Gator boots shine in Portland’s Outdoor Store.
Custom boots, a big belt, and a wide-brimmed hat? Western wear really hasn't changed much since the first Stetsons hit the plains in the 1860s. In fact, some busy cowboy stores were founded closer to that era than to our own.
THE COWBOY SHOP Pinedale, Wyo. A hundred miles from a big-box discounter, this family business has been supplying a mix of oil field roustabouts, ranchers, and hunters since 1947. Find everything from rain slickers and dusters to hair-on cowhide purses. (307) 367-4300, www.cowboyshop.com.
GOLDEN GATE WESTERN WEAR Richmond, Calif. Outside, this landmark 1947 shop sports a life-size golden horse, tie-up posts, and a jailhouse diorama with Osama bin Laden behind bars. Inside, find everything from Black Bart derbies to bib shirts and fringed chaps. (510) 232-3644, www.goldengatewesternwear.com.
HAMLEY & CO. Pendleton, Ore. After 100 years, this revered saddle factory and cowboy emporium was remodeled by new owners to include exhibition saddle making plus paintings and huge bronze sculptures. (541) 278-1100, www.hamley.com.
JOLLEY'S RANCHWEAR St. George, Utah. In this choice apparel and saddle store, opened in 1967, are enough Tony Lamas, Justin Ropers, and other boots to tempt Imelda Marcos. (435) 673-3280.
LOU TAUBERT RANCH OUTFITTERS Casper, Wyo. Opened in 1919, this family-owned business is Wyoming's largest Western shop. It claims to stock more than 10,000 pairs of boots and also proffers an enormous selection of hats, shirts, and blue jeans along with such specialties as turquoise jewelry and hand-tooled wallets. (307) 234-2500. Also in Billings, Mont. (406) 245-2248.
THE PORTLAND OUTDOOR STORE Portland. Saddles and bridles fill the entire third floor at this traditional outfitter. Third-generation owner Brad Popick proudly carries the lines—Pendleton woolens, Levi's jeans—that his grandfather began selling here in 1914. (503) 222-1051.
THE POWDER HORN Bozeman, Mont. This 1946 shop is a hunting and fishing enthusiast's paradise, complete with a 200-piece taxidermy display. Its Woolrich foul weather gear and hiking boots make it a local favorite. (406) 587-7373.
RENTON WESTERN WEAR Renton. Wash. Founded in 1950 by Greek immigrant Isaac Benveniste, Renton's—now run by his grandchildren—has made its mark by gussying up brides and grooms. (425) 255-3922, www.rentonww.com.
ROCKMOUNT RANCH WEAR Denver. For 60 years, customers seeking ornate diamond-snap shirts knocked here only to be told, "Wholesale only." Finally, Steve Weil talked his dad and granddad (age 105) into going retail. Now rock stars and cowboys alike trek to the 1908 building to shop and ogle the antique saddles and vintage apparel. (303) 629-7777, www.rockmount.com.
VICKERS WESTERN STORE Pocatello, Idaho. Everything for the horse and rider, from Wrangler jeans to rhinestone rodeo shirts. (208) 237-5700, www.vickersonline.com.
Photography by Mark Downey
This article was first published in March 2006. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.