our direction.
The business has since been handed down to Jim Bettcher (Roy and Jeanette’s son). Jim and his son, Travis, work full time at Longhorn to keep the family business going. Jim's daughter, Chelsea, also lends a helping hand with some of the advertising and web design. Roy, although retired, is still very much involved in the business handling a lot of the leather repair work. Jeanette was the head of advertising and finance until the Lord called her up to a bigger role on April 5th, 2018. Jim manages and controls the store inventory and ordering. Travis, who gained a lot of knowledge through Jeanette, has taken over the finance and accounting, advertising and various other office roles. Travis also took a liking to the leather work and helps Roy with a lot of saddle repairs and other custom leather projects.
Both Roy and Jim have experience in rodeo, roping, and shoeing horses. Expressing their love for the sport of rodeo and their years of experience, they managed to grab the attention of Travis, who also took interest in riding and roping. If you ever have a question, whether its about our history, experience or just need advice, we're sure to have an answer for you!
Experience and dedication are just a couple reasons why this family-owned business has been open for almost 50 years!