Barbers Blackie M. Blackburn and his partner, Daniel J. Lujan, cut great haircuts. People who leave their shop at 5425 S. 4015 West, always look a lot better than when they went in.
But WATCH OUT for the elk whistle. And be careful of what these two barbers tell you about all the animals and the fish and all the rocks and sea shells and stuffed snakes and the stuffed weasel and the giant fly swatter they have scattered about their shop.Blackburn and Lujan have been known to kid people just a little and stretch the truth just a little bit more. But they cut a good-looking head of hair.
The two barbers have been business partners longer than a lot of people stay married, and they probably see as much or more of each other than their wives do of them.
Blackburn collects practically everything. He has stuffed animal things he had when he was a boy. He even has hanging on the barber shop wall the skull of the milk cow his family had when he was growing up on a farm in Emery County.
He has an even more ornate longhorn cow skull, painted and embellished, that, he says, he traded an Indian two deer hides to get.
Lujan is proud of a stuffed 34-pound lake trout he caught three years ago at Flaming Gorge. He has that and a few other trinkets mounted on the shop's walls.
The two are graduates of the Salt Lake Barber College and say they met at barbers' meetings and decided 28 years ago to go into business together. They had a shop in a nearby bowling alley for many years and moved to their present location 19 years ago.
"This is a great business if you like people," said Blackburn. "We both like people and we like each other, so everything has been fine all these years except we don't make enough money. Business has never been red hot, you might say."
Blackburn said business was pretty good until long hair came into vogue in the 1970s. "Short hair is becoming more and more popular, so business is getting better. But nobody is going to get rich being a barber," he said.
A U.S. Air Force veteran of the Korean War, Blackburn started barbering 34 years ago and worked at it full time until 10 years ago, when he became a custodian at Calvin Smith Elementary School. Now he comes to the barber shop at about 4 p.m. during the week and works until 7 p.m.
Lujan, 58, was a U.S. Army tank driver during the Korean War and spent nine months in combat.
A barber for the past 35 years, Lujan worked full time for Kennecott 34 years and was a part-time barber until he retired from the copper company in 1984.
The two men are full of fun and often ask their customers to try to solve puzzles, such as trying to take a large washer from a bolt with a nut on the end or free the ring that seems permanently attached to two horseshoes that are chained together. Both feats can be done if one has some imagination.
If they ask you to blow on the elk whistle, though, tell them you want to try the horseshoe trick again.
Blackburn carefully wiped the mouthpiece of the whistle off and handed it to a real dumb reporter recently and asked the reporter to try to blast a tune on the whistle. The reporter looked at the curved tubular whistle, with the free end curved back and aimed at the blower, but he was too busy thinking about what the noise must sound like to be suspicious.
The reporter puckered up, hoping that the sound would not call several big antlered beasts into the shop . . . and blew. And about half a cup of talcum powder spewed out the end of the whistle and all over the reporter, his eyeglasses and his scruffy sport coat.
Everybody in the packed barbershop had a good laugh, including the reporter, and Blackburn and Lujan were solicitous with a towel and a clothes brush.
You can get more than just a good haircut at the shop, that's for sure.