Local Man Goes to Washington, D.C. to Present Gift to President
|Clyde Larson went to Washington D.C. to present this saddle that he had made George W. Bush to the president himself.|
Clyde Larson awoke one morning to this abstract thought, "I should make a saddle for the president."
This idea festered in his head and he began discussing the it with Jim Kelley, a friend. Kelley recommended that Larson create a saddle that featured the faces of the presidents. With that he started work in earnest on a saddle that according to him required thousands of hours of work Once work started his issue became how he was going to get this saddle to President Bush.
The main link in this chain would be Sen. Orrin Hatch. When the senator came to Price to visit our museum Larson had occasion to speak with him about the saddle. Once Hatch saw the saddle which features Presidents George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Dwight D. Eisenhower, President George W. Bush and former President George H.W. Bush he began making plans for making the presentation happen.
"When he started asking where I would like to deliver the saddle I knew he was serious," said Larson. Larson told Hatch that he would take the saddle to the president's ranch or to Hill Air Force Base, but would really like to give it to him in the Oval Office. Hatch thought that would be a great idea.
Larson was contacted by the presidents office 10 days prior to the Oct. 16 presentation date.
"They told me if I wanted to do this I would have to make arrangements in the next 10 days. It was tight but we made it," said Larson. A special committee selects individuals that have applied to give gifts to the president. It only happens once every couple of years and only a select few are chosen.
Larson and his family took a bus straight from the airport to the White House. Larson and his family were so strapped for time that his son was left at the gate. He reported that the security check conducted by the Secret Service before allowing him to enter took over an hour. The guards at the front gates were especially suspicious of the large bag containing the saddle.
Once past the security check Larson and his family were led into the Oval Office to meet the president.
"He treated us like we were the president not him," said Larson. "He treated us like we were equal, he was very in charge and one of the most intelligent and articulate men I have ever met."
Larson reported that he and his family spent about 15 minutes with the president, conversing about various subjects. As they got up to leave Larson shook the president's hand and told Bush how great it was to have such an honest man working for him. Bush replied that it was nice to be reminded of that fact.