Hence the Cowboy Boot

By Don Roundy, 1995


The cowboy wears real fancy things,

His hat, his boots, a tie.

But he is really not just dressing up

Did you ever wonder why


His hat is wide and his chaps have fringe

And his moderate good taste ain’t?

He wears conchos on this and tassels on that

Until he ends up looking quaint.


Well it all makes sense the way he looks.

There is a reason for each why.

I won’t take time to tell it all

But I’ll give the boots a try.


There was a time when cowboy boots

Weren’t cowboy boots at all.

And they might forever stayed that way

‘cept for Smiley Wyatt Ball.


Old Smiley’s bunch was moving cows

Right up the Chisholm Trail.

He’d brought those beasts through everything.

Through rain and wind and hail.


But one by one they were dropping dead.

One here, and then one there.

No, he lost the boys, not the cows

Because of their footwear.


That’s right, footwear, I mean their boots

They weren’t very agile

and when a cowboy’s boots ain’t right

his life can get real fragile.


Like, take the time that Injuns came

And the men all had to scoot.

‘Cept for Clinton Briggs who had bad luck

Getting the stirrup around his boot.


The closer they came the harder he tried

To mount that crazy colt.

But with a square toed boot he hopped and kicked,

Then he watched that jug head bolt.


And Pistol Jones, he fancied himself

A good hand might famed.

He’d yelp and hoot and buck them out

And do it all loose reined.


But sad the day he spurred too high

And his low heel went clean through.

Rag doll like, flopping around the stud

A prairie farewell for him too.


Those two went fast. Lucky in light

Of the long slow death of Clegg.

Boot tops too low and the leathers rough

Wore sores upon his leg.


Infection and flies and sickness came.

This stanza isn’t cute.

Such misery and carnage would not have been

With a higher stitched top boot.


Well, it was Smiley Wyatt and eight hundred head

That arrived in Kansas alone.

Olathe City had but one boot maker

And Smiley went right to his home.


The boots to be made seemed bizarre at best

To this old cobbler from Sicily.

High tops that were stitched

and pointy toes that would look so silly.


Well, Old Cob liked Wyatt and he told him that day

That he thought the women would laugh

At pixie toes and at bimbo heels

And at leather all the way up the calf.


But the Cobbler was wrong and Wyatt in luck

Because the women were all entranced.

Smiley looked the gals over and said, “Well shucks’

And went out on the town and danced.


So now a days real men wear cowboy boots

To the dismay of their wives.

They’re worn for the fit and support they give

And to improve their social lives.