About JM Capriola Co
Although the store has changed hands over the years, its gear is still made with the same fine craftsmanship that Garcia was known for. Capriola's bits and spurs are still made by Mexican craftsmen trained in the Garcia tradition, and are the only bits and spurs in the world that carry the Garcia name.
G.S. Garcia grew up in San Luis Obispo, Calif., home of the vaqueros, long considered some of the best horsemen in the world. It was from them that Garcia developed an interest in the art of making high-quality cowboy gear and at age 19, Garcia found a job as an apprentice in the Arana Saddle Shop, the finest saddle shop in all of California.
Garcia learned from the best Mexican artisans how to carve and stamp leather into a fine-fitting saddle and turn chunks of steel into elaborately designed bits and spurs. Garcia seemed to have a natural talent for gear-making, and it wasn't long before he opened his own shop in nearby Santa Margarita.
Some of Garcia's first customers were the Nevada cowboys who trailed cattle to California each year for wintering, and he soon earned a reputation among working cowboys for making saddles that were not only pleasing to the eye but functional as well. He began hearing stories about Elko, a thriving little cowtown in northeastern Nevada.
In 1896, Garcia and his new bride, Saturnia, came to Elko with two suitcases filled with bits, spurs, riatas, rawhide headstalls, and reins. Garcia set up shop in the corner of Charles Mayer's old Gem Hotel and sold out the first evening. He soon opened his G.S. Garcia Harness and Saddle Shop near Sixth and Commercial streets. Business thrived and Garcia was known to work late into the night engraving a pair of his famous spurs or putting the finishing touches on a saddle. Even though Garcia soon had to hire several assistants to keep up with the demand for his products, he still insisted on making the first cuts on all the saddles, even the more inexpensive ones. He allowed his assistants to assemble the saddles, but only under his watchful eye.
By 1903, Garcia was filling custom orders throughout northern Nevada, which his brother would deliver by wagon. He soon had catalog orders from around the world, and his impressive list of customers included such well-known names as Will Rogers and Douglas Fairbanks.