Texas Connects Us: Custom Boots, Saddles Are Works of Art

The historic Fort Worth Stockyards is home to a small Texas treasure. M.L. Leddy's custom boots and saddles are a work of art.

(Published Monday, Nov. 27, 2017)

The historic Fort Worth Stockyards is home to a small Texas treasure. M.L. Leddy's custom boots and saddles are works of art.

"You can see every mark on it is done by hand," said Wilson Franklin.

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Franklin's grandfather, M.L. Leddy, made his first pair of boots back in 1922.

"One day a rancher brought his boot in to be soled and heeled, and my grandfather had gotten keen enough that he took the boot home," Franklin recalled. "He took it completely apart, using each piece as a pattern, and he made another boot. Story has it, the rancher said it fit better than the one he had, so he bought it and told all of his friends."

Now, nearly a century later, M.L. Leddy's is still relying on its reputation and word of mouth.

"Let's see if there's anybody y'all might recognize," Franklin said, while flipping through a book of customers' names and hand-drawn feet.

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"Here's a good name: Nolan Ryan," he said, followed quickly by, "DeMarcus Ware, Gov. Mike Huckabee."

The list of customers goes on and on.

"There's famous people, to people who want to be famous," Franklin joked. "There's real cowboys, to people who want to be cowboys."

Every customer gets the same treatment. Each is measured, and his or her dimensions are hand-drawn in the company's ledgers.

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"Once someone is measured, that page in that book is his earmark for life," Franklin added. "This place is different."

It's a family business, with a rich, uniquely Texas history.