(Casper, Wyo.) - Outside of the city limits of Casper, along West Ormsby Road, you will find a Casper man who is a bit, rough around the edges. "When I was little, my buddies use to call me Ruff Kutt, I was always a bit rough around the edges growing up," said Casper craftsman Chad Barker in his shop Wednesday. With the help of his cat, Frozen, the soon to be thirty-year-old craftsman went to work, doing what he loves. "I find myself constantly grinding," he smiled, "Literally and physically." Barker grew up in Casper and spent some time wrestling in college at the University of Oregon, until he got tired of the soggy weather and returned to the 307. As a 'jack of all trades,' Wyoming boy, Barker worked for Castle Brook Welding for a few years, which led him to find his true passion as an artist and creator. "I spent many years working in construction, welding, riding motor cross, fighting, sledding, boxing and took many years of abuse to my body. After I broke my back I decided to do something different," said Barker. Following his back surgery, Barker picked up his grinder and welder and began creating great works of Wyoming art. "I started off with a bit of work on the side while I was at Castle, then it started to evolve into other things and I began doing bigger pieces and custom pieces." Barker's art has a western twist to it, as he uses old and new horseshoes to create custom pieces. His business, Ruff Kutt Kustomz
, (you can now
understand where the name came from) took off and Barker found himself
buying and searching for horseshoes.
"I just started creating the crosses and the hearts as a way to make a few
bucks, then it kind of took off. "
Barker also does general trailer repairs and fixes, but he really prefers
doing the art.
"I developed a talent with my hands, and I like to build things. Then I
just ran with it. It's become a true passion of mine and I hope my work
shows that," said Barker with Frozen crawling on him.
Barker told us that he recently constructed a wooden table for the Boys and
Girls Club of Central Wyoming and another piece for Sit Means Sit Dog
He commented that he enjoys combining his metal work with his wood work.
With the help of some aged barn wood he collects, Barker has created bars,
tables, and more with his hands.
"Right now it's paying the bills which is always a plus. It's something
that I enjoy to do and keeps me busy."
"I feel like I have and make things that your not going to get somewhere
else. I'm just passionate about it, and the best part is taking something
from nothing or something old and creating something new for my customer,
then seeing their reaction is priceless."
Barker continues to grind during the economic slump. To learn more about
Chad Barker and Ruff Kutt Kustomz, find them on Facebook or give them a