Some folks like to sit for a $10 shine, others prefer to stand for a free one.
But Tona Pettigrew of Lubbock said she and her crew of Urad boot shiners get along fine with the guys at the traditional boot shine stands in the Amon G. Carter Jr. Exhibit Hall.
“We’re here together four weekends a year, and they’re our friends,” Pettigrew said. “They have their loyal customers and we have ours.”
Over the 15 years she’s been importing Urad Shoe and Leather Cleaner from Italy, Pettigrew has built a following not only at the Fort Worth Stock Show, but also at biker rallys, gun shows, home and garden shows and farm and ranch shows across six states.
The leather conditioner made from lanoline oil, carnuba wax and citrus oils has been popular in Italy for 50 years, Pettigrew said, adding that the shine it leaves lasts as long as a conventional one.
“It will make your boots last three times longer, too,” she said.
One $24 jar will do about 200 pairs of boots, Pettigrew said. And in booth No. 214, the folks demonstrating Urad polish as many as 1,500 pairs on a busy day.
“I went through three jars Saturday,” said Mayme Pierce of Springtown.
About 70 percent of the people who lift their boots for the polishers will tip from $1 to $10, said Pierce, who’s between jobs as a construction office assistant.
Demonstrating and selling Urad is a way a lot of people get through such times, Pettigrew said.
“It beats working for a living,” she said. – Terry Evans
Michelle Douthitt, in front, and Maybe Pierce polish boots at the Urad booth in the Amon G. Carter Exhibit Hall. Photo by Terry Evans