My name is Mark Elliott and I am the whipmaker at Palo Duro Whips. I made my first whip in February of 2017 at the age of 61 , a pretty late start for sure. Most beginner whipmakers are young folks and I’ve been told that (in not so many words) that I’m too old to ever be really good at it. That may be true, but it doesn’t stop me from trying.
I’m a paramedic, and have been one for over 20 years. I still work full time, but because of the nature of the job, I have four or five days off a week and I’ve picked up quite a few hobbies over the years to keep me from driving my wife crazy. I spend lot of time hiking and kayaking. I take photos of the critters, mostly birds, and of the scenery I come across while hiking and kayaking. You can see my photos at my birding blog if you are interested. I do some woodworking and a bit of leather tooling, and I brew my own beer as well. To be honest, I don’t know if it is the actual hobby that interests me so much, I think that I just like learning new things. I really despise boredom. Before I was a paramedic I was a chef for 20 years and I still cook some.
The name Palo Duro comes from a canyon near where I live where I often hike and bird. It is beautiful and if you get the chance you should visit. I don’t know exactly why I chose this name, perhaps it is because the canyon is a place where I feel I belong. I love the colors, and the solitude and the heat. It gets a bit crowded during the summer, but I’ve learned to avoid the worst of those times and places.
There are a lot of folks that have helped me in this whipmaking endeavor and I want to take this chance to thank them. They are all very gifted artists and wonderful folks that have kindly given me advice and encouragement and taken the time to teach me how to build and crack whips. Thank you Rachel, Roy, Tyler, and Robby. Thank you Robert, and Jyri, and Jessie, Jeff, and Rhett. Thank you Glenn Denhom and Bernie Wojcicki. Thanks to all the whipmakers and crackers at the Whip Basic Forum and the Facebook group The Whipmaker’s Hook. I’ve never actually met any of these folks, but through correspondence with them and videos they have made, I’ve learned all that I know of this craft.
A special note about Bernie Wojcicki. I never met or corresponded with him, but Bernie made kangaroo hide whips for over 40 years and had the graciousness and foresight to make a series of YouTube videos in order to teach his craft to others. Bernie died the year before I became interested in whips, but through his videos I feel I got to know him very well. There are, of course, many others that have influence me in one way or another and I thank them all.
One last thing. If you have any trouble at all with a whip you buy from me, please let me know and I will do whatever is necessary to make it right. Thank you for your interest in Palo Duro Whips.