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Cracker Whip


P. “Curly” Dekle (1912–2004), one of Florida’s most talented whip makers, learned to braid “Cracker” cow whips from his father while growing up on a farm in rural Florida. Dekle differed from most other whip-makers in that he started braiding the outer layer of leather from the tip down to the handle. This construction of the whip made a final knot at the tip unnecessary, which let his whips have a louder “cracking” sound. This cracking sound is very important to cattlemen in controlling the cows they are herding.

Dekle was also well known for his whip acts performed throughout Florida. Dekle’s whip demonstrations showed his incredible skill and accuracy with a whip, and his ability to entertain a crowd with his folksy humor. Dekle won the Florida Folk Heritage Award in 1987.  (Collection of the Museum of Florida History).