January 16, 2021 Sports, Rock & Roll and Americana Auction
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 1/16/2021

Offered is a brown leather saddle made by Mike McGregor for Elvis while he was managing the Circle G Ranch for Elvis Presley. Elvis used this saddle when he rode both his horses named Midnight and Rising Sun. Rising Sun, a palomino quarter horse, was purchased by Elvis as his own personal horse after he had purchased a black quater horse named Somino for Priscilla and a light-colored quarter horse named Sheba for Sandy Kawelo (Jerry Schilling’s girlfriend at the time) so that Priscilla would have someone with whom to ride.

Elvis loved to ride and cared deeply for his horses, riding Rising Sun both at Graceland and Circle G Ranch. As Elvis’ passion for riding grew, he purchased horses for friends and family, including a black Tennessee walking horse named Colonel Midnight for his father. The horse was named in honor of Colonel Parker. Despite being a gift for his father, Elvis loved the gait of Tennessee walking horse and often rode Midnight himself. Over the years, Elvis spent millions on horses and equipment and added Bear, Mare Ingram, Beauty, Big Red, Buckshot, El Poco, Flaming Star, Golden Sun, Lady, Moriah, Memphis, Scout, Star Trek, Sundon, Thundercloud and Traveler to his stables during his passionate horse phase. Riding Sun outlasted even Elvis at Graceland and lived until 1986 when he was buried facing East into the rising sun.

Elvis used the offered saddle from 1967 through the mid 70s before Mike replaced it with another, similar saddle that is currently in the Graceland Archives. The saddles comes with copies of photos of Elvis riding the saddle on Midnight and Rising Sun at the Circle G Ranch and at Graceland. Mike McGregor worked for Elvis from 1967-1976 and was in charge of taking care of the horses. Mike hand-tooled saddles and other equestrian equipment, gun holsters, wallets and any number of other items during his long tenure at Graceland. 

Also included is a letter from the Bill McGregor that states:

My father, Mike McGregor, moved to Memphis in the late 1960s to pursue his occupation as a blacksmith and leather craftsman. He partnered with te Western shop to make saddles and other goods. When Elvis purchased the Circle G Ranch in 1967, he purchased several retail saddles at the store. Elvis returned to the Western store after he discovered that he didn’t know how to properly cinch the saddles. He asked my father to run down to the ranch and set up al of the horses. Within days my father was in charge of the Circle G Ranch with its horses, cattle, and other equipment. WHen my father moved to the Circle G Ranch, in Horn Lake, MS Elvis discovered that he preferred my father’s saddle with its smoother lines and custom leather saddlery. My father eventually loaned the saddle to Elvis to use until he designed him another more detailed saddle. This Circle G Ranch saddle was used by Elvis on both the Circle G Ranch as well as at Graceland. When the Circle G Ranch was shut down, my father moved to Graceland where we lived until moving in 1976. In 1976 we moved to Oxford, MS where my father opened a jewelry shop, causing me to lose most of my childhood friends at Graceland.

The saddle comes with another letter from Albert (Kim) Taylor, dated July 8, 2018 that states:

I met Mike McGregor in 1967 while he was working at a western store in Memphis. My wife, Joy, and I became close friends with Mike and Barbara, and our families spent lots of time together over the next thrity-odd years until Barbara’s death. Elvis offered Mike a job handling the horses at the Circle G and soon the McGregors moved into a nice mobile home at the ranch. Mike’s first big project at that time was making his own saddle; it was essential to his job. He quickly crafted what he called a work saddle, simple, sturdy and comfortable. The fancy ‘store-bought’ saddles that Elvis purchased weren’t suitable for everyday use, he said. Pretty soon Elvis discovered he liked the comfort and feel of Mike’s hand-crafted ‘work’ saddle, so Mike gave it to him and started another of the same design hoping to replace his work saddle with a new ‘little bit prettier’ one for Elvis. The first saddle, the work saddle, has a maker’s tag that read ‘Circle G Ranch, Mike McGregor.’ Unfortunately, Elvis kept Mike so busy the replacement was not finished until after the horses and the McGregors were moved to Graceland. I remember Mike making the saddle, I was at the ranch while Elvis used the saddle, and remember seeing him riding Son with that saddle at Graceland in the early ‘70’s. Mike still helped out at Graceland until Elvis died. Apparantly his original Circle G saddle was up at the barn at that time, but he did get it back to display in his new two story shop that opened in 1985. The Circle G saddle was the centerpiece of Mike’s Elvis display.

This letter includes a small picture of the saddle in the upper right corner.

Also included is a copy of a news article by Charles Goodman of the Memphis Press Scimitar from Wednesday, June 16, 1982 in which he interviews Mike McGregor and the saddle is mentioned and mike is quoted saying, “Elvis loved to race horses with his pals. That old yellow horse of his dearly loved to run. I rode him every day to keep him in good condition. After all, you don’t want the boss to lose a race. So Elvis came out to the barn one day - he loved to fool around with the horses and he spent hours out in the barn - and he said he wanted to ride. I said I’d just take my old work saddle off and put his on. Elvis said just leave it on. When he came back from riding, he said he’d like fo rme to make him a saddle just like the work saddle. It rode real good. I said, ‘Just take that one.’” This handsome saddle with black leather tooled-seat accent against the dark brown leather cantle has a maker medallion of silver and leather that contains the inscription “Maker / Mike McGregor / Circle G Ranch / Horn Lake Miss” and Mike McGregors mark on the back housing. The patina’d and well-worn saddle is complete with gullet, horn, skirt, fenders, stirrups, billet straps and conchos creating a masterpiece of craftsmanship that was treasured by Elvis himself. This stunning saddle, measuring 27 inches in length, 14 1/2 inches in height (35 inches with stirrups), and 16 inches in width, is accompanied by a letter of authenticity from Graceland Authenticated.

Elvis Presleys Saddle Used at Graceland and His “Circle G” Ranch – Made by Mike McGregor - with Graceland Authenticated LOA
Current Bidding (Reserve Has Been Met)
Minimum Bid: $7,500
Final prices include buyers premium: $9,775
Estimate: $15,000 - $20,000
Number Bids: 3
Auction closed on Saturday, January 16, 2021.
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