Junkie Nation: Meet Deanna Liles-Sheffield of The Cowboy Junkie

We’ve all seen this Texas designer’s awesome work on horses at local shows and rodeos, but because she’s so very far away, we wanted to introduce you to her here on The Barrel Racing Blog. Deanna Liles-Sheffield of The Cowboy Junkie cranks out some top-of-the-line, eye-catching tack that’s hard to find anywhere else. Her tack is less about the bling (though she does do some beautiful bling) and more about the art of the tack. With Deanna’s painting on each set she sells, each piece is a truly unique work of art. And guess what? Today at The Cowboy Junkie’s Facebook page, Deanna is giving away some of her gorgeous work! So, today you’ll get the behind-the-scenes scoop on this awesome artist, plus you’ll get the chance to win some of her work! 

Have you always been an artist?  

Yes, as well as 4 generations of artists in my fathers family. I haven’t done research, but I was told all the way back to some very famous artists in Spain. Someday I’ll have time to do that!

How (and when) did the Cowboy Junkie get started? 

That’s hard to pinpoint, as I’ve always dressed up my tack. Cowboy Junkie obtained its legal docs in May 2005.

What was it about your experience with horses helped shape your knowledge of Western tack fashion?

I paint what I love, and if I don’t love it… I have refused to do it!! 🙂

What is it about your products that you think your customers love?

The customization options that I offer.

Where do you find inspiration for your designs? 

EVERYWHERE

Tell us about the first tack set you ever painted. 

It was a very low quality tack set that I bought on ebay…. I trashed it!!

Tell us about your absolute favorite piece you’ve ever create? 

That is also hard to answer… I think my favorite one is this one so far:

How long does it usually take for a custom tack order to be completed? 

About 10 days

In what area are most of your customers located?

Can’t really nail this down either – I ship all over the US, Canada and even some to Australia.

What has been the most exciting moment in your career as tack designer?  

When Jackie Dube called my cell phone I almost drove off the road!! I also really enjoyed my live interviews with some of the big name magazines.

Talk about the materials that go into your tack – what type of leather, stones, conchos, buckles and paint do you use, and why?

I use tack built to my specs with certain tweaks to the way the leather is finished. I use only Swarovski Crystals and high-end buckle sets.

How can people keep their sets clean and in good shape without damaging the paint and design?

Wipe them off with a damp rag and only oil from the underside. Don’t apply any kind of soap or leather cleaners to the paint side. I have customers with 6-year-old tack this year and it’s still in great shape!

What are your ultimate goals for your business?  

I just want to leave a PRETTY MARK on the world. I think any “Goals” have already been reached. I grew up with BLAH tack, and I’m working on changing that for everyone. I want to create things that stop you in your tracks………….

If you could pick any barrel racer in the country to make a tack set for, who would it be and why?  

I already mentioned Jackie. She was my favorite when I was a barrel racer eoonsssssss ago.

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