DENVER — When you walk through the doors of the National Western Stock Show in Denver, you smash into a wall of smells - you'll get whiffs of fresh popped kettle corn blended with loads of manure and straw.
One corner of the events center, however, is dominated by the smell of shoe polish and leather year after year.
Kameran Harris spends the National Western Stock Show the same way his family has for more than 60 years - keeping patrons' footwear fresh at Stock Show Shines.
“We get shoes from all different walks of life,” Kameran Harris said as he cleaned, polished and shined a pair of cowboy boots. “We get cowboy boots, we get regular dress shoes and we get work boots.”
His cousin April Harris runs the company her father started.
“This is my 29th year shining shoes out here at the stock show,” April Harris said. “It’s my family’s 61st year. “My dad and my uncle and cousin started it back in 1958. It just looked so fun. When I was 12, I asked my dad if I could shine shoes, and if anybody remembers that big bench seat, I was reaching up to get the shoes. I was just so short, but it was so fun.”
They stay true to April Harris' father’s techniques; they use butter knives and toothbrushes to get all the muck off the boots before polishing and shining them.
“We don’t mind cleaning your boots no matter how dirty they are,” April Harris said. “That’s what we’re here for - to get you looking nice. Ready to go out dancing.”
April Harris hopes to carry on her father’s legacy at the National Western Stock Show for as long as she can. It’s important to her that it stays a family-run business.
“Everybody in the family has more respect for what they’re doing, and respect for my dad. They’re keeping his memory alive and honoring him, so I know they’re going to do the job right. This is my love. This business and these people feed me in a way nothing else can.”
9NEWS is a corporate partner of the National Western Stock Show
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