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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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When the barrel stands tall

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Photo by Photo by Jenny Hollowell

Leo Belovoskey II, the current owner of Holick’s says the style of their boots has never changed. 

All across campus, senior Corps members are walking proudly in their senior boots. 

The longstanding tradition of getting one’s senior boots holds a deep meaning with each cadet, beginning with a trip to local bootmaking company Holick’s.

According to the Holick’s website, the company began in 1891 by Joseph Holick, who came to America from Czechoslovakia at the age of 16 in 1884. Holick ended up in Bryan by accident after falling asleep on a train, and from there he made Aggieland his home.

Leo Belovoskey II is the current owner of Holick’s. He was named to the position by the Holick family, and has been working for the company since 1991. He said the history of Holick’s began when Holick became the first Aggie Band Master.

“Joseph was working in a shoe repair shop in downtown Bryan, and someone from the university came up to him and asked if he wanted to repair shoes for the guys in the quad. He said sure and ended up living with those guys in the quad and there is where he started the Aggie band and was the first band director,” Belovoskey said.

The Holick’s website states that the tall boots seen today weren’t introduced as part of the uniform until the 1920s.

Belovoskey said that Johnnie Holick, son of Joseph Holick, came back to College Station to craft the senior boot with his father.

“When Johnnie came back from Austin [he and his father] started making the senior boots,” Belovoskey said. “Joseph and Johnnie, the son, pretty much took over the business after that.”

Belovoskey said that the style of the boots have not changed since Holick’s began.

“Nothing has changed, they’re the same now as the first day they started making boots,” Belovoskey said. “As a matter of fact, the machinery is still the same with the exception of a few pieces of machinery … we’ve got machines back there that are over 120 years old and are still pumping out boots.”

Renting boots is a less expensive option for senior cadets. Old Ags will sometimes donate their senior boots to be rented out for the year.

Jacob Arth, university studies senior and cadet, said to him there is a value to purchasing the boots instead of renting them.

“I think it is super important for people to buy their boots instead of renting them from the Corps Center,” Arth said. “Having the boots with you, instead of having to return them, is something you can look at and remember all of those good times when you see them.”

Belovoskey said that the process of getting senior boots is one that starts early on in a cadet’s college career.

“What will happen is, because our boots are in such high demand, they will come to us their freshman year wanting to get their name on a list and get their position established,” Belovoskey said. “Then they will come in their sophomore year and we will measure them and they’ll pick up their boots their junior year and then final review comes and they have their ceremony and they all switch — the seniors basically die off and the juniors become seniors.”

Isaiah Murray, Holick’s employee, said that the best aspect of working is getting to see the reactions from those who finally get to pick up their boots after waiting for them for so long.

“It’s a pretty cool environment this place has, it’s pretty cool to see how excited everyone gets when they get their boots,” Murray said. “I’d have to say that is the best thing.”

Arth said that the senior boots serve as a reminder of a cadet’s time in the Corps, encapsulating their dedication, work and memories.

“I know they are expensive, but it’s something that you’re able to have and keep and treasure for the rest of your life,” Arth said. “It’s something you can show your children and grandchildren and say ‘This is what I did, this is what I earned, and this is why the Corps is the way it is.’”

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