Nat Fleming always said, “You can tell by lookin’ if it came from the Cow Lot.”

By contributing writer Judy Wade
Hats and boots don’t make a cowboy, but they are essentials to the profession, both in looks, practicality and protection. In its day, the Cow Lot in Wichita Falls was THE place to go for hats, boots and all other western wear.
Patrons of the now empty building will remember the almost magical hands of Gene O’Brien, J.R. Gahagan and later J.C. Dunn as they steamed and caressed that straw or felt hat into just the right crease. But the crème de la crème was having a pair of boots fitted by Nat Fleming himself. He knew boots, he knew the leather, he knew the manufacturers, and he knew feet. He would not try to sell you a pair of boots unless they really fit.
Raised by his widowed mother in the Valentine area northwest of Byers, the youngest of eight, he was born six months after his father’s death.
Fleming’s love affair with boots began in 1947 when he went to work for the legendary Dixon Boot Company in Wichita Falls. There he met and fit country music stars Hank Williams, Ernest Tubb, Little Jimmy Dickens, Marty Robbins, and many others, resulting in their returning for more of the handcrafted boots and forging lifetime friendships. To read more pick up the September 2014 issue of North Texas Farm & Ranch.