J.R. Johnston Tack & Harness is a Proud Sponsor of:
Outlaw/5J Rodeo Productions
Iowa Rodeo Cowboys Association
J. R. is no stranger to the leather and equine business. He auctioneered his first sale at the age of 12 at Palmyra Horse Sale. In 1986, at the ripe old age of 13, J. R. began working in his family’s harness shop in rural Paris, MO. He logged many miles as a sophmore in high school traveling with his Dad, Jim to build a herd of draft mares to export to Japan. He even traveled with the herd and loaded them on jets at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. J. R. was a partner in Horse Sales in Mexico, MO and Kingdom City in the mid to late 1990’s into the early 2000’s.
In 1997, J. R. went to work full time building harness in the family harness shop, and hit the road traveling to Draft Horse and Mule sales across the Central and Southern United States. In 2006, J. R. started a wholesale dealer tack auction at Midway Expo Center in Columbia, MO. He also made a move to Pike County, Missouri, leased a warehouse in Bowling Green and went out on his own, starting J. R. Johnston Tack.
In 2007, J. R. married Holly Henderson and together they purchased the harness shop that J. R. learned his trade on. Later the same year, J. R. and Holly opened a retail store in Bowling Green as well as continuing to travel the Draft Horse and Mule Sale Circuit. The first 4 months of marriage, they saw each other a total of 20 days! As the “Great Recession” changed the equine industry, J. R. and Holly did their best to change with the times. As customers began to request items other than harness crafted from leather, they worked together to design patterns and teach themselves how to build just about anything out of leather. After an afternoon of visiting and repair work of some rodeo equipment with good friends, J. R. found a demand in the area for rodeo equipment.
J. R. Johnston Tack’s Sponsorship with Outlaw/5J Rodeo Company opened the door to many lifetime friendships, and opportunities to supply various types of rodeo gear in the area. J. R., Holly and the mobile store could be found at many rodeo and youth rodeo events from 2011 on. In February of 2016, their dream was finally a reality when they moved into a brand new shop right off US Highway 61 in Cyrene, MO, just south of Bowling Green.
With the new shop in operation, and custom orders keeping them busy, a hard decision to cut way back on the mobile store schedule was made. In the fall of 2018, J.R. and Holly expanded the shop with a manufacturing line of rodeo equipment. This has allowed them to make even more rodeo gear in the shop. Custom orders and new friends along the way are always welcome.
Thanks for taking the time to read our story. We can’t wait to see what happens next!
J. R. & Holly
Work Horse Handbook
Work Horse Handbook
by Lynn R. Miller