The All American Quarter Horse Congress Queen Contest is very fortunate to have so many generous sponsors who donate their products and their time not only to our contestants, but also to our philanthropic efforts. Yesterday, we offered a first look at the “Wings of the Journey 2015” boot, designed and donated by Babs Bryant of Lagrange Leather which will be raffled off by Congress Queen Contestants. Not only does Babs donate a raffle boot, but each year, Lagrange donates a special limited-edition boot to be auctioned off at the Congress on the night of the Masters. The raffle ticket sales raise upward of $15,000 and it isn’t unusual for the auction boot to bring in more than $25,000 each year. All of the proceeds are donated to Nellie's Catwalk for Kids (NC4K), a Columbus, OH based Charity for kids and teens with cancer.
We want to tell you more about the lady behind these beautiful boots, and Babs was kind enough to share with us some information about all that goes into LaGrange Leather, and more specifically, her journey which inspired this year’s boot. Here is what she said:
“Lagrange Leather has been in business for over 45 years and started out as the original name Moontan Leather. Each year, I design around 70 to over 100 new styles and color combinations. Normal production for the year is around 3000 plus. From the fit to the design, it is totally a Lagrange Leather original. Countless hours are spent just on the right color combinations, and many unique techniques are utilized to create the looks. We use the best leathers and exotics available. Several of the techniques that we use to create the vintage look are very special to the industry. As far as where I get many of my ideas; I start early in the year watching what is really popping in color from the Paris runways. My total favorites to follow are Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Fendi. Since I was a very little girl, my grandmother taught me the importance of a great pair of shoes. Footwear, in her opinion, was purchased first; then the outfit to match. I live and breathe all types of footwear, but love my boots and what it brings to my clients. I want my clients to feel like they are purchasing a fantastic cool boot for a reasonable price.
This is the 8th Edition of the Cancer Awareness boot that I design especially for the All American Quarter Horse Congress. This year is especially important; I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Ovarian Cancer. From the moment that I heard ‘you have cancer’, my life changed forever. I can honestly say that I was not scared; I felt that I had no right. Working with Shorty Koger over the years, and the Shirley Bowman Nutrition Program at the Stevens Cancer Center in Oklahoma City, I felt I had a connection with cancer, along with the Nellie's Catwalk For Kids in Columbus, OH. Meeting and seeing the kids that the money (from both tickets sales via the All American Congress Queen Contestants and Lagrange boot sale donation) would help, and hearing what the parents and the kids would tell me at congress when I would meet them, made me know that cancer touches so deep in so many ways.
The journey starts once you hear the words "YOU HAVE CANCER". It doesn't matter what kind. It’s cancer, it’s scary, and it’s ongoing for the rest of your life if you live. It touches everyone around you on different levels and everyone handles it differently. I would say that everyone else has a harder time that me because from the beginning I have been in control of my cancer team who will save my life. I see the fear when my friends go with me to chemo. I see the concern in my husband’s eyes. But, when I started the journey, I just said to myself, ‘this is it, lets rock this and get this war going on’. I don't have time to be sick; I want to help others, so I think this was what I was thinking: the journey begins and it’s up to me to beat it.
I believe in a positive attitude and have had one throughout; it’s the way I roll. I have only four more chemo treatments, and at this point, things are looking very promising considering only 24% of all women that are diagnosed with ovarian cancer live. For the rest of my life I will have to be monitored with various tests to make sure that the cancer has not returned.
This year I have not made a firm decision on the quantity of the limited edition. I also have a Turquoise one in the works for Ovarian Cancer that will be introduced at the All American Quarter Horse Congress. 100% of the profits from the Wings of the Journey will go to benefit Nellie's Catwalk For Kids.”
Thank you to the entire team at Lagrange Leather for your generosity. Please keep Babs in your prayers, as well as all of those that this boot represents.