The Tuesday LA Times headline reads: He was seeking custom-made boots. The journey led to a life deeply touched by love and death and leather. Under the headline is a picture of the man the words describe, a Vernal man that is well known and loved in the Uintah Basin. It’s 68-year-old master bootmaker Randy Merrell. The article’s author, Thomas Curwen, starts by helping the reader understand the level of weird he achieves in his feet alone which is what brought him to the Merrell Footlab and consequently in the path of Merrell who welcomed the odd-footed journalist into his home and workshop. While gaining his first pair of beautifully fitting hiking boots is part of the tale, Curwen’s masterful storytelling is more focused on the heritage and heart of Merrell himself – his faith, his pain, and yes, his “magic” as a modern-day cobbler. The article can be enjoyed in the World & Nation section of the LA Times or at

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