The Kind of Girl Who Wears Boots {Country Outfitter Giveaway!}

ariat boots

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When I was in high school, my parents went through a bit of a phase. They were hanging out with a younger crowd, going out drinking and dancing, and they were listening to country music. My classic rock loving parents were two-steppin’ and Electric Sliding all over the place.

Being a teenager, and a girl who never considered country to be music, I was embarrassed. I took it as a mid-life crisis and ignored it as much as possible. Except for the one Halloween I dressed up as a cowgirl — complete with my mom’s boots, and danced one line dance, to the hoots and hollers of all in attendance — I never wore boots.

Around the same time, I half stole the heart of a country-lovin’ boy at school (I say half stole because, smitten though we both claimed to be, we never actually dated. So goes love in high school.). We wrote each other romantic notes about someday, sharing love songs in writing. He gave me “I Cross My Heart,” by George Straight. I gave him Tom Petty’s “Yer So Bad,” because it was the closest to a country song I knew. He wore boots, but I don’t think I’d have slipped a pair on my feet even for him.

Learning to Love the South

Growing up in Arkansas I always had a chip on my shoulder about living in the south. I hated the stereotypes everyone else in the country seemed to have about us. Backwoods, ignorant, no shoes or plumbing, cousin-marrying (never mind that all my cousins lived up north) hillbillies with no education. Racist, backward, country music loving, cowboy boot wearing yokels. Oh, but you do have a pretty good basketball team (back then anyway), and Bill Clinton did alright.

I hated it when people would make fun of my home. I saw it as making fun of me by extension. It killed me the first night I was in Massachusetts, “on my own” far away from home, a new college graduate, when I went out drinking with my new housemates and the guy at the door of the bar made fun of me for being from Arkansas. (It was because someone had just gotten busted using fake IDs from our fair state, but still.)

I tried my best not to look, sound or act like someone from Arkansas was expected to. My cover was completely blown when, after Peter — general manager of the paper and one of the proprietors of the Watsons’ Home for Wayward Interns — told the girls I didn’t have much of an accent, then I left a long, rambling message on the answering machine in which I knew I was sounding so terribly southern I wished I could erase it before I was even done talking. (I normally don’t have an accent, but it sure can come out when I’m upset, and that message was recorded in the middle of what I affectionately call copy editor boot camp hell.)

Back then I figured I was going to get out; I wanted out of Arkansas, out of the south, away from that past.

Now I know better, of course. Even then I was pretty tied to the state thanks to the guy who’s now my husband. But I’ve learned through the years that it’s OK that other people don’t get Arkansas. They don’t know about the hills, this fall to rival New England, the beautiful people, the food. Even the culture I’ve come to appreciate. I love how so much music has come from Arkansas through the years, from William Grant Still to Johnny Cash and Lucinda Williams. The artists, and the art we now get to show to the world thanks to Crystal Bridges. There’s a lot to love here and I’m glad the whole world doesn’t know about it.

frye harness boots
Oh, Frye boots, how I love you! (I stole this picture from Country Outfitter’s website, by the way.)

As I’ve accepted my southerness, I even decided it would be OK to own a pair of boots. Of course the ones I wanted were not typical cowboy boots. I longed for harness boots (still do, but Frye’s are so darn expensive!).

But when the fabulous local company Country Outfitter (another thing to love about Arkansas; so many awesome businesses have started here) offered boots to the attendees of the Arkansas Women Bloggers conference back in August, I knew I needed to go with something more traditional. After lots of searching on the site, I went with the Ariat Women’s Heritage Western boot (with a round toe in the Brown Oiled Rowdy color if you must know), which was a really popular choice at the conference because they’re pretty basic but also, well, pretty. They’re a good entry-level boot for people who’ve never had boots before.

ariat boots
My Ariat boots looking pretty.

In the couple of months that I’ve had the boots, I’ve really enjoyed them. They’ve become my standard date night/going out somewhere fun shoe (though even here there are some occasions that require something a little fancier). They’re comfortable, nice looking and actually pretty fun to wear.

Now that I’m on the boot bandwagon, I could totally see owning some more. Those harness boots are still on my list, but I”m also kind of interested in some slouch boots, too. (Neither of those are in my size, so they’ll have to wait.)

Boots for You, Too!

