Throughout our 138 years, we've seen families face monumental challenges and celebrate milestones. From world wars to global pandemics, they’ve fought hard and won — and many of them couldn’t have done it without a mother at the helm.
If the past year has taught us anything, it’s to be grateful for the people in our lives. Among those lovely souls: our moms and mother figures.
Mothers have long taught their children the ways of the world. Since early 2020, that world has looked a little different, and mothers (and mother figures) everywhere have risen to the challenge that the pandemic brought. To celebrate moms on this not-so-average Mother’s Day, Lucchese is highlighting a few of the hardworking moms we know firsthand.
At Lucchese, we value family and working together — after all, the brand was founded by a pair of brothers who learned their trade from their father. To start our celebrations, we looked no further than our own Lucchese family. We spoke with one of our factory workers Ibet Ayala about what it’s like to be a mother. Ibet has worked as Lucchese’s Quality Inspector Packer for over 20 years. Her son, Hector Ayala, also works in the factory with her. Hector can do a variety of things such as sole finishing, brass nail application, and lemonwood pegging. Ibet said, “Working with my son in the factory together makes me feel proud of him, knowing he’s working somewhere where I have been for more than two decades of my life. I feel closer to him and feel good knowing he’s doing a great job in the position he is in.”
Tell us what it’s like being a mother.
I feel blessed being a mom in these hard times we are experiencing throughout this pandemic, and I’m grateful my family and I are in healthy conditions.
Did you grow up wearing boots?
My first pair of boots were navy ostrich that I received as a gift when I was 10 years old that my grandfather made.
Do you have any memories of you and your son wearing boots?
Five years ago, when my son started to see me wear boots to work and to special occasions, he quickly started to like the style, which then became a passion for him wearing boots.
How do you plan on sharing your love of boots with your kids?
I have expressed my love of boots to my kids since they were young. I tell them how I inspect boots and all of the great qualities the boots are made of. I show them the love I have built for the variety of boots throughout my 25-year career working at Lucchese Bootmaker. I love my work, and I am proud to be a part of the Lucchese team and proud to be a mom.
Which boots catch your eye now?
The boots that mostly catch my eyes at the Lucchese website are the Hollywood Rose, due to their outstanding colors, and the Drea boots because of their color mix. Overall, these two pairs of boots are ultimately my favorites from the website, but all the styles of each boot have a special place in my heart.
Next, we spoke with longtime Lucchese fan and rancher entrepreneur Mary Heffernan, who raises four girls named Mary — yes, all four daughters are named Mary. Like their mother, the four girls were all named Mary after strong and memorable grandmothers and aunts on both sides of the family, and each carries the middle name of that grandmother or great aunt.
Mary describes her first pair of Lucchese boots at a bull sale early on in her marriage. She said, “I instantly fell in love, and they were so comfortable from the very first wear. I still have those boots, but I've turned into a Lucchese collector since then! I've worn through soles and sent them back to Lucchese for resoling (my favorite pairs, when the leather is perfectly worn in!) Every pair is an heirloom I get to wear for working on the ranch, family gatherings, date nights with my husband and working in my shop or our restaurant. They are always my first choice to wear no matter what the occasion — and I know I will pass them down to my girls someday, too!”
Did you grow up wearing boots?
YES! I grew up in the heart of Silicon Valley before it was the heart of the tech world. But I was always drawn to the western lifestyle and rode horses from an early age. I got my first pair of red cowboy boots at the old Western shop on the edge of town. I wore those boots everywhere and still have them!
Do you have any memories of you and your mom wearing boots?
My grandmother was a horsewoman and encouraged me to start riding early — she had beautiful boots in her closet I used to go peek at whenever I was there. Her name was also Mary! I love looking at old photos of her riding with her boots. She was chosen as the Rodeo Queen for the Salinas Rodeo in California, a huge honor. I love that she passed down her love of western lifestyle — and great boots — to me.
Do you plan on sharing your love of boots with your kids?
YES! My girls actually already caught up to me in shoe size — or are almost there ... and I have big feet! I'm an 11 narrow, and two of my four daughters can share my shoes. We have a Lucchese collection in the mud room on shelves, and it's kind of a free for all choosing boots to head out for a day of working and riding on the ranch. I have to keep my favorite pairs tucked in my closet!
What boots catch your eye now?
I just got the limited-edition Tall Tulip boots — a vintage replica pulled from the Lucchese archives and I'm totally obsessed. They have bright colored tulips inlayed in a rainbow of colors – six on each side, which reminded me of the six of us in my family. They were a gift I hinted at for my birthday this year and was so thrilled to get them! I thought they'd be special occasion boots, but I've been wearing them every day. I mean, every day IS a special occasion with Lucchese boots on your feet, right?!
What would you like to share with all the other Lucchese mothers?
I'd say go out and buy that new pair of boots! You'll never regret it. A great quality pair of boots is an investment and an heirloom you will wear, love, and pass down to the next generation. They are worth it!
Lastly, we spoke with Becky Wills, a Lucchese fan, boy mom, and a rancher. Becky said, I remember being asked as a kid the famous question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Dolly Parton was one of my early on answers to that question. I still would love to rock her big hair, stunning voice, and captivate the world with that laugh but am grateful God made me unique in my own way too. Then, I wanted to be a marine biologist, a flight attendant, which is humorous in itself since at that point I had never flown on a big plane, a clothing designer, and finally an art teacher. The truth is I just wanted to be a wife and mom, but never answered that way because that wasn’t cool. The world tells us that we have to be more than that. We, as girls, need to go to college so we can be a part of the workforce and all the other is “side stuff.”
At the age of 23, I married the cowboy of my dreams, and at 25, I was given the gift of motherhood, Porter Jack Wills! Three years later, Gatlin Zane strolled into our lives making me fully a boy mom. Being mom is probably the most influential roll I will ever have in my life and for sure my most prized possession. It is not “side stuff,” for me it’s the “good stuff!” Momming is not an easy or glamorous job but it has been a life lesson that I am so thankful I didn’t miss out on. My best survival skills have come from it. We are a ranching family here in Texas raising our boys horseback and working with us day in and day out. I have put my teaching degree to good use, homeschooling our boys, so that we can be together as a family working, growing, and experiencing the ups and downs of life with more of each other and a little less of the outside influence for now.
When I look at my boys, now 13 and 16, I wish I would have stopped more when they were little to etch every innocent word they spoke into my memory and played more hide and go seek with them. I have saved all their boots from the time they were newborns to now. Their boots are a good reminder to me of where we all have been and where they are headed. I grew up wearing boots as my dad was a rodeo cowboy that traveled the US riding bulls, broncs, and calf-roping. My mom in her youth broke her first horse, Dolly, a 2-year-old filly and then went on to run barrels with her. My parents met at the Roby, Texas, rodeo and shortly were married to then raise three kids. We were all riding horses at the age of 3. The western lifestyle is where we are rooted and where I want my boys rooted as well. It’s a life that no matter what you go and do, it shows up in the quality of hard-work, dedication, and willingness to “stick” no matter how rough life or the job gets.
I have a pretty good collection of boots that I love to wear and hope to one day be able to share them with my future daughter-in-laws or even better maybe some little cowgirls I hope to call granddaughters. It would make my heart happy to have someone cherish my old cowgirl boots and add to the collection of hand-me-downs. Calan’s grandmother gave me a pair of boots that his grandfather had given her. I was honored to be trusted with such a precious memory of hers and their life of ranching together. That is how I came up with the desire to pass down my beloved boots someday. I have my eye on the Lucchese red Dale boots. Instead of wearing red lipstick – wear RED Boots! – maybe that will be my new motto…