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Frequently Asked Questions
Where did you get the idea to be a bootmaker?
After spending a few years at Utah State University as well as two years in Brazil, I came to an unusual career choice: I wanted to become a bootmaker. In South America I had known two artisans who followed this trade, and I was very intrigued by their craft. Although my father was not a bootmaker, my grandfather, like many rural men of his time, repaired footwear for his family in addition to the harnesses and other horse tack.

Do you accept insurance?
We request payment when services are rendered but our clients receive a "providers statement" with the necessary figures and codes so you may send it to your insurance company to seek reimbursement.

Why are you in Vernal, Utah?
We live here because it is one of the most beautiful areas in the state - a largely undiscovered gem. Additionally, there is a creative energy in this little valley, an atypical number of artist, artisans, and craftsmen have made this their home over the years.

For example, my father had a first cousin, Duane Soderquist, who was considered by many to be the finest western saddle maker in the U.S. As a youngster I visited his shop often, and pestered Duane for scrap leather. For many decades the best made saddle trees in the country came from our town. I can think of at least 6 musicians and artists that have risen to national renown within the past several years. Currently, there are two saddle shops here whose clients come from across the county. I am not the first bootmaker here - the Newton Bothers made boots in the early 1900's. Ike, and Bill Newton—Bill was the bootmaker, and was mostly blind. He would stick a tack in the leather, place his thumb on the head of the tack, and swing his hammer at his thumb—pulling his thumb away just in time. Customers would walk into the shop and Bill would correctly call them by name—having identified them by the sound of their footsteps on the wooden floor. My great-great grandfather was the first Physician in this valley, and was still delivering babies at age 101. I could go on. Suffice it to say that this valley is a great place for creative people to do their work. And, it's home for us, where our family is.

Are you affiliated with the Merrell Boot Company?
Merrell Footwear (TM), began when John Schweizer and Clark Matis approached me about the unique design of my hiking/backpacking boot. As we explored the idea of mass production, I was intrigued by the possibilities and agreed to partner with them. After five years I found that the corporate world required sacrifices, especially when it came to time with my family, that I could no longer make. During my time with Merrell Boot, I had some wonderful experiences, worked with some terrific people in Europe (Alfons Meindl, Tony Vello, Piero Martimbianco), and experienced some training that could never be purchased. However, it was great to get back to meeting my client's needs one on one and cutting leather by hand. Good move. You can read the history of the company by following the link to Merrell Footwear (TM).

Where do I stay when I am in Vernal, Utah?
Northeastern Utah is known for providing extraordinary adventures for individuals and families. From the Dinosaur National Monument and Quarry to renowned rock art sites, the region is become a popular destination point. Hiking, rafting, biking, world class fishing and bird-watching are just a few of the activities which attract people to this area. To learn more, you can call Dinosaurland Travel Board at (435) 789-6932 and ask for a free informational package. To find lodging, visit: www.dinoland.com. Additionally, we have a bunk house that was originally constructed to house our students that is usually available to our boot/pedorthic clients.
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