Panhandle Spirit: Cowboy crafts making impact in Clarendon

James Owens has worked in the same shop his father worked in. The boot maker is nationally known. Heâ??s one of the many craftsman in Clarendon preserving handmade skill as precisely as a well-made pair of boots.

Owens says he thinks a craftsman is not born. Heâ??s made. Also, he doesnâ??t do snakeskin or alligator. "I wonâ??t do any reptiles or anything like thatâ?|Mainly because I hate reptiles. I donâ??t want them in here alive or dead."

Just a few feet away Elaine Brownlee is opening Brownlee Custom Boots and Big Texas Hair and Highlights.ã?? Sheâ??s adding a salon to the boot store.ã?? She says whatever somebody orders, sheâ??s going to try it.

Saddle maker Jeff Anderberg has been in Clarendon since the Eighties. He studied saddle making at the old TSTI in Amarillo in 1977. He thinks Clarendon is a perfect place to do business. "You have the western heritage and history thatâ??s here. So I think itâ??s neat you have several businesses that still do stuff like this. Because you donâ??t find this stuff on every street corner.

Although in Clarendon, itâ??s starting to look that way.

Director of Tourism Chandra Eggemeyer says "We definitely have a cowboy culture that is alive and well in Clarendonâ?|.Itâ??s one of the oldest towns in the Panhandle so you have a lot of character."

Silversmith Kevin Johnson owns Johnsonâ??s Bits and Spurs. He makes tack, hardware, spurs, bits and buckles for the cowboys and custom work for the Texas Rangers and other law enforcement. He says he enjoys working with his hands but itâ??s hard. He says, "The biggest thing I think about Clarendon, excluding myself, I think we have some world class makers."