Bootjacks: A Boot-Wearer Must

Essential to every ranch outfit are bootjacks; not just one but a collection of them. Bootjacks aren’t limited to one style. They come in a variety of styles and are made from metal or wood. Many bootjacks are made by the cowboy boot wearer. All of ours were made by a family member.

A few of ours were my husband’s and brother’s high school shop class projects and one was my son’s 4-H welding project. In addition to sometimes being adorned with mud, a ranch’s brand is sometimes also embellished on bootjacks. My husband has had this one since before we were married and he made it himself in high school wood shop class.

He had a puppy that chewed on the forks.

 

Bootjacks are very simple but extremely important equipment for boot-wearing cowboys, ranchers, ranch wives, and cow kids. Usually bootjack owners are the people who wear cowboy boots daily and take them on and off regularly.  I guarantee you’ll see at least one bootjack on a ranch’s porch, mudroom, or entryway where boots lay when unworn.

Boots come off a lot quicker and easier when a bootjack is used. We use ours so much that they aren’t just limited to taking off cowboy boots but also snow boots and tennis shoes.

These great gadgets save having to bend over and pull boots off or having to find a seat to sit down and pull boots off. Believe it or not, pulling boots off by hand is a safety hazard. There have been a couple occasions I’ve hit myself in the chin from prying a boot off by hand when I was someplace where a bootjack wasn’t available.

I have mastered a way to take boots off without ever having to touch my boots if a bootjack isn’t around but it only works if I’m wearing well-worn boots that slide on and off easily. I really love having a bootjack on our porch the most when it’s rainy, muddy, or snowy out or my boots are extremely manure covered. We have two on the porch so two people can de-boot at the same time. I hate having to handle my boots when they’re wet and dirty and avoid doing so at all costs. Another reason I love using bootjacks is because I hate getting one boot off and then I am faced with either pulling the second boot off by hand or using my sock-clad foot to hold the boot heel down to slip my foot out. I don’t like dirtying up my socks either.

Bootjacks are used so much on ranches that ranch families don’t have boots unless there’s a bootjack to take them off. They are a real sanity saver during the spring when the ground starts to thaw.

 We have a few bootjacks on our porch for outside, dirty work boots and have clean ones in our closet for dress cowboy boots. Even our kids have bootjacks in their room. My son made this one out of old horseshoes for his 4-H welding project one year.

 

My brother made this one for me in his high school shop class one year as a Christmas gift. the “V” is covered in rawhide and grips the boots better.

 

There really isn’t much to the mechanics of a bootjack. Many old ones have been crudely made from a forked tree branch and a piece of wood for the “step” underneath to raise the wishbone shaped end off the ground.

I love having bootjacks for a number of reasons but mostly because they are a ranch wife’s best friend—they keep dirt and mud from getting tracked in the house.

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About ranchwifeslant

Amy writes a humor column based on rural living and ranch life from the southern Black Hills of South Dakota. She and her husband raise their two kids on a fourth generation cow/calf operation near Pringle; the Elk Capital of South Dakota.
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