WHEATLAND – There are people in Wheatland with all kinds of skills, designing all kinds of things and putting their talents to work. One who has only been in this community a couple of years but has a well-honed talent is a young Navajo man, Eric Hannig, originally from Albuquerque.
At about nine years old, his aunt told him he had to get a hobby and she took him to the Tandy Leather store in Cheyenne. During the next few years he had made every kit available in that store and had every leather-working tool sold there. Then Hannig when on to putting his own ideas into designing patterns. Finally it was time to make a saddle from scratch for a friend.
Looking around his shop in the back of the newly-extended Wandering Hermit, there is a myriad of hand tools, a large sewing machine and leather items in several stages of completion. Billfolds, notebook covers, tapaderos (covers for stirrups), all beautifully hand-tooled, showcase Hannig’s talent at working leather. A saddle tree sits on a stand ready for the next step in its completion. “If that’s all I work on, a saddle will take three weeks to complete,” he said. He takes orders for custom items as well.
“People have been very good to me here. Dan Brecht, Murel Connolly, Ben Harnish, Mary Louise Shepard and Wade Stoll have helped me a lot,” he said.
With the barn wood, western photos and photos of himself riding horses, this location from a previous business venture certainly fits what Hannig is doing with the skills of his hands. Some of his items are displayed for sale in the front of the Wandering Hermit or you can go to his shop in the back and see what else he has made.