It's two hours before high noon and Richard Stapleman is busy at work in his boot shop in Pendleton, Oregon. He's in his usual get-up of plaid shirt, 10-gallon hat, blue jeans and brass belt buckle, feet snug in custom-made boots with an inch-wedge heel. Slight framed, but with hands the size of paddles.

"I used to be a cowboy," he tells me. "Now I just dress like one."

Across the road, Hank Moss is similarly dressed. Taller and bigger than Stapleman, but with the same warmth behind the eyes, he greets me with a "Good to know ya," and

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