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HOME 2010: Design Elements

Great finds for a Rocky Mountain lifestyle

From vintage beadwork to kitschy porcelain and fantastic shedhorn furnishings Fighting Bear offers diverse high quality Western collectibles in the region, Terry Winchell, has been researching the trade for 30 years.

Fighting Bear Antiques

Thirty years of western excellence

Photography by Audrey Hall  
August 2010

TERRY AND CLAUDIA WINCHELL, owners of Fighting Bear Antiques, are celebrating a 30-year anniversary. Over this multi-decade stretch, the renowned store on a quiet side street of Jackson Hole, Wyoming has maintained a stellar reputation for carrying the finest in Western collectibles. It's Terry's expertise in all things historically western and his unique sourcing of rare collectibles, that keep loyal customers-turned-friends coming through the door year after year.

Winchell is considered a guru of Thomas Molesworth, the famed furniture maker from Wyoming, and has a true depth of knowledge when it comes to the history and legacy of Western arts and crafts. Reading passionately about each of his acquisitions, Winchell is committed to knowing the story behind each artifact he sources. “The biggest part of my success is that I love to read and have great retention. The first thing I do when I purchase a piece is learn everything I can about it.” Winchell is candid with his extensive knowledge of the American West. Conversation about history and artisans flow heartily in the store.

“We’re known primarily for Molesworth but we also have rustic furniture in general, native American beadwork and textiles. We really try to create the same atmosphere you would see in a 1930’s Wyoming lodge right down to the deceased art.” Walking into Fighting Bear is like stepping back in time and glimpsing the heyday of Western design. Since Fighting Bear first opened, Winchell's expertise has grown and the collectible market has matured. “I started early on before the boom in a little log cabin in 1981. We advertised in the Thrifty Nickel and at one point had 30 pairs of Wooly chaps that I wasn’t sure I could sell." Winchell describes his tenets regarding collecting in today's world. “I’ve seen a lot of trends, but what they are gravitating to is higher quality western collectibles — pieces with age and history. When I started there was a lot more kitsch. Now people are looking for quality. The bottom of the market is gone and better things are selling.”

This Western hospitality is enthusiastically extended to locals, tourists and newcomers in the Teton Valley. “Since we’ve been around so long, we can help direct people who are unfamiliar with the area.” Conveniently located near the plaza, yet away from the congestion, Fighting Bear is a must for any collector or admirer of Western art and antiques.

Fighting Bear Antiques
375 S. Cache
Jackson Hole, Wyoming 83001
307-733-2669 • 866-690-2669
www.fightingbear.com

The entrance to Fighting Bear Antiques leads to a treasure trove of Western history.

An expert on Thomas Molesworth furniture, Winchell has rare representations of original Shoshone furniture Company Collections.

Terry and Claudie Winchell, the owners of Fighting Bear Antiques, are celebrating a thirty year anniversary in business in Jackson Hole, Wyoming