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Proudly on display at the harness and saddle shop is western film star Andy Devi

Saddling Up

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NISSWA — Steve Vollmer has always loved horses. He had a photo taken of himself as a small boy riding his palomino with Highway 371 and Round Lake in the background, when the highway was just a two-lane road.

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After graduating from college, Vollmer went to work for 3M and ended up in Los Angeles. While in the city, he started his first saddle shop. He always enjoyed Hollywood and its western movie heroes.

He eventually purchased Andy Devine’s saddle, which he displays proudly in his harness and saddle shop in Nisswa. 

He came back home after his stint in the West and bought the home place overlooking Round lake. He also bought out a harness and saddle shop that had been established in Pierz in 1893. 

Since 1995, he has operated his harness and saddle shop along the same highway he grew up. Since that time, his love of wagon trains and harness-making, together with collecting old saddles, bits and everything related to  horses has produced a glimpse into the past on the walls of his shop. 

Some of the high points of his career have been creating the harness for a four-horse team over a duration of three years for Euro Disney in Paris. Also, he created harnesses for the Hardware Ranch in Utah, where his craftsmanship opened the door to work there over the busy season driving a horse-drawn sleigh among an elk herd.

Above all is his real love, that romantic look back in time and moving  across the flat plains of South Dakota with his horse. 

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Sarah Nelson
Sarah Nelson joined the Brainerd Dispatch in April 2010 and works as a online reporter, content editor and staff writer. She is a world traveler, accused idealist and California native now braving the winters of Central Minnesota. She believes in the power of human resolve and hopes to be part of something that makes history by bringing an end to injustice in the world. Sarah has worked as a criminal background researcher, high school civics teacher, grant writer, and contributing writer with Causecast.org — tackling every issue from global poverty to bio-degradable bicycles. Her favorite thing about living in Minnesota is July. Sarah left the Brainerd Dispatch in April 2014.
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