Local artist honors cowboy legend

Cara Randolph, Steve Williams and Deborah Huskey stand a bottle made to commemorate the life of cowboy legend Phil Stadtler. The group is in the Williams’ Cowboy Forge near Mancos. Randolph created the custom bottle, and Williams created the rotating display disk. Huskey is a longtime friend of the Stadtler family, who commissioned the pieces. Enlargephoto

Mary Shinn/The Mancos Times

Cara Randolph, Steve Williams and Deborah Huskey stand a bottle made to commemorate the life of cowboy legend Phil Stadtler. The group is in the Williams’ Cowboy Forge near Mancos. Randolph created the custom bottle, and Williams created the rotating display disk. Huskey is a longtime friend of the Stadtler family, who commissioned the pieces.

Family history and pride surrounding a Cowboy Hall of Fame member are enshrined in the latest brand bottle from local artist Cara Randolph.

Sandblasted into the bottle are Phil Stadtler’s 20 family cattle brands. It also features pictures, partially etched and partially painted, of Stadtler riding in 1973 and a reproduction of his wedding photo.

“It’s an honor to do this caliber of family,” said Randolph, a Montezuma County resident.

Honored as a legend by many groups, Stadtler, brought sometimes 250,000 head of cattle from Mexico into California per year during his career, according to The Modesto Bee newspaper.

He also helped found the California Team Roping Association and was named a Legendary Cattleman by the Oakdale Cowboy Museum. He was also a founding member of the Cowboys’ Turtle Association, the group that became the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, among many other achievements.

Deborah Huskey, a friend of the Stadtler family’s, thought a brand bottle by Randolph would be an appropriate way for the family to remember the cowboy, who passed away in 2011. She delivered it to Stadtler’s granddaughter Stacey Stadtler Porteur this week.

“I’m just overwhelmed with all kinds of emotions,” Porteur said shortly after she opened the gift.

She said that she had never seen anything like it and particularly appreciated that her grandfather’s poem Progress, which was also his signature toast for special events, was engraved on it.

The 9-liter bottle is 22 inches tall and will be displayed on a rotating display disk, rimmed with braided steel. The disk was custom made by Steve Williams at the Cowboy Forge near Mancos.

Randolph came up with the technique of sandblasting designs on bottles while living in Telluride in the early 2000s and recently returned to her craft. She is able to replicate photographs through a stenciling process and paints them using a combination of airbrushing and painting by hand.

This year, one of Randolph’s bottles was auctioned off during the Southwestern Colorado Livestock Association awards ceremony and is now displayed in Dolores State Bank.

For information about brand bottles, call Randolph 749-1921.