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Boot maker keeps Bootfest grounded (video)

By chirst
Oct. 7, 2012 at 5:07 a.m.

Lionel Jaramillo etches a design on a leather belt at the Camargo's Hand Made Boots, of Mercedes, booth at the second annual Bootfest at De Leon Plaza in downtown Victoria. ABOVE: Camargo's boot designs include cars, motorcycles and flowers.

He has made more than 500,000 pairs of boots.

Henry Camargo, co-owner of Camargo's Hand Made Boots, of Mercedes, has made flowered boots, Harley-Davidson boots, boots with puppies and boots with horses.

He has made boots for David Church, Willie Nelson and his daughter's wedding.

"Well, I've been doing it for 45 years," Camargo said. "You make a lot of boots in 45 years."

The handmade boots take three to four weeks to make and cost between $450 and $5,000.

"I'm an artist. I've been drawing since I was 4 years old and I just converted my art into boots. It's an art form," Camargo said.

Camargo got into making boots when he was 19 years old at a mass production boot company. A few years later, however, he started his own company to make custom boots. He said no two pairs of boots he has made have been the same since.

"First, we take a foot print and the measurements," Camargo said. "Then go home and start cutting the leather and molding it."

His brother, Santos Camargo, co-owner, said he is proud of what he does.

"There aren't very many people that do this," he said. "It is very, very rare. It is a special artwork."

Santos Camargo said he enjoys meeting different people who buy boots, but he also loves the process of boot making.

"I like working the leather, it is nice. It is very relaxing," Santos Camargo said.

The brothers came to Bootfest in 2011, too, and sold $27,000 in boots, belts and wallets. Many of the people browsing at Bootfest on Saturday ordered a pair of boots from the brothers.

"I'm going to try to get a pair from him (Camargo) because he will make them just the way I want them," said Trino Estrad, of Victoria.

Estrad, who has been wearing boots since he was a child, wants a yellow pair of boots and he said those are hard to find.

"When I was little, really little, I wore my Roy Rogers boots with the red and black. I was very proud of them," he said, smiling, as he remembered his favorite pair of boots.

LaRue Roth, director of the Victoria Convention and Visitors Bureau, said they invited the boot makers to make the festival more substantial.

"I think it helps ground the festival. I mean, it is Bootfest . In terms of the history and culture of the region and our western heritage - that is what we are celebrating here. And boots, that is just synonymous with that Western culture," Roth said.

Related stories:

Artist Easton Corbin rocks Victoria, click HERE

Bootfest fireworks light up skies, click HERE



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