Hap Tallman's celebrated its 50th anniversary last year with a barbecue and a mechanical bull in its parking lot on Overland.
When Hap Tallman opened his store in 1962, the road outside was oil and gravel, said his daughter-in-law Carol Tallman. Hap Tallman, who is no longer living, went into business to cater to cattle ranchers and others with farm operations nearby. At first, he sold only animal vaccines and feed.
"But he started hiring rodeo kids in the late '60s," said Carol. "And they talked him into carrying colored rodeo hats."
That led to a full line of western clothes, boots and horse tack - some of it festooned with fringe and rhinestones. The store, and other businesses of its era like Flynn's Saddle Shop on State Street that opened in 1958, are iconic remnants of a western lifestyle that's ever-rarer in the capital city.
The store still keeps small amounts of animal feed on hand for die-hard customers who don't want to buy it elsewhere. The walls of Hap Tallman's are lined with hats of every style. Low crowns and wide, "shovel" brims are in style these days, said Carol. She's worked at the store for 41 years and has seen styles change. When it comes to boots, cowboys are favoring boots with wide, square toes. The shelves of boots include alligator and ostrich boots with $400 price tags. But they also include boots with glow-in-the-dark skulls and costume footwear for participants in cowboy action shooting. The pastime requires period garb and is more and more popular, said Carol.
On any given day, a visitor to the store might find Jed Rice, 20, making a pair of custom chaps in the store's workshop. Rice works intently on a counter in front of rolls of colored, fragrant leather. A jar nearby holds the tools he uses to stamp intricate patterns into leather.
"He's a master," said Carol.
The shop's website includes this motto (Carol Tallman isn't sure of its origins):
"We have made money. We have cashed bad checks, etc. We have been cussed and discussed, knocked, talked about, lied about and lied to, held up and robbed. The only reason we stay in business is to see what the hell will happen next!"
4410 Overland Road
Anna Webb: 377-6431