The cowboy boot was made the official state footwear of Texas when Governor Rick Perry signed House Concurrent Resolution No. 151 on June 15, 2007.
H.C.R. No. 151
HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION
WHEREAS, The State of Texas boasts a richly diverse cultural heritage, and through the years it has adopted a number of tangible representations of that heritage as official symbols; and
WHEREAS, For nearly a century, the cowboy boot has enjoyed a special status as one of the most treasured of Texas icons; and
WHEREAS, Although riding boots date back for centuries, and although ranches first appeared in Texas during the Spanish colonial era, the basic pattern of the cowboy boot was forged in the crucible of the post-Civil War trail drives; between 1866 and 1890, mounted cowboys drove millions of head of Texas cattle to northern and western markets along such famous trails as the Chisholm, Western, and Goodnight-Loving; and
WHEREAS, Boot makers in Texas and Kansas responded to suggestions from those cowboys regarding the design of their footwear, and a slimmer boot with a higher heel, more rounded toe, and rounded, reinforced instep began to be developed; and
WHEREAS, During the course of the 20th century, cowboy boots gained a mass appeal that ultimately extended to foreign lands; this popularity was driven by an enthusiasm for the West that was fostered in the 1920s and 1930s by radio shows and movie serials and in the post-World War II decades by rodeos and dude ranches; the public's fascination with cowboys and their apparel has also been fired by movie screen idols such as Tom Mix, by entertainers such as Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, and Dale Evans, and, in recent years, by movies such as Urban Cowboy and Silverado; and
WHEREAS, The lore of the cowboy boot is replete with the names of Texas boot makers who have contributed to the emergence of that boot as a distinct type, as well as to the continuing development of their craft; one of the most influential of the early boot makers was H. J. "Big Daddy Joe" Justin, who set up a boot repair shop in Spanish Fort, just off the Chisholm Trail in Montague County, in 1879; within a decade, Mr. Justin became one of the first to offer cowboy boots by mail order; and
WHEREAS, Other Texas boot makers whose businesses gained national prominence were Mr. Justin's daughter, Enid Justin Steltzer, who established the Nocona Boot Company in Nocona in 1925, Sam Lucchese, who founded the Lucchese Boot and Shoe Factory in San Antonio in 1883, and Tony Lama, who began with a shoe repair shop in El Paso in 1912; and
WHEREAS, Smaller establishments also hold an honored place in the annals of the cowboy boot; in 2002, more than 100 cowboy-boot makers were plying their trade in this state, many of them revered by connoisseurs who were willing to wait for periods of a year or more for a custom pair; these artisans were making boots for everyone from working cowboys to sports and entertainment celebrities and heads of state; and
WHEREAS, While they hew to a basic form, cowboy boots have evolved into an amazingly versatile article; fashioned with a variety of toe and heel styles, types of leather, and embellishment, they can be worn today on virtually any occasion; so remarkable has been their diversity that they have been the subject of several coffee-table books and at least two exhibitions: "These Boots Are Made for Gawking," at the Grace Museum in Abilene, and "Heels and Toes and Everything Goes: Cowboy Boots As Art," at the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum in Canyon; and
WHEREAS, An integral part of cowboy gear, cowboy boots played a valued role in one of the defining chapters in Texas history and continue to figure in the mythic romance of the Lone Star State; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the 80th Legislature of the State of Texas hereby designate the cowboy boot as the official State Footwear of Texas.
Because the cowboy boot was adopted by concurrent resolution it is not listed in the Texas Statutes.
Only a small number of Texas' myriad symbols have been actually adopted by an act of the legislature and written into the Texas Statutes.
"House Concurrent Resolution No. 151." Texas Legislature Online. The State of Texas, 2007. Web. 20 Nov 2011. <http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=80R&Bill=HCR151>.
More symbols & emblems: Complete list of official Texas state symbols from NETSTATE.COM.
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Why Cowboys Sleep With Their Boots On, by Laurie Lazzaro Knowlton. 32 pages. Publisher: Pelican Publishing (December 31, 1994) Reading level: Ages 4 and up. This beautifully illustrated, amusing story with its anticipatory suspense will delight kids and grown-ups alike, and everyone will be charmed by the nightly entourage of desert animals who play a key role. That is, until Slim Jim Watkins learns a thing or two and starts to sleep with his boots on.
Cowboy Boots: The Art & Sole, by Jennifer June. 99 pages. Publisher: Universe (April 24, 2007) Jennifer June, a custom cowboy boot maker, takes the reader through the diverse history of the boot, from the early days prior to 1930 to the modern twists on traditional styles popular a century down the line. She looks in detail at the motifs and metaphors that ornament the cowboy boot, from the artistic traditions of Texas boot makers to the symbolism in stitchings of flora and fauna, and examines the different styles, shapes, and materials of boots through the ages. Featuring insights and testimonials from custom cowboy boot makers and obsessive buyers alike, the book also features a section on how to design your own individual boot. Cowboy boots are the most emblematic of American fashion icons, repositories of western tradition and symbols of the strength and endurance of true American style. In recent times, cowboy boots have become permanent fixtures of the fashion world and of Hollywood westerns. Beautifully illustrated with photographs of boots, boot makers, and cowboy fashionistas, this book presents the definitive perspective on the changing roles and various styles of the most enduring American footwear.
The Cowboy Boot Book, by Tyler Beard. 144 pages. Publisher: Gibbs Smith; 1st edition (September 8, 1992) It's a "pictorial guide to fancy footgear," states Texas Monthly. THE COWBOY BOOT BOOK has it all--history, anatomy, leathers, fit, care, makers, sellers, and famous wearers--even a glossary of boot terms for the novice. Beard's anecdotes and Texas charm will keep you entertained; Arndt's heart-stopping photos will keep you enthralled. The recent renaissance of artful bootmaking will keep this selling.
Cowboy Boots, by Tyler Beard. 320 pages. Publisher: Gibbs Smith; Stated First edition (November 1, 2004) A collectible and fun little book on America's most fashionable footwear, the Small Boot Book is a close up look at the veritable trunk show of some of the most impressive cowboy boot designs from the most prestigious and famed bootmakers in the world, and is small and handy enough to carry with you when you're shopping for that next pair!
Art of the Boot, by Tyler Beard. 160 pages. Publisher: Gibbs Smith; 1 edition (February 24, 2006)
Now in paperback, this is the perennial best-seller that started it all, with an incredible look at the artistry happening in boot manufacturing over the last twenty years. With more than 25,000 copies sold in hardcover, Art of the Boot is a must-have guide to the artisans and manufacturers of America's classic footwear.