Boot/Shoe

The Cowboy Boot Destiny of Texan Mark Candela

by Gene Fowler Mark Candela makes custom cowboy boots in a turn-of-the-century farmhouse near Columbus, Texas.  Ever since I was a little bitty kid,” says Texas bootmaker Mark Candela, “I’ve loved anything western.” Having recently notched his 59th year wherever he notches ‘em, the Houston native grew up in an era when Hollywood westerns ruled the TV waves and the silver screen. “I had a Hopalong Cassidy watch,” he adds,
Accessories Artisan Leather

An Armory of Creations

By Liisa Andreassen  Ever wonder what it would feel like to be a medieval wonder woman or to walk in Aquaman’s shoes? From medieval legends and superheroes to knights in shining armor, leathercraft master Samuel Lee is helping people realize their fantasies – one leather creation at a time.    “I first became interested in making armor while I was in high school and doing live action play/ role play at Renaissance festivals,” Lee says. I created Prince Armory in 2007 to do this full time
Artisan Boot/Shoe

Motörhead and Mule Ears: The Cowboy Boot Mojo of Pascal Davayat’s Hollywood Riff Raff

by Gene Fowler Southern California bootmaker Pascal Davayat grew up in the rural Auvergne region of France, fascinated with cowboy boots and all things Wild West. “I lived on a solid diet of western movies and TV shows,” he says. Young Pascal dreamed of being a pirate or a cowboy, but yo-ho-ho-and-a-bottle-of-rum seemed unreachable, so he concentrated on the cowboy way. “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly was one
Saddles/Tack

Slone Saddles: Rooted in Rodeo

By Liisa Andreassen  Tod Slone, an icon in the western saddle making industry, had no idea that one day, saddle making would be his business. But here he is, 24 years after the founding of Slone Saddles (1996), where he and his wife, Lonna, currently employ more than 50 people, including their daughter, Kailey, and sons, Ace and Leske.   Tod Slone, an icon in the western saddle making industry, with his wife Lonna. “Built to
Boot/Shoe

TOUGH BOOTS FOR TOUGH CUSTOMERS

JK Boots builds on-the-job footwear for wildland firefighters, linemen, loggers, welders, mechanics, foresters, ironworkers — and more!  By Lynn Ascrizzi  Picture yourself lugging a 60-pound pack in the heat of summer, while hiking for miles across forested, mountainous terrain to reach your job site — literally, hundreds of acres of raging inferno.   There, in remote fire-prone regions like northeastern Nevada, central Utah and eastern Washington, you put in high-risk, 12-to-16-hour days. As your buddies race to hose down towering flames, you cut and dig wide swaths through the forest with chainsaw and shovel, hoping to contain backcountry blazes.   Special gear, like fire-resistant clothing, was provided by your contractor. But typically, one crucial piece of equipment is not covered: your firefighter boots!   Here’s where owning the right kind of footwear is a lifesaver. And, not just for
Accessories Leather

Coblentz Leather

“Top Quality Leather Goods for a Fair Investment”  by Gene Fowler  Last summer, a 12-year-old boy staying with his family at The Inn at Honey Run in Millersburg, Ohio, found the seven-inch tooth of a woolly mammoth on the hotel grounds. Scientists identified it as a third upper molar of the Ice Age beast, to be exact. Understandably, the youngster was over the moon about his find.  Most visitors to the
Artisan Saddles/Tack

WORKING SADDLES FOR WORKING HORSEMEN

Saddlemaker Ben Geisler carries forward the Wade saddle tradition   By Lynn Ascrizzi  Resilience. A capacity to flourish. Hidden strength. Attributes like these are native to the aspen tree: a lithe, adaptable species that announces spring with flowering catkins, reclaims burned-over, scarred landscapes and, in fall, lights up hillsides with bright-gold leaves.   The tree’s hardy attributes seem to be a fitting metaphor for Aspen Saddlery of Rineyville, Kentucky, a one-man shop owned and operated with single-minded dedication by saddlemaker and leatherworker, Ben Geisler.   The majority of Geisler’s equally hardy customers are ranch cowboys and horse trainers. “I make working saddles for working horsemen. They’re almost all rough-out, Wade saddles, made flesh side-out. The thing with rough out, is that it