Although he was born, raised, and continues to be a farmer-rancher in SW Kansas, Ken Weidner's true passion is studying the life style of the Plains Indians who also lived in this area. His interest began as a school boy when he wanted to learn how to utilize the hides from the animals he harvested, to making weapons and tools from local materials. This led into years of study, trial and error, and refining the various skills necessary to convert basic bird, animal, and plants (coupled with introduced trade goods) into functional pieces of clothing, weapons, tools, and horse tack necessary for the daily life of the original inhabitants of this area.

Ken's education first began by reading hundreds of books, magazines, and museum publications. When he acquired his first muzzle loading rifle his whole life changed. Soon after he attended his first black powder "rendezvous" and began to attend these events as well as events held at historic sites. He soon put together a portrait of a young white hunter-trapper but when he met a friend, Tom Scarborough, who portrayed a Southern Cheyenne man, all that changed. Tom stressed the importance of time period and tribal style. Soon Ken turned all his focus onto the Southern Cheyenne of the Indian Wars time period. Of course to understand the Southern Cheyenne a person has to have a knowledge of surrounding tribes as well as encroaching white influences. His research continues and is opening up into an interest in Kiowa, Comanche as well as Pawnee.

Participating in various living history events has opened many doors for Ken. Not only has he equipped a fully furnished Southern Cheyenne tipi complete with buffalo robes, parfleches, beadwork, tools, cooking utensils, saddles and horse tack, but he has camped and lived with the equipment to learn how it all works. Learning how an item works is very important, but equally as important is learning how an item does NOT work. The "hands on" trial and error learning is a never-ending education.

One of the steepest learning curves that Ken has encountered is making and using Indian saddles and horse tack. Contrary to popular belief, Plains Indians did use saddles. As nomadic people who were often on the move, having saddles to be able to pack their belongings and make riding more comfortable, was essential. Ken is one of the few people in the world making authentically constructed Indian saddles today. He has been commissioned to make many saddles for various historic sites and museums, as well as for private collections. His saddles can be seen at Little Bighorn Battlefield NHS, Washita Battlefield NPS, Fort Larned NPS, Oklahoma Historical Society Museum, Autry Museum as well as the Smithsonian Institute National Museum of American Indian, as well as many smaller museums and collections.

Through his involvement in living history events, Ken has been invited to participate in various film and movie activities as well. He has held roles as a mounted soldier or warrior in movies such as “Ride with the Devil”, “The Postman”, “Bloody Dawn”, as well as a documentary on the Little Bighorn. TV and movie props and saddle rentals include “The Missing”, “The Homesman”, “The Son”, “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”, and “Montford the Chickasaw Rancher”. In the past two years, he and Curtis Carter have worked to equip a dozen Southern Cheyenne men and half dozen women for the documentary “The Contested Plains”, which is in post-production. Their goal was to provide the most historically accurate portrayal of Southern Cheyenne people of our time. They are currently working on equipping a few Pawnee men and women in the production of “Sod and Stubble”.

One more outlet for his work is in the work of western artists. Ken has been modeling for various artists for over 25 years. In the past four years, he and Curtis Carter have teamed up with photographer Karen Voepel to capture some of the most vivid and intense reference photos that are available. By setting up scenes with accurate reproductions, the reality of the past comes to life in the present. Each photo session gets better, and we are anxious to produce more reference photos for purchase here on this page.

Of course, none of this would be possible without his wonderful support staff. Ken's wife Meg gives him unquestioned love and support. Often he wonders "Why does she put up with me, much less support my projects?". Daughter Lacey and son Tate put their lives on hold for a few days last year to help their father on the set of “The Contested Plains”. With their help as well as other friends the tipi village came to life.

"I would like to thank you for taking the time to visit our page and I hope you like what you see."

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