Katie Sauceda Designs Big Tex's 2019 Boots

In 2013, Lucchese partnered with the State Fair of Texas to design Big Tex’s cowboy boots. This year, Big Tex got himself a new pair of boots!

Did you know Big Tex’s boots are a size 96?

More than 250 folks entered the Big Tex Boot Design contest before it was narrowed to the top 10 finalists. Then it was time for the public to vote for their favorite design. Meet the winner of the 2019 Big Tex Boot Design Contest: Katie Sauceda.

Katie, a seventh generation Texan, was born and raised in San Antonio but now resides in North Texas with her husband and baby. Katie has always been involved with art as she majored in Art History at Stephen F. Austin State University. During college, Katie explored many new techniques she was unfamiliar with.

Working on her entry for the boot design contest for Big Tex was tough though Katie had a newborn at the time. However, she said, her baby motivated and inspired her to finish the boots since everything the baby sees, touches, smells, and hears is all for the first time. Winning the Big Tex Boot Design contest is definitely a big step in the right direction for her.

What kind of art are you passionate about?
I love all art! I have always drawn. I’m always doodling, and I save every little thing I draw because you never know when you’ll need to reference it again. I doodle on anything I can whether it is napkins or Post-it notes. When I would be stuck on a boy band, I would draw them. As far back as I can remember, I have always drawn anything and everything.

I have always been fascinated by baroque art. I took an art history baroque class in college, and it was my favorite. I remember my professor teaching us the flow and rhythm of baroque style paintings. That’s where I tried my hand to have rhythm flowing on the boots.

Have you been to the State Fair of Texas before? How often do you go?
I have! After moving to North Texas almost five years ago, I go to the State Fair as often as I can. I enjoy trying all of the fair foods and fun rides. I have to get on the Ferris wheel at least once every year. Of course, my most favorite part of going to the fair is seeing Big Tex and waiting for him to shout, “Howdy Folks!” From here on out going to the fair is going to have a whole new meaning. 

How did you hear about the Big Tex Boot Design Contest?
I randomly came across the design contest as I was scrolling through Facebook and saw an advertisement for it. I recall seeing that and looking over at my baby thinking how proud he would be of me if I actually won this. Luckily for me, the deadline for the contest was extended. I had only one week to come up with a design and submit to the State Fair for judging. I was deadline driven. I’ve entered many art contests in the past and this was the biggest one that I’ve done. The process was fairly simple. Print out the blank boots, come up with something, and mail in the entry.

Describe the steps you took when designing these boots.
I had to first brainstorm and talk it through with friends about the subject matter and the composition of how I wanted everything. I wanted to get the form and balance correct for the boots. I thought of as many ideas as I could and then arrange them on the boots. Sketching the plants came from my own garden. I did try to arrange the composition of the symbols where there would be a rhythm. With the oil derrick, I wanted the oil to flow into the bats, and bats flow into the wave of the Texas flag. I wanted to achieve the look where the viewer’s eyes would flow from symbol to symbol. It took me about two days to finish the boots from brainstorming ideas to adding the last color on the cacti. The form I ended up submitting was the first and final draft.

Tell us about what’s on the boot and why you thought it would suit Big Tex.

Big Tex’s new boots will feature symbols of Texas. On the front of the boots are peppers, spurs, the state flag, and stars. The backside features bats, an oil derrick, space shuttle, and mountains. The outer sides have the Alamo, an armadillo, bluebonnets, the yellow rose of Texas, the outline of Texas with rope, a longhorn, horseshoes, and a windmill. Cacti and stars are all around the boots. Each symbol reminds me of something in my life. I have connections with each as does Big Tex. Big Tex is the biggest Texan there is. He needed boots to show off his Texas pride.

Wow! That’s a lot. Where did you get your inspiration?
My inspiration comes from Texas. Everything on the boots gives a good representation of Texas. The theme of this year’s fair is “Celebrating Texas Creativity.” I’m a native Texan, and the bats remind me of when I lived in Austin. Every sunset on the South Congress Bridge, bats fly out from underneath. It’s definitely a sight to see! The mountains in the background are my hiking trips out in West Texas. The Alamo is of huge importance for Texas. I grew up in San Antonio, so trips there were a must. I have a love of cacti, so drawing the prickly pear cactus was my favorite. I tried to incorporate as many Texas symbols as I could.

Describe the feeling when your design was chosen for Big Tex.
Wow! It’s so hard to put into words how I felt at that moment. I was very excited! I remember opening the email that said I made the Top 10 finalists for the boot contest and I about lost it. I was so happy to read that. I was not expecting it. Then, the big call came announcing that my design was chosen for Big Tex’s boots. During that call, I had to contain my excitement. I was at work when I received the call and had quietly shouted from the top of my lungs. That was difficult! It was hard to express so much joy and excitement about winning when I had to keep quiet about it until it was officially announced. This was the biggest secret I’ve had to keep.

Do you own any Lucchese boots? If so, which ones?
Yes, I own the Maeve boots (as seen above) in navy ostrich. My favorites list is only getting longer. I’m a proud Texan.

Lucchese invites State Fair of Texas fans to go and say howdy to Big Tex as he stands tall in his Lucchese boots from September 27th to October 20th.

For more information about the State Fair of Texas and Katie Sauceda, follow @statefairoftexas and @ktaychris on Instagram.

All images courtesy of the State Fair of Texas.