In Texoma, a good pair of boots can prove to be invaluable, especially for farmers and ranchers. One local leather man's boots are kicking up dust, and sinking money into Texoma's economy.
Kyle Mobley spent a lot of time around a leather shop in his first year of college. That was enough to get him interested in boot-making. After completing a boot school in Saint Jo, and a year-long apprenticeship in Vernon, he opened his own shop, Custom Handmade Boots, in Archer City earlier this year. Kyle says custom-making boots is a different experience every time..
"Every boot has its own personality. There's some boots that just kind of kick your tail, when you go to make 'em, it just seems like everything goes wrong that can go wrong," he said.
His customers say they come to him because they know the boots will last.
"I cowboy every day. I wear boots dadgum near every day," one customer said.
Casey Hoff has had his boots for five or six months, and he says they hold better than the average boot.
"They're great. They're the best fitting boot I've had, and I've had probably three other custom handmade boots, and they fit me perfect," he said.
From measuring, to stitching, to finishing, 21-year-old Kyle does it all himself. He even showed me how his detailed measurements cover every necessary part of the foot. I found out I'm slightly duck-footed.
Kyle loves his town. He says if he didn't have a shop in Archer City, he probably wouldn't make boots anywhere else.
"I knew that I wanted to kinda give back, in a way, to the town, so that's why I decided to open up this business and just stop here at home," he said.
Of all the laborious steps involved in making the boots, Kyle does have a favorite part.
"Probably just getting it done. I mean, you spend a week and a half doing this work, all the little things, it's just nice to get it done!" he said.
Kyle says he hopes his shop is bringing in money to help the local economy in Archer City. He doesn't have plans to expand, though, because he wants to stay away from factory production, and keep his boots as custom-made as possible.