Tag Archives: The Cowboy Bootmakers

Carrlyn Miller

Charlie Dunn (center) Carrlyn Miller (right) in Austin, TX

How did you get involved in the world of bootmaking?

I had worked in the medical field for years and I was ready for a change. I answered an ad in the newspaper for a secretary. When I went to my first interview it was by the office manager for a doctor and so I thought it would be for a medical office. It turns out that this doctor also owned a boot shop. My second interview was with the accountant for that office. I found out later that it was between me and another woman but the accountant liked my name. I was happy to finally find a job because I had been looking for weeks. I was told that I would be working for a bootmaker by the name of Charlie Dunn, which I had never heard of. I told my best friend that I had been hired to work for Charlie Dunn. She said, “You’re working for Charlie Dunn? How did you get that?” She filled me in on who he was and was very impressed. She is now married to one of the bootmakers that worked here. Continue reading

Paul Krause


What inspired you to become a bootmaker?

Upon discharge from the USAF, in 1971, I went to work in a shoe repair shop in the Central Coast of California. There was an unclaimed pair of Tony Lama boots in the corner of the shop that I was told I could have. I wore a size 12 and the boots were 13d. So, in my ignorance, I took them apart, cut the toe off, overlapped the edges and stitched it back together again. Terrible job, but it was exciting to see the possibilities. Cowboy boots became a favorite thing to work on. Continue reading

Wes Shugart

Wes Shugart and Deana McGuffin. Wichita Falls, 2018.

What inspired you to become a bootmaker?

I became a boot maker for a few reasons. One was the need to create, to make something tangible, functional art. Another was a fear of boredom. I was entering a new phase of my life and needed something to do as a hobby. What I thought was going to be a hobby however became a full time job. Continue reading

Dean Jackson

What inspired you to become a bootmaker?

I attended TSTI …… Texas State Technical Institute in Amarillo, Texas starting in 1978.  I completed the boot/shoe repair and saddle making and opened my own shop in Lovington, NM in May of 1980. After a couple of years making and repairing saddles I realized I hated all saddle work.  I heard about a bootmaker in Hobbs, NM that might take a “serious” apprentice. I started going to A. W. (Bud) Pate’s shop at night after I closed my shop and he worked with me until midnight or 1am in the morning.   Then I would go home and catch a few hours sleep and start all over the next day. After about 6 months Bud saw I was “serious” and he told me that he wanted to sell me the whole shop and that he would continue my apprenticeship and he would “piece work” for me.  I will always be grateful for him making me this deal so that a “kid” could survive. Continue reading

Lee Miller

What inspired you to become a Bootmaker?

As a young person I was attracted to art; drawing, sculpture, and painting. I spent most of my young years when not in school with my Godfather Paul Venne in the shoe department at my Grandfathers store. What a mystery Footwear was, like sculpture only in a practical sense, to fit people’s feet, to make them walk with comfort and style. Continue reading