Texas Neighbors Summer 2016 : Page 22

TEXAS NEIGHBORS | SUMMER 2016 a fairly large factory in Mata-moros across the border,” said Pat Moody, president of Rios of Nothing says Texas quite like a Mercedes. good pair of cowboy boots. Just They relocated to the Lone about every Texan has a pair. Or two. Star State just after the turn of In true Texan fashion, the the century, bringing with them craftsmen at Rios of Mercedes a family tradition. They settled have been making the iconic along the Rio Grande River, espe-footwear for more than a century cially in the Rio Grande Valley. and a half. The last of the Rios family, Ze-“The Rios family started mak-ferino Rios, retired in the 1960s. ing boots in Mexico in 1853. At They passed on the business to that point, we know they had a a group of West Texans, including contract with the Mexican gov-Joe and Trainer Evans. ernment. By the 1900s, they had The Mercedes-based com-By Ed Wolff Video Services Director pany is an icon among cowboys, ranchers and Texans of all kinds. And their boots and handmade-ways have stood the test of time. The secret of Rios of Mercedes’ success isn’t really a secret. It’s all attention to detail and high standards. “There’s really no secret to making good boots. You just use the best material you can buy. Hire the best people that you can find. And put them together in the right way with proper super-vision and they’ll last longer than what we would call ‘throwaway boots,’” Moody said. Every stitch, inlay and sole are crafted with an artist’s touch. From the pull straps to the toe box, every boot is a labor of love—for the folks who will wear their creation and the history it represents. “Cowboy boots and blue jeans and cowboy hats are about the only things that are indig-enously American,” Moody said. The traditional boot of today started as high-top, low-heel Civ-il War footwear that was modi-fied. Moody noted a larger heel WWW.TEXASFARMBUREAU.ORG

Texas Sole

Ed Wolff

Handmade tradition is the footprint of Texas

Nothing says Texas quite like a good pair of cowboy boots. Just about every Texan has a pair. Or two.

In true Texan fashion, the craftsmen at Rios of Mercedes have been making the iconic footwear for more than a century and a half.

“The Rios family started making boots in Mexico in 1853. At that point, we know they had a contract with the Mexican government. By the 1900s, they had a fairly large factory in Matamoros across the border,” said Pat Moody, president of Rios of Mercedes.

They relocated to the Lone Star State just after the turn of the century, bringing with them a family tradition. They settled along the Rio Grande River, especially in the Rio Grande Valley.

The last of the Rios family, Zeferino Rios, retired in the 1960s. They passed on the business to a group of West Texans, including Joe and Trainer Evans.

The Mercedes-based company is an icon among cowboys, ranchers and Texans of all kinds. And their boots and handmade-ways have stood the test of time.

The secret of Rios of Mercedes’ success isn’t really a secret. It’s all attention to detail and high standards.

“There’s really no secret to making good boots. You just use the best material you can buy. Hire the best people that you can find. And put them together in the right way with proper supervision and they’ll last longer than what we would call ‘throwaway boots,’” Moody said.

Every stitch, inlay and sole are crafted with an artist’s touch.

From the pull straps to the toe box, every boot is a labor of love—for the folks who will wear their creation and the history it represents.

“Cowboy boots and blue jeans and cowboy hats are about the only things that are indigenously American,” Moody said.

The traditional boot of today started as high-top, low-heel Civil War footwear that was modified. Moody noted a larger heel was added so cowboys wouldn’t lose their foothold when riding horses.

Rios of Mercedes still makes those original- style cowboy boots. Plus some.

An assortment of traditional and modern styles are made in the Valley with hides ranging from alligator and caiman to elephant and ostrich.

From the first cut of leather, it normally takes about two weeks to finish a pair.

But boots made by Rios of Mercedes are more than just footwear. They’re a statement about the person wearing them. And where they’re from.

Read the full article at http://texasneighbors.texasfarmbureau.org/article/Texas+Sole/2512357/312976/article.html.

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