In order to become the expert that he wanted to become, Mark decided that he needed to:
Find a strong gunsmithing degree program and receive formal training on the craft
Surround himself with existing gunsmiths who already knew the trade
Perfect his skills as a marksman in order to completely understand the impact of even the slightest modifications on accuracy, consistency and feel.
In 1987, to address his first need, Mark enrolled in a gunsmithing program at Trinidad State Junior College (TSJC) in Southeastern Colorado. Mark completed his first series of studies in 1989 and graduated with an Associates in Applied Science (AAS). After graduation Mark returned to TSJC for several advanced courses to further refine his skills.
During his studies, and for the following decade after completing his degree, Mark concentrated on his shooting and on soaking up knowledge from friends in the gunsmithing and firearms industry. While employed as a full-time machinist in Corporate America, Mark performed riflesmithing on the side for himself and for friends. During this period he applied the many skills he had learned over the years and became an expert in his craft.
In 2000, Mark "retired" from the corporate world in order to focus full-time on his custom rifle building business, Tumbleweeds Custom Rifles. Since then Mark has worked on thousands of firearms, has become an expert in his industry, and is recognized as an accomplished competition shooter. Mark has never been happier and has never looked back.
Mark Pharr started Tumbleweeds Custom Rifles in 1983 after obtaining a Federal Firearms License. Mark's original business was buying and selling guns on a part-time basis, but Mark's long-term plans were far greater than trading firearms. Mark was already a machinist by trade and had a lifelong passion for shooting. He knew he wanted to become an expert gunsmith and be able to build his own rifles.
Walker Polan was born and raised in Texas, where he grew up learning to hunt in south Texas and fish along the Texas coast. He left for Colorado in 2012, enrolling in the two year Gunsmithing program at Trinidad State Junior College and receiving an Associates of Applied Sciences degree as well as certified training in applying Cerakote ceramic based coatings.
He finished school and moved back to Texas in the fall of 2014 and joined the team at Tumbleweeds at the start of 2015.