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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs