Western & English Today

FAL 2012

W&E Today provides retailers and manufacturers with education and ideas that provoke innovation in the Western and English markets.

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MANUFACTURER profile King of the Aussie Look Wilson King is still discovering more adventures, more success at the helm of Outback Trading Company Johnny D. Boggs Depending on how you look at things, it started in Australia … or maybe it was Japan ... though you could argue it began driving an orange Porsche 914 to Orange, Calif. ... but Wilson King will likely agree that Outback Trading Company really began after a two-hour ride in the rain in southeastern Pennsylvania. Flash back to when a 17-year-old Wilson King, who had grown up around horses — riding English, not Western (hey, it is Pennsylvania) — went to Japan to compete in the Inter-Pacific Pony Club Nationals. "Nighttime I usually ended up in bars with Australians, New Zealanders and some English, too," King recalls. After graduating from Penn State, King thought about those Aussies he' d met in Japan. "I wanted to see why they were so damned happy," he says, and that began a yearlong adventure. He returned to Japan, where he wound up sleeping in the Tokyo airport for three nights. "If you go to most countries, people insist on you come visit their house. But the Japanese are not that way. I' d call, and they'd hang up on me," he jokes. But he also made friends with a Korean, so off he went to Seoul for a few weeks. "T at's a diff erent world." T en Hong Kong. "T at's a fun city." And fi nally, Australia, for roughly nine months (and about three months in New Zealand. Oh, wait. We almost forgot about those orange Porsches. "T ere was some guy buying Porsches here [in Pennsylvania] and reselling them in California, so a friend of mine and me each took one to Orange, California." King flew to Japan from Southern California. Some jobs in Australia had been arranged, but King wasn't there for money, or work, but for fun. With $30 in his pockets after his arrival Down Under, he bought two broken motorcycles and put them together to make one that could carry him across the country. FALL 2012 Western & English Today 17 Along the way, he also picked up an oilskin duster. "I' d ride 600 miles to another property and have a job there for six weeks, get a bit of money, make new friends and move on down the road. I worked sheep and cattle, fi xed fences. T ere was always something that needed to be done that no one wanted to do, so they' d say, 'Get that Yankee over here. He can do it.'" T is almost sounds like a story straight out of the J. Peterman catalog (or a scene from Seinfeld, which spoofed the real Peterman). Even King can see "a bit" of truth in that: After all, he once supplied Peterman with product. King, with his many avid outdoor interests, is not only president of Outback Trading Company, but is also hands-on in product development and fi eld- testing.

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