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How to be a Cowboy

Buy a Pair of Custom Boots

Even if you don’t want to act the part, achieving that same timeless look is easy from head to toe. The storied expression "they died with their boots on" is understandable, especially if those boots come from world-class maker Lucchese.
For 125 years, this San Antonio institution (pronounced “lou casey”) has outfitted everyone from farmhands to U.S. presidents in butter-smooth leathers. Made from almost any creature on land or sea (ever slipped on ostrich or stingray?), Lucchese boots bring handcrafted art to every sidewalk, boardroom or dance floor they grace.
They may be a little more expensive, but you can’t put a price on Lucchese’s personalized service. When you order a custom boot from the brand, you get to choose everything from the color to the styles of the toe (rounded or pointed, squared or curved?) and heel, and get the proper fit for your foot and calf.
Another legendary San Antonio bootmaker is Dave Little, who, with his daughter Sharon, operates Little’s Boots, a family business founded in 1915. Known for superb craftsmanship and quality, Little’s Boots has been outfitting generations of cowboys and ranchers with custom-made, handcrafted boots.

Add the Shirt, Jeans and Beltbuckle

Don't know a cinch from a chap? No problem! The friendly folks at multiple Western-wear stores—like downtown's compact El Vaquero or retail giant Sheplers—provide the expertise to dude you out perfectly. Enhance your look with the ever-stylish Roper shirt and its embroidered yokes. Add a pair of jeans and a large belt buckle, and you’re ready to grab your honey and dance under a starry Lone Star sky. Well, almost.

A Cowboy Hat Tops It All Off

No Western outfit is complete without a signature cowboy hat to top it all off, but which kind will define you? The relaxed styling of weathered straw, a sloping brim in crushed wool or the classic Stetson with its crisp lines?
 Visit the world-famous Paris Hatters to find the custom look that’s right for you. Choose from a variety of styles (Western, dress or golf) and materials (straw, felt, canvas, wool or other) before picking your ideal shape. Don’t forget to choose an adornment like a feather or buckle, and have an associate measure your head so your hat sits perfectly on top of it.

Go Country Western Dancing

Ready to roll? Remember, this is Texas, and bigger is better here—especially when it comes to honky-tonking. In San Antonio, Cowboys Dancehall boasts 70,000 square feet of space to listen and dance to local and touring country-western acts. Or you can choose to Texas two-step and Cotton-Eyed Joe just outside of town. Rich in regional musical talent, the Texas Hill Country offers celebrated dance halls like Floore's Country Store in Helotes or Gruene Hall in Gruene, near New Braunfels. Don't be surprised if local legends Jerry Jeff Walker or Willie Nelson occasionally join the jam, but a memorable night is guaranteed no matter who is playing.

Visit a Working Cattle Ranch

The epitome to any Western experience is a ranch visit, whether for the day or overnight. For great Western hospitality, head out to Bandera, the Cowboy Capital of the World, and have your pick of ranches, such as the Dixie Dude Ranch or the Flying L Guest Ranch. These are just a few of the many dude ranches in the area. Bandera was a staging area for the last great cattle drives of the 1800s, sealing its place in history. Activities abound, including nature hikes, trail horseback riding, hay rides, campfires and (for golfing cowpokes) and golf.

Go to the Rodeo

San Antonio proudly hosts the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo each February. This award-winning event—Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Best Indoor Rodeo of the Year for many years running—gives visitors an opportunity to experience a world-class rodeo, concert entertainment and livestock exposition.