Horn Dawg's History
Horn Dawg Leather began on August 17, 1993, when Jerry “Corky” Courtney made a pair of short-short chaps for WildFire! to wear to their favorite San Diego, CA, honky tonk. The manager saw the effect of that leather outfit on customers and ordered 13 pair for his waitresses.
After that, orders for Corky’s leather artistry started coming in and he was making one-of-a-kind chaps, halter tops, and wristbands for bar patrons and exotic dancers. Come spring of 1994, Corky and “WildFire!” (aka Eunis Christensen) headed to the 1994 Laughlin River Rally with one rack of leatherwear and a Horn Dawg Leather computer-print cardboard sign made by Corky’s son, Bo (also Jerry Courtney.)
For the next seven years, Corky and WildFire! followed the motorcycle rally circuit with a vendor booth fully stocked with Corky’s leather creations. His reputation for originality and skill in leatherwork grew with each event. Customers laughed with delight at each little leather Horn Dawg puppy that would come with their order. Thunder Press wrote about him and American Thunder TV series featured Horn Dawg Leather during a show about the Love Ride. Riders happily paid $900 for custom vests and $500 for halter tops. Then the dot.com bubble burst and sales ground to a halt.
By the end of December 2001, no orders were coming in and it looked like Corky was going to have to get a job. As a last-ditch effort, he made a few Harley tank panels and headed off to a couple Harley stores to see if any dealers wanted to buy his leather craftsmanship. Only one after-market shop showed interest. The situation looked dark.
Corky made a last stop at Indian Motorcycle of El Cajon in San Diego County. The manager, recognizing that the long, beautiful stretch of tank on a 1999 through 2001 Indian Chief might really stand out with decorative leather on it, asked Corky, “Do you think you can make tank bibs for a few of these?”
That day Horn Dawg Leather began a new chapter and developed a lifelong brotherhood with Indian Riders.
From January, 2002 to September, 2004, Corky and WildFire! grew solid relations with Indian MC dealers around the country. WildFire! handled the business end of Horn Dawg leather, sending out beautiful, glossy photos that Corky had taken (he had an artist’s eye for photography) to every Indian dealer in the U.S. The couple made several trips to annual events at Don Nofrey’s Gilroy Indian Dealership. Nearly a thousand tank panels were created for Indian Riders during those years.
The day before the September, 2004, Indian Motorcycle Dealers gathering in Las Vegas, the Gilroy Indian MC factory announced it was closing its doors. Instead of Horn Dawg having to shut down as well, though, the specialty leather business was able to use www.horndawgleather.com to reach Indian Riders directly. Corky and WildFire! went to Iron Indian Rider rallies where his work always was appreciated. Many close bonds formed between riders and Corky as he created unique tank panels, mud flaps, fork wraps and other custom leather that turned their bikes into works of art.
The highlight gathering with Indian Riders came in May, 2005, when Corky and WildFire! traveled to the 2nd Annual Indian Rally at Hunter’s Friend Resort, Indian Point, near Branson, MO. How cool it was to see so many clients/friends face-to-face, like CKelly and Sherry, Maurice, and Grizz and Karen. Horn Dawg Leather came back from the Rally with several months of custom work for Corky to create.
On July 4th weekend Corky didn’t look too good. Corky went to the doctor, and after a few tests, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Surgery followed the next month. Amazingly, Indian Riders from everywhere called to wish him well during his month in the hospital and rehab. When he came home, as weak as he was, he kept working on the orders.
At the end of January, 2006, Danny “Fugdbdt” and another Iron Indian brother came to see Corky. They brought an Iron Indian Riders Honorary Lifetime Membership custom plaque with them. The plaque inscription declared that Jerry “Corky” Courtney was IIRA/HLM #0005 and Eunis “WildFire!” Christensen was IIRA/HLM #0006. At the bottom it said “A Heartfelt Thank You For Dedication To Your Craftsmanship And For Supporting Your Fellow Iron Indian Riders.”
A few days later, on February 2, 2006, Corky passed away at home. WildFire! was with him. The Indian Riders brotherhood rode to his Memorial Service in full colors.
In May, 2006, WildFire! brought remaining Indian tank panels and a small vial of Corky’s ashes with her to the 3rd Annual Indian Rally at Hunter’s Friend, Indian Point, MO. The bikes were dusted, ashes spread and part of Corky forever belongs to the Hunter’s Friend Annual Indian Rally.
Three years later WildFire! was ready to put Horn Dawg Leather up for sale to someone who would create the same made-in-the-USA craftsmanship and caring for riders that were Corky's Legacy. From the first phone calls, it was decided to carry on the original Horn Dawg traditions.
You can trust that Horn Dawg Leather has found a good home with Joe and Roy, motorcyclists to the core, and will take care of your needs on a one on one basis. Feel free to call and talk to Joe or Roy directly anytime.