Rocky Carroll has put bespoke cowboy boots on the feet of seven presidents, the Queen of England, and - for the past 20 years - Texas Governor Rick Perry. He's been taken by surprise by the governor's announcement that he was quitting boots due to a bad back.
Texas Governor Rick Perry and a pair of boots Rocky made for him. (Reuters)
In 2007, Governor Perry signed a law making cowboy boots the official state footwear. In a thick Texas accent, Rocky describes what they mean to the south-west.
"It signifies Texas. Everybody in Texas, they're ranchers, they own cattle. Everybody wears the boots."
The owner of RJ's Boots Company
is planning on calling the Governor and offer to lower the heel, and change the shank in the boot to solve the one-time-Presidential-hopeful's back woes. He sympathizes with Mr. Perry, but says stepping away from boots is not the answer.
"I'll make him a pair of boots and put 'President' on the them. He needs to do it."
In 1990, President George Bush Sr commissioned Rocky Carroll to make a pair of boots for leaders gathered at the Economic Summit of Industrialized Nations in Texas.
Rocky Carroll tells guest host Susan Bonner about some memorable Canadian clients. One of them was former Canadian Prime Minster Brian Mulroney:
"I made his boots. I made them for him and his wife. Her initials was 'M.M.' That's all I can remember. She was a blonde."
More recently, he made boots for astronaut Chris Hadfield:
"He came in five days after he come out of space. His head was a little bit off."
The end of our interview takes a surprising turn, when Rocky starts asking Susan Bonner a question or two:
"What month were you born in? I can guess people all the time. I always pick an Aquarius when they come in."
Rocky's guess was close. And, while Mila Mulroney's hair colour is debatable, we know this Texan makes a fine cowboy boot.