You might be familiar with the name Charlie Dunn: his name is in the title of a Jerry Jeff Walker song, and if you listen closely to the lyrics, you’ll learn that Charlie was a famous bootmaker in Austin.
“Cowboys care about their horse, their hat and their cowboy boots. That’s where we come in,” says Lee Miller, a boot maker at Texas Traditions boot shop in Austin.
The store opened in 1977 and Miller was one of Charlie Dunn’s apprentices.
“It was amazing to work for somebody who was part of history, who could tell you the way it was done many, many years ago. And so every word he would utter, I would hang on,” Miller says.
Charlie Dunn died in the early ’90s, but his bootmaking legacy lives on through Texas Traditions and people like Miller. One thing that Miller remembers about him was his temper.
“He had a fiery temper. He was not a big man, he was a little guy. But, boy you didn’t mess with him. I was totally in awe of him,” Miller says.
Miller says he was fired and rehired “probably, I don’t know, ten times.”
“I realized that he just had a hot temper and he said things he didn’t mean. But he was quick to apologize, so there was a pattern that developed and so I kept my job,” Miller says.