Sigle has built high-top boots for an Englishman when he was visiting Fort Uncompahgre. Also, a fur trade era square toed, low heeled military type boot, a pair of high-top reenactment boots for Legends, a group from Ridgeway that reenacted historical events. Another pair of boots made to order, these for the Single Action Shooters Association, were a replica of Teddy Roosevelt's laced knee-high boots to be worn in a 1905 100th Forest Service Celebration.
He was a laborer when he decided to learn a trade. He did not have a goal of becoming a boot maker when he found work as an apprentice sewing machine mechanic at Lloyds Sewing Center in Denver, advancing to servicing industrial sewing machines along the Front Range. A friend asked him to work on some sewing machines he had purchased. This resulted in a position with him as a repairman.
This led to being asked to ﬁnd machines for a seminar in Lakewood to be used to teach boot making, "That piqued my interest," he said. The instructors were Paul Brown, an accomplished repairman and bootmaker and third generation bootmaker Dave Hutchins.
"I approached them about my attending the seminar. The cost was $3,000 for a three-week session, way beyond what I could afford. After some thought, I called and offered two years sewing machine service and parts to attend the seminar."
During training Sigle completed two pairs of custom cowboy boots and started a third pair. The instructors were impressed with what he could do and decided he might be an asset to the school proposing to include sewing machine repair as part of the program. He taught ‘how to' repair and maintain, and where to purchase machines. Furthermore he was allowed to take the boot-making seminar two more times.
"At that time, it was decided that I was good enough to be a boot-making instructor. I joined the staff while still working at the shoe shop."
Later, he gained additional experience with Kenco International Inc., distributor for Asolo hiking boots where he was hired to start up a repair center to honor warranties. He repaired hiking boots, crosscountry, telemarking, and ski boots, as well as rock-climbing shoes. This was excellent experience in repairing manufactured boots.
With that background, Sigle felt ready to open his own shop making custom ordered boots. He was sidetracked on a venture to open a shoe factory on a Yankton Sioux Indian reservation in South Dakota. The deal became too complicated - Sigle withdrew and returned to his bootmaking shop.
Sigle was getting tired of living and working in the Denver area. He had grown up in the country . . . he was ready to leave the city. In Delta, Sigle found the old tannery north of town suited his needs. Renovations began. After a lot of hard work building a production line, hiring electricians, and even installing a sign, he ran out of money.
He was able to open a small shop in the former lunchroom at the tannery, did a show at Ridgeway, and began to build a customer base here in Delta. Locating in an agricultural area brought in a lot of boot repair.
He has moved around a bit, for a while in a rented house in Cedaredge, and then renovated a shell of a garage in Hotchkiss where he remained for eight years. Another move to Hotchkiss led to his present location in Delta on Main Street.
Diversiﬁcation has helped his business grow. Custom boots are a luxury item; boot repair is the staple for cash ﬂow. He is now training an apprentice so he can devote more of his time to custom boot-making, constructing 12 to 24 pair a year. He hopes to become even more creative by designing and ﬁnishing other leather products. blog comments powered by Disqus