A Lucchese fanatic, Russ Garrow has been a loyal customer for many years. Russ was born in Southern Oregon but then grew up in Southwest Washington – a Northwest native so to speak. After graduating from college in Montana, Russ served almost eight years as a commissioned officer in the Marines. He was stationed in Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, and California when stateside. Once Russ was released from active duty, he started a banking and finance career. The proud father of a college senior, he currently resides in Vancouver, Washington, across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon. We caught up with Russ to hear how a Lucchese roper became his go-to footwear.
What are your hobbies?
I play golf, ride a custom Harley Davidson, drink small batch bourbon from time to time, and sometimes even chase women. Hell, that itself sounds like a country song. My daughter isn’t going to think that is nearly as witty as I do.
Growing up in the northwest, you don’t see too many cowboy boots walking down the street. How did you find your passion for Lucchese boots? Did someone or something influence you?
With ranches and even rodeos in Washington and Oregon, attending college in Montana or being stationed in the South, you would think somewhere along that line I would have come across Lucchese, but the answer is no. I had a set of cowboy boots in college, it was Montana after all, but didn't really like them or get much use out of them.
I developed a relationship with a mentor of mine in Boerne, Texas. On my first of a series of visits with him, he had on a pair of amazing Lucchese boots. I instantly asked him about them, and he gave me the address to the San Antonio location. At the San Antonio location, I met Larry and the fantacism was soon underway.
Tell us about your experience of traveling to San Antonio just to purchase some Lucchese boots. Which boot made you travel so far?
I told Larry I was content at 6’5” and did not want to roll around in a heeled boot recalling my college experience and fearing it would make me a giant. Larry told me not to worry and showed me my first set of Lucchese ropers in 2011. I bought a pair of Kingsleys in a sort of cordovan/bark finish. The next day, I wore them to my business meetings in Boerne. Truly, I was, and still am, dazzled by a boot being that comfortable right out of the box. I have heard women will say when they try on footwear, “I just have to have them.” Well, I am here to tell you, I don’t have a feminine tendency in my entire body, but when Larry had me try those on, I seriously squealed, “I have to have these.” You can imagine the courage it takes for a former officer of Marines to admit that.
I have friends in Austin and Dallas, so while I enjoy visiting them, it really is mostly about Lucchese for me. Well, and the fact that Texas has an In-N-Out and Salt Lick BBQ. So, a recent trip to Austin had me divert to San Antonio to visit the store. What happened next was my exposure to the Ward, a smooth ostrich roper. I am the proud owner of the Ward in sienna, black, and black cherry. And yes, those are all of the colors that the Ward comes in.
How do cowboy boots play a big role in your life?
Coming from banking and finance, I wore a suit and tie every day – it was the uniform of the day in the industry. But when I moved over to construction finance, showing up to job site in a coat and tie wasn’t such a good idea. For the record, anyone showing up to a construction site in a coat and tie is bearing bad news, so I transitioned to wearing jeans. I was at Costco and acquired a pair of $13 jeans and thought I was styling. My daughter Lauren snapped when I came home from work and said I could only cut the grass or wash my cars in those. She was very persistent to go shopping for some jeans. Needless to say, all of her jeans she suggested weren’t anywhere near $13, and some added a zero to that number. Boots and jeans are my usual attire at the office, which further advances my love of Lucchese.
When you walk into a Lucchese store, what’s the first thing you look for?
I am a man of habit or routine, but at times I do enjoy busting out. The first thing I look for at a Lucchese store are the different toes and styles. However, I usually end up finding my way to the ropers.
When did you get your first pair of Lucchese boots?
February of 2011.
What’s your favorite pair?
That’s a very hard question because each pair has its own character and occasion that’s best suited for. I have a pair of Bannocks in sand suede that are great in faded jeans and on a barstool. I have a pair of black cherry Wards that are attention getting with dark denim. My recent purchase of the Tanners in chocolate mad dog goat are so fun and full of character that I had to buy another pair in peanut brittle.
How often do you buy a new pair?
Every visit to Texas produces another pair. I usually will purchase a pair to commemorate a success or a goal being attained. Or any day ending in ‘y’ can provide motivation as well.
How big is your collection?
What do you feel every day when you put on your Lucchese boots?
First is the recollection of occassion of the purchase, then followed by the enjoyment that comes from the thump of my heel seating in the boot.