Johnson, a sophomore defensive back for Nevada from Lafayette, La., was among the players and staff fitted for cowboy boots, one of the gifts for participating in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl broadcast Tuesday on ASN.
Johnson’s teammates, along with Colorado State players, picked from a variety of styles, from leather to lizard skin.
Johnson gave his older sister her pick as a Christmas present.
“She loves boots and I’d never wear them,” he said while texting her photos so she could make an informed choice.
With one shot, everyone wanted to get it right.
“It’s my first time boot shopping,” said Nevada senior linebacker Matt Lyons, “so I’m a little nervous.”
Walter Vaughn, a graduate assistant at Colorado State, had never owned boots and excitedly choose a pair of light brown lizard skin, size 14EE — 17EE is the largest. Watching this, sophomore safety Jake Schlager from McCook, Neb., immediately changed his choice to lizard skin, but in a size 10 instead.
Lizard skin boots are slick-bottomed, said Nick Torres of Cowtown Boots, the bowl’s supplier, “so more dressy.”
Torres said their boots range from $98 to $450. The players selected from boots in the $200 range with brown suede and black cherry lizard skin the most popular picks.
The most popular size? Between 10 1/2 and 12. It takes 6-8 weeks to make them.
“A boot for the boot,” he quipped.
Since most punters wear a smaller shoe on their kicking foot, Hunt was asked if would do the same with a size 11 boot on one foot and a size 12 boot on the other. “Oh no,” he said. “I’m going to stay comfortable and stay with the right size.”
Lyons, a Los Angeles native, was torn between suede and lizard skin. He finally opted for the casual suede boots, which have more grit to the bottom, so are more durable.
“Where do I wear them?” he said. “Well, in Reno, there’s always the rodeo.”
A perfect fit.
WHAT’S IN THE SWAG BAG
Gifts players received from the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl:
- Custom-fitted cowboy boots (left: Colorado State’s most popular choice; right: Nevada’s most popular choice)
- Fossil watch
Top: Freshman offensive lineman Justin Nunez of Colorado State gets his foot measured for his boots. (Kathy Kudravi/ASN)
Middle: Nevada’s Kendall Johnson with the boot his sister picked for her Christmas gift from him. (Mike Bambach/ASN)
Bottom: Colorado State punter Hayden Hunt with a boot for his boot. (Kathy Kudravi/ASN)