Industry Professional Spotlight: Bobby Smith of Rod Patrick Bootmakers
Rod Patrick Boots have set the standard in the equine industry for superior craftsmanship, fit and customer service. Bobby Smith, president of Rod Patrick Bootmakers, resides in Fort Worth, Texas, where the Rod Patrick Boots retail store is located. It is here where you can find Smith when he is not at a horse show.
Outside of managerial work, Smith’s primary responsibilities include being a brand ambassador and a boot fitting expert. He travels to the biggest horse shows each year, where he works with clients to ensure the perfect fit.
Smith has worked for Miller International, owner of Cinch and Rod Patrick Boots, for over 20 years. Currently, he is the vice president for Miller and has served as the president of Rod Patrick Boots since it was acquired 10 years ago. GoHorseShow recently sat down with Smith to gain some insight into his life and industry knowledge.
Smith: I grew up on a farm in Illinois and don’t remember a time when we didn’t have horses. My mother was a horse enthusiast, and my father was very hands-on and encouraging when it came to my involvement with horses.
GoHorseShow: Do you still own horses, and do you compete?
Smith: I do not own any horses currently. I have owned them throughout the years and competed under the guidance of John Boxell. Due to my busy schedule, it would not be fair to the horse or trainer to invest the time and not be able to compete. However, I have not ruled out getting another horse in the future.
GoHorseShow: What are the current trends in boot fashion?
Smith: Currently, we are seeing the industry moving towards a narrower, square-toe boot. The one welt, single row of stitching around the sole, style is becoming more popular. Exotic skins, such as crocodile and ostrich, continue to gain ground—a lot of people like them for the style and added durability.
GoHorseShow: What is your favorite thing about being involved in the horse industry?
Smith: I have been involved in the horse industry for pretty much my entire life and always loved it! The relationships I get to make with people is my favorite aspect of what I do. When you travel as much as I do, these people become a part of your family. I attend approximately 12 shows a year, hitting the big circuits, and this is often the only time I get to see some people. I love being able to help customers and know that they are more successful as a result.
GoHorseShow: What fashion would you like to bring back to the show ring?
Smith: (After some laughter) There is not necessarily a trend I would like to bring back. I have seen more people purchasing round-toe boots, and it does make me nostalgic. The first style of boot Rod Patrick Boots created was a round-toe, so seeing some of this has been refreshing. I wouldn’t push for it in the show ring, though.
Smith: We enjoy giving back to the industry. Rod Patrick and Cinch are sponsors of the All-American Quarter Horse Congress. We also donate circuit awards at many shows we attend as a vendor and are proud to be the official boot of the National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA).
Something very special to me is the Congress. I believe I attended my first Congress in 1974, and it has always been a part of my life. It is where I get to see members of my horse family that I do not see throughout the year. Plus, having a client come by the booth and tell us how much they love their boots feels incredible. We exist to serve the customer and meet unique needs, knowing that we can do that is very rewarding.
Smith: I am always looking for new ways to support the industry and will continue to do so. This past February, I was inducted into the Illinois Quarter Horse Association’s Hall of Fame. I am incredibly honored and plan to make them proud!
GoHorseShow: Is there anything else you would like to share?
Smith: Work hard and stay close to your customer. Listen to what they want and try your best to provide it. The industry is very much about relationships and professional skills. I work incredibly hard to maintain relationships, and it is good for the business and myself.
CLICK HERE to view Rod Patrick Bootmakers in the May Issue of GoMag.