If you’d like some boots of your own — southern girl or not — now’s your chance to check out the awesomeness that is Country Outfitter. In addition to giving me a pair of boots, they’ve been gracious enough to let me give one of you a pair, too, or, more specifically, a $150 gift card you can spend on anything you want at Country Outfitter. They have boots for men, women and kids, and clothing and accessories, too.

All you have to do is enter your e-mail address at this link, then come back here and leave a comment letting me know you did it. If you feel like chatting, tell me what you like most about wherever you live.

The contest will be open until Dec. 3, at which point a winner will be chosen at random. Good luck!

Disclosure: Country Outfitter, a retailer of Ariat Boots, gave me these Heritage Western Round Toe boots to review. Wasn’t that nice?

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  1. I did it! I have been trying to win a pair of these boots forever! Thanks for this opportunity Sarah and Country Outfitters! And btw, I love living in Arkansas. The South! I grew up here and I think I will probably always stay. It is beautiful and I love being able to see stars and hear crickets at night. πŸ˜‰

  2. Hi Sarah, Thanks for the great story about the wonders of Arkansas. I was born and raised here until I began my 7th grade year when my parents decided to drag me off to California. I left my friends, family (well some family was there) and everything I ever knew. Once living in California, I began to notice how I stood out with my boots and jeans; however, 2 years later, I realized that everyone was starting to dress like me. I was country when country wasn’t cool (I know, I’m not Barbara Mandrell). Anyway, I did enjoy those years in a new land, but I was so happy when we returned to Arkansas, the beautiful place that I will always call home.

  3. Hey Sarah, I am a Yankee by birth only. My ancestral blood runs deep in the South. I moved to Arkansas about 10 years ago, moved to California for 3 years and then had the incredible opportunity to move back to Arkansas- I took it! I pined for Arkansas when I was in California and I have lived all over the U.S.! I knew the only place I wanted to be was back home in the Ozarks. You just can’t beat the people, the music, the food, the living and the beauty, I am happy to call it home! I would love to win these boots.

  4. Thanks for the chance, submitted my email. I live in the mountains of PA, I love the nature but miss being closer to a city for shopping!

  5. Cowboy Boots…A Girls Best Friend. You can never have too many “friends”!
    Thanks for the chance to win!

  6. Cowboy Boots…A Girls Best Friend. You can never have too many β€œfriends”!
    Thanks for the chance to win! Entered the contes

  7. I live in San Marcos, and I love that it’s not quite country and not quite city. There is a nice mixture of people because of the college campus I go to (Texas State).

  8. Love country outfitters boots! Already own a few pairs and im hooked! Im all entered and keeping my fingers, toes and legs crossed!

  9. I entered. Thanks to Sarah and Country Outfitters for the give away.

    I’m sad to admit I used to one of those people that made fun of Arkansas. That was until I visited and saw how wrong I had been. NWA is a wonderful area with great people!

  10. I need new boots! Haha, well I WANT new boots, there is a difference!
    Love that you are hosting a boot give away! And i do love arkansas! I miss Louisiana though, but would prefer to LIVE my family’s life here. So many amazing things and people here. I would not have met you had I not moved here….so glad you came back! πŸ™‚

  11. I love living in Indiana. I’m a Florida girl who moved because my hubby is a minister. I enjoy all the seasons here. Florida just has hot & hotter!

  12. i entered my email address.

    what do i like most about living in pittsburgh? most? probably its people. we are an interesting bunch! but i also really love that pittsburgh offers all of the big city amenities, yet still maintains the small town feel. (world class museums, so many theaters, professional sports, so many parks, etc.) i could go on and on about my love for this town, but i’ll stop here to save you.

    (is it wrong that i totally started an excel spreadsheet with all the different boots that i might possibly buy if gifted with the $150 gift card? because i did. seems i have expensive taste in boots and will need every dime of that generous giveaway in order to acquire new boots! pick me, pick me!)

  13. I entered! I LOVE those Frye boots, swoon!! Someone just asked me if we had “honies” in Arkansas. I had no idea what a honkie was, but I’m sure if they wanted to come visit from Southern Cali we could go hokie huntin’! ha!

  14. Hi! I signed up for your blog! I’m living in the burbs right now, and i miss the country terribly. I like that it is more convenient, that is about all. I do get to visit ppl in the country, and when I did live in the country, I’ve had chickens, a Nubian, and other little critters. I erally need boots, and I would luv to have boots from Country Outfitters. For me, it will be like Alice in Wonderland putting on her sparkling shoes, I will be transported!

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