Western & English Today

FALL 2014

W&E Today provides retailers and manufacturers with education and ideas that provoke innovation in the Western and English markets.

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36 Western & English Today FALL 2014 — the company works with more than 300 types of skins. Ostrich remains the perennial high-end favorite, revered for its wearability, durability and breathability. The boots elicit admiring glances and murmurs of "where'd you get those?" from Rodeo Drive to the rodeo circuit. Horsemen such as Dell Hendricks, Todd Sommers and Duane Latimer — all NRHA all-time leading money earners — endorse Anderson Bean. "Reiners put a lot of stress on the throat of the boot," says Moody, "with sliding stops and spins. We build boots to hold up to that duress." Celebrity customers include country stars Willie Nelson and Dwight Yokham, and politicians such as Texas Governor Rick Perry. Rios even made a tiny pink pair of boots for the granddaughter of former President George W. Bush. But they're also serious work gear: These boots are made for riding, roping and reining, too. Top professionals wear and endorse Rios boots, including Jake Telford, three times the highest NRCHA money-earning rider in the world; and Carol Rose, a leading breeder and member of the American Quarter Horse Association Hall of Fame. The companies have about 500 active U.S. retailers and work with stores to build exclusive boots for their location. "I want to make sure our retailers never have to tell a customer no," Ryan says. "Rios makes boots in every conceivable width and size: You can fit the customer right off the shelf." E ach brand retains its own personality and passionate fans. The Rios family started their namesake company in Mexico in 1853. In the early 1900s, they moved to Texas' Lower Rio Grande Valley to escape the Mexican Revolution and raids of Pancho Villa. For the next half-century, the family continued handcrafting boots for working cowboys (clients included the Kineños of the famed King Ranch) as well as for Gene Autry and other Western movie stars. In the 1960s, the Rios family sold the business to a group from West Texas; Trainor Evans' family purchased the company in 1973. D escended from a company founded in 1875 near the Kansas stockyards, Olathe Boot Company was acquired by the Rios group in 2001. Known for tall, often stovepipe tops, the boots were worn by Wild West legends such as Wild Bill Hickok and Jesse James, and today they remain favorites of working cowboys … "or people who want to look like one," Michael jokes. In 1988, Trainor and Moody responded to customer demand for high-quality but more moderately priced boots. They launched Anderson Bean (called "A-B" by its fans), an industry trendsetter known for youthful, punchy designs featuring bright stitching and contrasting colors such as lime green and hot pink. The associated Macie Bean women's line features flirty, fun motifs such as brushed glitter and embroidered flowers. Considered a steppingstone to the higher-priced boot lines, Horse Power is repositioning itself with edgier, more youth- oriented designs. Macie Beans and Horse Power are handcrafted in Mexico, as is the youth line from Anderson Bean. "For each line, we aim to build the best boot we can from the best leather we can for the money," Ryan says. The company never uses synthetic hides or manmade leather. "Making boots is a team effort," Dvorak says. "Each worker — A TEAM EFFORT: Each worker — from the hide inspector to the people who pack boots for shipment — checks quality to make sure all previous tasks were done perfectly. Longtime employees include Pedro Villanueva and Alfredo Valdez (center photo), Ismael Flores (bottom left), who has 33 years at Rios of Mercedes, and Ben Alaniz (bottom right), with 34 years with the company.

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