Out of the Fire, Into the Flames

I’m Mike Bertelsen and I am the owner and President of Cowboy Cauldron Company.

I didn’t start this business because it seemed like a good idea. In fact, if I were going to give someone career advice, it surely wouldn’t be to start selling fire pits. I started making Cauldrons because my buddies saw mine and wanted one. I of course said, “Hell no, get your own!” But they absolutely beat me up until I finally knuckled under and built two more. Then other friends wanted them, and then their friends wanted them. Now it’s my full-time job.

I’m lucky. My friends have always been there for me. Life hasn’t always been smooth, but they have made the ride a better one, and that’s for damn sure.

I believe that the Cowboy Cauldron is one of the greatest things you can add to your list of possessions, and that’s not because of the obvious self-interest. Sure, they are beautiful, functional, durable, and so on. They really are the best fire pits ever made, hands down.

But we really don’t sell a fire pit. We sell the hosting experience. Our company, and the Cowboy Cauldron Lifestyle, is about living well, as best you are able. It’s about sharing. It’s about taking care of those who take care of you. It’s about things that last, and things that work the way they are supposed to. If you are fortunate enough to be able to buy a Cauldron, for the cost of a new suit, you can be in a better situation to take care of the people who care about you, and that’s a wonderful place to find ones’ self.

If you want the longer version about my life and the genesis of the Cauldron, keep reading below. It’s actually a pretty neat story.

The Long Version

Cowboy Cauldron founder and president Mike Bertelsen grew up in a small town in the high desert of Brigham City. 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. After a few years and an ulcer from stress, he became the counsel for the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, then eventually moved into lobbying for the 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 on 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, he 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 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 friend's 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 has been refined.

Our Cauldrons are individually 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.