Rural Missouri - January 2020 - 9
Left: Before he could return to the bootmaking business, Joey Patrickus had to make
a pair of boots that met his father's high standards. He crafted this pair from alligator skin.
Below: The quality of a custom, handmade
boot includes stitching the upper to the welt
by hand. Right: Joey checks the ﬁt of a boot
before moving on to the next step.
by Jim McCarty
t's a typical day at JP's Custom
Handmade Boots on the square
in Camdenton. Joey Patrickus
has his workday all planned. He
hopes to get the steel shank cemented into two pairs of boots he's making
and then stitch the outsoles. He settles in with a cup of coffee at his side.
Then the door opens, and a customer walks in with boots that need
the soles reattached. Joey talks him
through the process, puts a tag on
the boots and places them on the
repair shelf. No sooner has that customer left than another walks in. This
one needs a leather thong attached to
a holster to keep his pistol from slipping out.
The bell above the door rings
again, and this time Joey patiently
explains to a lady why her bargain
athletic shoes aren't worth ﬁxing.
The phone rings a few times, but in
between interruptions he manages to
repair two pairs of shoes and ﬁnally
get those shanks installed.
It's no wonder orders for handmade boots - the main purpose
behind the little shop - stretch out
six months for delivery.
"It's feast or famine," says Joey.
police work for good. Before his father
"You go a day or two and not see anywould take him back, however, he
body, your phone doesn't ring. And
made him prove his worth by making
then you will have a day when you
another pair of boots. This pair -
have 10 to 12 people in with soles
made from tan alligator tail with the
and heels. Now, instead of not having
JP's Boots logo inlayed on the shafts
much to do you have enough work for
- are on display in the shop.
the next week and a half."
Working together, the two turned
Joey - the fourth Patrickus to carout a tremendous amount of custom
ry that name - is carrying on the legwork over the years. "Dad used to
acy passed down to him by his father,
say two people can work four times
Joe, who started JP's Boots 40 years
as hard as one person," Joey says. "I
ago. The elder Patrickus learned to
could never understand the logic in
make shoes from an uncle but taught
that. But I can tell you when Dad and
himself how to make boots. Once
I were both going, man we could whip
he mastered the craft, he passed
his skills on to his son
some stuff out.
through the Missouri
"After he wasn't there anymore I was like 'now you have
Folk Arts Apprenticeship
to do it all and there's only
"It was structured,"
so many hours in a day.' "
The two worked side
Joey recalls of the program,
by side until 2011
which pays a master artist
when Joey ofﬁcially
to share his skills. "It wasn't
took over the operajust come in and hang out
tion. But Joe continand do the repair work and
ued to come in, and
watch over Dad's shoulders.
Joey continued to pick
I did make a pair of boots
his brain on everything
through the apprentice program and I
there was to know about bootmaking.
still have them."
Joe passed away in 2018, taking with
He worked nights and weekends
him a lifetime of knowledge.
with his father but decided to pursue
"He is sorely missed," Joey says.
a career in law enforcement instead
"A lot of the information is just gone.
of following the family tradition. That
Almost every day there's something I
lasted until 2004, when Joey left
JANUARY 2020 | RURALMISSOURI.COOP
Rural Missouri - January 2020
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - January 2020
Rural Missouri - January 2020 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - January 2020 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - January 2020 - Contents
Rural Missouri - January 2020 - 4
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Rural Missouri - January 2020 - Cover3
Rural Missouri - January 2020 - Cover4