Hatteberg's People - Harold Dawley

By: Larry Hatteberg Email
By: Larry Hatteberg Email

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On Hatteberg’s People, it is a little Dodge City Museum and it is not easy to find. Harold Dawley is one of those guys who found a collecting ‘niche’ and stuck to it. What he also found as he was collecting was happiness.

With Melting snow arguing with the sun, Harold Dawley makes the short walk from his Dodge City home…to his ‘life’.

“The idea of the building was just to have a place to keep my bits.”

Harold has created the Museum of Bridle Bits. Hundreds and hundreds of them from all over the world on display.

“My idea when I started collecting this, my idea was to get as many different kinds as I could without having two alike. I tell people this building is my life now.”

And it is a full life….bridle bits from Kansas and the world line his walls in what may be the only bridle bit museum in the world.

“I have accomplished something here that you just can’t go out into the country and find another one and match it.

“Come back here.”

“The horse has always been my favorite animal ever since I was a little bitty guy. And of course the bit is the main tool of communication between the man and the horse. Sometimes I think the horse talks back at you when the ‘bridle’ isn’t going to do that.”

For 30 years, Harold has been collecting these bridle bits. His collection sprawls from wall to wall…but it wasn’t always this way.

“I had them in the house, I had them in the garage, I had them in sacks, I had them in boxes…I had no place to put them where I could keep them protected you know.

So that’s when the building was built.

“And that makes me feel like I have really accomplished something.”

Over on an old dresser in his museum, was a picture of a cowboy…I asked who it was.

“You mean that cowboy?”


“That’s me!”

“That’s you?”

“Yeah, the one with the gold shirt on and the brown hat…yeah, that’s me!”

In the late 40’s and early ‘50’s Harold wanted to be a movie star. Even appeared as an extra in the movie; Comanche.

“No kidding. I had that idea that I would like to be one.”

That dream didn’t work out…but he did become a star collector…with his own museum.

“I mean…it is a complete original.”

Teaching the rest of us about bridle bits…and keeping the old west alive.

“It’s a great satisfaction.

Larry's Note: To make an appointment to see Harold Dawley's Museum call this Dodge City number: 1-620-227-6839.

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