Bucking Horse Sale: Shoe-shine girl sets up shop at fairgrounds

If your boots need a shine to them, Kate Rehm has a deal for you.

 The senior at Custer County District High School will be shining boots or shoes Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the entrance to the Exhibit Hall during the Bucking Horse Sale at the Eastern Montana Fairgrounds.

 She had her stand near the entrance to the grandstand during the horse races last Sunday. She shined 20 pairs of boots.

 The cost?

 “It’s free,” she said. “It’s your choice of payment. Some take it for free, some gave me pretty good tips, so it balances out.”

 So what makes an 18-year-old high school student want to shine boots? She said it’s a combination project for both a class she took at Miles Community College (a one-hour assignment) and her competition in the 4-H organization.

 “For my skill (at MCC) I didn’t want to waste my hour and I wanted to earn some money,” she said, adding that her shoe shine stand also won the 4-H contest and will send her to the state competition in Bozeman in July.

 At state she hopes to be the lone competitor with a shoe shine stand.

 “I sure hope it surprises them,” Rehm said.

 Meanwhile, the art of shining boots takes some getting used to.

 “You have to make a little back adjustment and your hands get tired. But that’s about it,” she said.

 Rehm already has a year of credits from MCC and will enroll this year at Montana State University in Bozeman with plans to study animal science en route to becoming a veterinarian.

 So where would she like to practice as a vet?

 “Right back here in Miles City,” the daughter of Shane and Sara Rehm said without hesitation.

 By then her boot shining days might have ended.

(Contact Abe Winter at starcity@midrivers.com or 406-234-0450.)