Wright’s horse stumbled as she tried to mount it Wednesday night in Spring Creek, sending her to the ground, Elko County sheriff’s deputies said.
Deputies told the Elko Daily Free Press that the horse then reared and landed on top of her. She was taken to an Elko hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
The store is one of the few places in the world that specializes in making and repairing gear for ranchers and working cowboys, including saddles, bits and spurs.
The store was founded in 1929 by Joe Capriola, an apprentice of world-renowned leather craftsman G.S. Garcia.
It was purchased by Wright’s parents, Paul and Betty Bear, in 1958. Wright and her husband, Doug, bought it in 1985, and have since operated it with their son, John.
Paula Wright traveled around the world to promote the business. The store’s customers not only hail from across the United States, but also from Europe to Asia.
“She was really instrumental in putting Capriola on the map as being an elite western store,” friend and businesswoman Linda Bunch said. “You’d see someone in Texas, and you’d say you were from Elko, and they’d say, ‘Oh, you know J.M. Capriola?’”
Garcia brought his leather skills and love of rodeo to Elko in 1896, starting a “Wild West Show” that eventually evolved into the Silver State Stampede.
Wright long honored the traditions of both the Capriola and Garcia brands, friends said, and took part in planning Elko’s centennial celebration of the Silver State Stampede.