Meet BOTUS -- the Bootmaker of the United States of America
Rocky Carroll, 79, has toiled for years designing and refurbishing cowboy boots
Meet BOTUS – the Bootmaker of the United States.
Inside a cramped wooden shack tucked between a laundry shop and a tire yard off a busy road here, 79-year-old Rocky Carroll has toiled for years designing and refurbishing cowboy boots. His creations have landed on the feet of the past seven U.S. presidents.
Carroll’s title as the cowboy cobbler for the nation’s highest office is purely unofficial. He got his start making boots for the president when he met then-Vice President George H.W. Bush at the Houston rodeo in the 1980s. He gave Bush a free pair, and the veep liked them so much that he invited Carroll to the White House to meet then-president Ronald Reagan, where he presented both men with boots in the Oval Office.
“He said he put them on and it felt like putting on a pair of socks,” Carroll said of Reagan’s boots.
The thing is, when you make a pair of boots for a president, word has a way of getting out.
Carroll went on to make dozens of pairs for the elder Bush, then began crafting them for his son, George W. Bush, who went on to be president. He also made boots for Gerald Ford.
While Carroll is a Republican, he’s no partisan businessman: He’s made boots for former President Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton as well. And in 2013, he made a pair that were given to President Barack Obama.
“I try to build your personality into your boot,” Carroll, who makes replicas of every presidential boot that he displays in his small shop, said. “I never charge a president. To me it’s an honor to make the presidents’ boots.”
As for the next White House resident, Carroll predicts Donald Trump will be the next president, and he’s currently trying to get in touch with his campaign to make Trump a pair.
At no charge, of course.