News / USA

Rodeo Brings Out Boots

Cowboy boots at the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
Cowboy boots at the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

Multimedia

Greg Flakus

In some areas of the western United States, cowboy boots, hats, and belts  are still popular even as the percentage of people who actually work on ranches and farms declines in relation to those who live and work in cities and suburbs. One place to see lots of cowboy boots is the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, an event where cowboys compete in riding and roping.

There are boots by the thousands at the show from very small, to very large.

Most boot-wearing fans of rodeos, the sporting events where cowboys compete in riding and roping, say they favor this type of footwear for the comfort.

Real cowboys favor high boots for protection and they like pointed toes because they fit better in the stirrups.

People looking for both fashion and comfort have expanded the market. Lawyers and business executives in Houston are often seen in cowboy boots year round.

At the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, those looking for some nice new boots have lots of options including M.L. Leddy's, a Texas-based company that has made boots for everyone from Elvis Presley to U.S. presidents.

The average price of a pair of their boots is $1,600.  General Manager Mark Dunlap says most customers can easily afford it.

"Those who are in a higher income bracket certainly are a big part of our customers, but I will tell you, we sell a lot of cowboys cowboy boots," noted Dunlap.

Dunlap says the secret to a comfortable boot is arch support that extends from the high heel to the sole.

"Once we get a boot on you and we get that arch support set properly, everything else kind of follows," added Dunlap.

He says the steel support shown in this cutaway boot is key, but the leathers used, the construction of the heel, and other details also make a boot comfortable and durable.

For custom-made boots, the process starts with detailed measurements of both feet, since often there are differences between one foot and the other.

M.L. Leddy's skilled bootmakers use the materials the customer wants.  One pair of alligator-skin boots costs $10,000.  Dunlap says people choose exotic skins for a variety of reasons.

"A calf skin, for example, is a smooth-finished leather, very tough leather, but it can scuff and scratch. Ostrich, elephant, leathers of that type, have a very durable finish to them, so they can withstand a lot more punishment," Dunlap explained.

Another thing for customers to consider is the decoration of the boot tops.

"As far as the detail in the tops - hand-tooled tops, inlaid tops, monogram tops, hand-stitched tops - we do them all and it's just up to the imagination of the buyer," Dunlap said.

In the end, it may be all about imagining yourself as a cowboy.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid