Craig Day, News On 6
BEGGS, Oklahoma -- Whether it is working cowboys, or those who just want a little western pep in their step, many people here in Oklahoma love a great pair of boots.
People from all over the world are getting a custom creation out of Beggs in Okmulgee County.
To those who appreciate and admire what he does, James Smith is an artist. Not with paint or clay, but with leather.
"The artwork, you look forward to creating," he said.
After 35 years, Smith knows a thing or two about custom made boots.
"It's pretty much all I've done," he said.
And the boots he makes aren't like just any off the shelf boot. Smitty makes Blucher Boots.
"A genuine old time cowboy boot," he said.
The Blucher boot company started in 1915 in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Over nearly 100 years, it's changed hands and locations several times, but now Smith is the steward of the style.
"Primarily an original 1900's style cowboy boot," he said.
From his little shop in a century year old building off Junction 19 in Beggs, Smitty makes his Blucher boots, with the original designs that Gustav Blucher once used.
"That's what we do here. We build an original," he said.
He uses original Blucher drive punches, the old wooden boot lasts, and the same commitment to craftsmanship that cowboys expected years ago, and customers worldwide expect today.
"I still use the same rules, same construction, same good materials," he said.
It takes Smith about a month to finish a pair of boots. The waiting list is two years to get a pair. But for those with a preference for old style quality and the patience to wait, they'll get a pair of boots that can last a lifetime.
"The ideal fit, you go all day long and never once think about your feet," he said.
For Smith, he loves what he does for a living, is proud of the leather works of art he creates, and enjoys keeping a western tradition alive.
"It seems to be what they're looking for which is old time America," he said.
A pair of Smith's Blucher boots usually starts at about $900. His shop in Beggs is also home to Cross Country leathers, which makes chaps, saddle bags and other custom leather items for bikers.