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His father was instrumental in inspiring an early interest in hand tools, and soon Ennis discovered his own inherent interest in gunsmithing and knife making. He fashioned his first knife and his first pair of spurs when he was 12. He built his first rifle when he was 16 and it is still a prized possession.
Also born in him was an interest in the cowboy era, and the western way of life. He spent hours looking at old photos and paintings, and confesses every piece of old gear that hit a gun show must still have his fingerprints on it.
After a stint in the U.S. Air Force, he returned to California and a job as an electroplater. On the GI Bill, he went to the Colorado School of Trade, a gunsmith school, and for four years, he worked and finished his education.
The first spurs he made for himself were in the Spanish vaquero style; the style is still his favorite. He also has created holsters, gun belts, cuffs, gauntlets, chaps, and harness equipment. All his regalia is frontier era, from 1815-1915.
In 1990, he left the aerospace industry where he was a tool and die maker for an aircraft company, and went full-time into bit and spur making. Meanwhile, he did various things to make enough money for his family to survive. He restored antique firearms and bits, spurs, leathers, knives, swords, and sheaths. He made spurs, straps, buckles, cuffs, holsters, and gun belts. And he built a Kentucky rifle while he continued his restoration work.
In addition, he did a lot of engraving for customers. He still does the restoration work but now tries to leave more time for his creative artwork.
Silver is the traditional metal of horsemen and it was no surprise that Ennis should enter the world of this precious metal, making timeless masterpieces in the way of spurs. Handforged, hardened, and tempered so they will not bend or break, they reflect the spirit of the artist that perhaps only John C. Ennis could give them.