HOUSTON — Rocky Carroll was inside his cluttered boot shop here on Tuesday, watching television as the dusty ceiling fan jangled. Dolly Parton’s white boots were behind him. President George W. Bush’s cigar-color alligator boots were by the front door, next to President Ronald Reagan’s Italian calf. A fly swatter was within reach.
Then Mr. Carroll heard the bad news: Gov. Rick Perry had recently announced that he had given up on cowboy boots. The governor, who had appeared on the cover of Newsweek in 2010 with boots emblazoned with the Texas battle cry “come and take it,” said he had stopped wearing them because they worsened the back problems that dogged him during his failed run for president in 2012.
Mr. Carroll, who has been making boots for Mr. Perry since the governor was agriculture commissioner in the 1990s, did not quite believe it. He is the bearded, toothpick-chomping craftsman-king of the pinched-toed elite in Texas, a surly, beloved bootmaker who, at 75, is slow in pace but fast in tongue. His next move said a great deal about the power and influence of cowboy boots in Texas.
“I’m going to call him,” Mr. Carroll said.
He reached for his iPhone.
“Perry, Perry, Governor Perry,” he mumbled as he scrolled through his phone. “Maybe it’s under Rick.”
Moments later, Mr. Carroll was on the phone with Mr. Perry’s office in Austin. “Yeah,” he said, “this is Rocky Carroll at the boot shop in Houston. I make the governor’s boots all the time. Will you have him call me?”
Mr. Perry might be getting other calls on this one.
Rick Perry Turns From Beloved Cowboy Boots (via NYT)