Well…it’s where I write about a fun fact on Friday.
Today’s question: Who invented the cowboy boot?
The answer to that question is in dispute, but here’s what I discovered in my research. (Credit to Kansas Historical Society website)
Tradition credits Charles Hyer as one of the first to invent the cowboy boot. Company promotional materials state that a Colorado cowboy stopped by the Hyer shop on his way home from the Kansas City stockyards in 1875, requesting a new pair of boots that were different from his Civil War-style boots. He wanted a boot with a pointed toe that would slide more easily into a stirrup, a high, slanted heel that would hold a stirrup, and a high top with scalloped front and back so he could get in and out of his boots more easily. Charles accepted the challenge. The unknown cowboy was so pleased with Hyer’s work that he returned to Colorado and told others about his new boots.
The brothers employed mostly immigrant craftsmen from Germany, Sweden and Poland during the early years. They made cowboy boots for cattlemen, rodeo performers and movie stars such as Buffalo Bill Cody, Tom Mix, Will Rogers, and Gene Autry. To reach potential customers further west and across the ocean, the company created mail-order catalogues with measuring charts. During World War I, the Hyers made boots for the officers at Fort Leavenworth and at Camp Funston. In 1961, governors from the 49 other states were outfitted with Hyer boots courtesy of Governor John Anderson. They were presented as part of the traditional exchange of gifts between governors during the annual Governor’s Conference.
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