January 30th, 2011
On Hatteberg's People, we don't think much about leather anymore. We use it of course, but not like they did in the old days. That's why a leather shop is becoming part of history rather than the future. Across Kansas there are a few left and one is in Hutchinson. It's run by a low-key guy who calls himself 'Gibbo'. Yep, Gibbo.
"I've done it for so long there doesn't seem to be much of a challenge anymore."
'Gibbo' works out of a small workshop next to his home. Can't miss it. It's got a parking meter in front, it doesn't work, but the man inside does.
"This was home and I started doing it here, and I was working for Cessna and I started doing this as a hobby."
So for 30 years, he's worked in this little leather shop. Most of the tools are old and worn, and that is just like he wants them.
"Oh yeah they are so much better..."
"This is a National Cash Register. It was made in 1915."
Amongst the leather apparel that is popular with cowboys and motorcyclists, are aging sewing machines, surrounded by the smell of leather.
" A person has got to keep busy."
"Before the day is over I've done five or six jobs, it's just something to do."
But it's not just the store he loves.
"It's just fun to be on a motorcycle. I've been riding it since I was 18 years old, that's when I got my first motorcycle."
He's been riding since the '40's and he's been to sixty countries and spent years riding throughout the U.S.
"Traveling works good for me, especially traveling by motorcycle."
"You gotta be doing something. If you're not doing something you are going to be bored to death."
Now in his eighties, he spends much of his time with the leather...fixing...cleaning, repairing and loving what he does.
"I've done it so long I guess I'm good at it."
As you look around his shop, the tools of his trade are scattered like memories. But it's his name 'Gibbo' that folks ask about...they want to know his real name.
"Well we don't talk about that."
Ok, no problem...Gibbo it is.
From a little Hutch Leather shop...a man lives his dream....traveling...and working with his hands. For Gibbo...nothing could be better.
"Yeah, I'm happy.....real happy."