Cowboy Cauldron founder and president Mike Bertelsen grew up in a small town in the high desert of the American West. The outdoors was a huge part of his life. Horses, hunting, fishing, the whole deal. And he was an absolute firebug. You know the kid who just can’t stop poking fires with a stick? That’s him.
Mike worked as a fly fishing guide in Jackson, Wyoming, and when he realized that not having enough money for gas to go fishing on his own time was getting really old, he went to law school. After the bar exam he went east to try his hand out in the big cities. He didn’t find many takers for the talents of a westerner, and literally spent time hungry and wondering if he would keep dry. Eventually, he got a break, and got a chance to work on the staff of a congressman from Arizona. A few years and an ulcer from the stress later, and after working as the counsel for the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, he eventually became a lobbyist representing the entire mutual fund industry. But he never lost his passion for the outdoors. Entertaining was a big part of his professional life, and he missed the campfires of home. He was living property that had been part of Mount Vernon – the home of George Washington, and had been given permission to roam the estate pretty much at will. With authentic colonial history all around him, he got inspiration from a piece on the estate. He decided to create a fire feature that would draw people together in that same intimate and personal environment of a campfire, but without blackened rocks, half-burnt logs, and dirt. It had to be beautiful enough to entertain at the very highest levels of sophistication, (you know, Senators and all…) but still feel comfortable and informal. Mike came up with a design that accomplished all of these things, and the Cowboy Cauldron was born.
After a decade-and-a-half in the business of politics, Mike had had a snoot-full of it all, and took his wife and two kids back west. When he got there, his buddies saw the Cauldron, and they all wanted him to make more. Although he successfully avoided doing so for a while, (after all, making Cauldrons is damn difficult) the requests were relentless. After being around his Cauldron, they by-God wanted one of their own! Eventually, he acquiesced, and made two more. His friends were very, very happy. Then a call came in from New York. Could he please make one as a Christmas gift for a friends’ daughter? And, oh yeah, could he ship it there in time to get it stuffed down the proverbial chimney? The avalanche had started, and there was just no stopping it. In 2008, The Cowboy Cauldron Company was formed in an attempt to keep up with demand. Since then, new sizes have been developed, and the design refined to perfection.
Each cauldron is still made by hand, and thoroughly inspected to ensure the highest level of quality. In fact, Cowboy Cauldrons come with this guarantee: If you buy one and don’t love it, we’ll buy it back. Just return it to us within 60 days. We should note that we’ve never actually had one come back.