Tag Archives: Brian Thomas


Kid’s cowboy boots crack me up. Look at the plastic soles with the molded “pegs.” I’ve seen brass nails pretending to be pegs… but these made me smile, kinda like those plastic pistols they sell at the dollar store. They are so bang bang phony.

(These are my boots, resoled and burnished by Brian Thomas in Abilene, TX.)

Award Winning Custom Cowboy Boots

Abilene bootmaker, Brian C. Thomas won the Professionals’ Choice Award on October 8th, 2005, at the 17th Annual Boot and Saddlemakers Roundup in Wichita Falls, Texas.

The award is given annually to a single bootmaker whose handmade cowboy boots exhibit the greatest artistry and craftsmanship.

Thomas’s boot was chosen from a field of approximately 30 pairs built by bootmakers from across the United States. The judges for this category are master bootmakers each with over 20 years experience. Tex Robin, one of this year’s judges, reported that the panel carefully examined each boot entry top to bottom…and then stitch by stitch.

2005 Trophy Buckle Winners

Larry Binford (Navasota, TX) Winner

Chuck Deats (Centennial, CO) Runner-Up

Working Cowboy Boot:
Terry Young (Paducah, TX) Winner

Dew Westover (Vernon, TX) Runner-Up

Bill Niemczyk (Granby, CT) Winner

Mike Spikes (Henrietta, TX) Runner-Up

Top Stitching:
Mike Spikes (Henrietta, TX) Winner

Bill Niemczyk (Granby, CT) Winner

Dew Westover (Vernon,TX) Runner-Up

Carl Chappell (Saint Jo, TX) Winner
Read more about this winning boot.

Professional’s Choice:
Brian Thomas (Abilene TX) Winner

Bill Niemczyk (Granby, CT) Runner-Up

For more information about this or next year’s contest, please contact Mr. Gary Cunningham at cunninghamtx@hotmail.com, or (940) 691-6750.

Tips on visiting a custom bootshop

1. Always make an appointment! Many bootmakers have their shops at home. Business hours vary greatly…for good and for bad.

2. Ask if there are photos or cowboy boots in the shop for you to see. When bootmakers know you’re coming sometimes they can hold on to a finished pair for a little while before shipping them out. I’ve been places where the only boots in the shop were the ones on the bootmaker’s feet.

3. Don’t do too much drinkin’ or dancin’ the night before your visit. If your feet are unusually swollen it will interfere with your measurements. (This can go for long airplane rides as well.) Most people like afternoon appointments because it’s often a “happy medium” for boot fit.

4. Bring your checkbook. Relatively few bootmakers take credit cards. Most often when you buy a pair of custom cowboy boots you’ll be asked to pay half the amount at the time of the order, and the rest when your boots are finished.

5. Wear clean socks. Pick a pair similar to the ones you are planning on wearing with your boots. Your foot measurements will be taken with your pant legs pulled up and your socks on.

6. Put the bootmaker’s phone number on your cell phone’s speed dial …some boot shops are really “off the beaten path.”

7. Be honest with the bootmaker and respectful of their time. In one-person shops all bootmaking stops when you walk in the door. If you are just stopping by to say “howdy” and look at their work…make it a short visit. Bootmakers will gladly take your measurements if you’re a serious customer, but staying two hours, getting fitting and planning out a pair of boot that you never order …just isn’t cool.

PHOTO: After 15 years of bootmaking, Brian Thomas has just opened his shop in Abilene, Texas. Better act fast before his waitlist gets too long! Contact Mr. Thomas at B17CREWDOG@aol.com (…or phone 325-672-2344.)