Middlebrooks Take on the Stitchdown Patina Thunderdome

Trent and Paula Middlebrook dropped us an email saying they entered the Stitchdown Patina Thunderdome contest featuring over a 1000 pairs of boots and shoes. Adding, that the point of the competition is to buy a new pair of shoes or boots, wear them for 6 months and see who's footwear generates the most attractive patina in the eyes of the judges. In mostly Trent’s words here is the gist of the competition and more about him, his wonderful wife Paula and their lives together…

There is $40,000 worth of prizes up for grabs.  So some people are pretty serious about it.  You have to be willing to wear the footwear you choose pretty much everyday for 6 months in order to develop the wear to create a patina.  My wife and I each got a pair of duckfeet for her birthday!

I thought it would be fun for Paula and I to do something like this together for several reasons.  The day the contest started was her birthday, she loves to take pictures of scenery and is very creative.  I like leather items.  Maintaining them and seeing them age.  We enjoy aged wood, steel etc.  It was a guaranteed hit.

It’s a Great Love Story!

Trent grew up in Lakeview Oregon and Paula grew up in Malin Oregon. The towns are about 100 miles apart. He moved to Malin when he was a Freshman and they met sometime after that. Her dad and Trent’s dad were actually bunk mates in Vietnam before we were born. They knew each other well and became lifelong friends. Then Paula and Trent reconnected at a class reunion in the fall of 2019 and have been together since that night.

Part of the reason they wanted to enter the Stitchdown Patina Thunderdome was for something fun to do together and the rest as they say is history. 

Trend adds that, “the day the contest started was her birthday, she loves to take pictures of scenery and is very creative. I like leather items. Maintaining them and seeing them age. We enjoy aged wood, steel etc.  It was a guaranteed hit.”

How Ducks lead to Duckfeet…

I was looking for something unique that wasn't like every other boot in the competition. Duckfeet really stood to us. We were excited when we found the website and saw the offering. I have always wanted to try a desert boot and the sjælland in brown really stood out to me. The color is much richer than what I anticipated.  It's quite beautiful and is undergoing a lot of change.

Paula chose the Fåborg in Bio because the veg tan type leather really ages uniquely. That boot has a lot of surface area to age differently and I think there might be a gradient effect with them. We will see.

Also, your company name of Duckfeet seemed fitting. We were just reeling from the loss of one of our ducks. The story of our ducks is that our twin daughters who are missing country life because they moved to the city for work wanted to get us some ducks. Secretly, they are not allowed to have many pets in their HOA but raised them for a few weeks until surprising us with them.

While we were building our duck coop a fox got in and killed one before we could keep them safe. We were devastated and had to break the news to our twin daughters who were devastated. When Trent saw the Duckfeet company and shoes he knew Duckfeet would be perfect for the contest and a fitting tribute to our duck saga.

Meet Poppy Duckens, the nutty duck who loves the Duckfeet and loves attention.  

Poppy Duckens is known for photo-bombing and chewing on our Duckfeet boots’ shoelaces.   We built him a truly amazing duck run.  He loves to go on walks to the river with us.  If we get in the water he will get in and go nuts.  However, he is a little gun shy of the water on his own.  Which is really surprising to us.  He has his treats, meal worms that he loves and will just about do anything for them.  

He is still getting used to being handled a little bit.  He loves to sneak up on the chickens and try to whack them.  Good thing the chickens are faster than he is.  He has become part of the family and everyone seems to get a kick out of Duckens.

He will follow us anywhere and it is really something to take him from his coop down to the river because it is quite a jaunt. He gets so excited and waddles, runs, and flaps wings. But everyone who sees him walk to the river is just in awe that we have trained the duck to do this. We are still in awe ourselves, it feels surreal.

Oregon adventures in Duckfeet

Part of the understanding in entering the contest is that you will wear your shoes or boots every day.  Trent and Paula have only missed a day or two of wearing them in the last 46 days or so. Trent says that they have a harvest party each fall.  

Our orchard is beautiful and substantial.  We are fortunate to have peaches, pears, apples and plums.  So we invite family here for the weekend and we pick fruit, trim trees, make pies, watch movies, eat pizza and just have a blast for 3 days.

We have two properties with acreage to manage. We have cattle on one property, a pool, lot's of wildlife including deer, turkey's, foxes, bobcats, even the occasional cougar. But taking care of the pool, any water issues or mowing, weeding, burning, etc. The other property on the river as stated, we are remodeling. That is the one with the orchard and we have a lot of mowing, cutting, burning, harvesting, house remodel, etc. We are planning a cruise in 2024  with our daughters.  We plan to cruise to Alaska.

We are really looking forward to the Holidays.  We will travel to our parents' location to have Thanksgiving. We will be in Malin, mostly. Our parents there own 1500 acres and there is much we can do to help. If there is snow, we may go snowmobiling, but for sure we will go on walks and may help with cutting and hauling wood. Paula's step dad does a lot of work with juniper and has a portable saw mill. We look forward to some walks, some catching up with friends and eating too much.  Christmas this year is still a little up in the air.  However, we were married on New Years Eve so we will hopefully be somewhere fun for that.  One of the great things about being married New Years Eve is that there is always a celebration.

We asked how they keep their Duckfeet looking their best for the contest here are Trent’s tips: We are putting them through their paces.  I am using mine for work around the place on the weekends and I wear them to the office every day. Paula's focus has been on the remodel we are doing.  She wears them for everything.  

We brush them every night after wearing them.  It really moves the oils of the leather around in the boots and creates some character in the shoes. Then they follow up with the Duckfeet brand leather care kit!

Shop Leather Care Kit

We share a love of modern architecture, exploring food and fine clothing.  We are working hard on a minimalist  approach to our lifestyle.  Less things and more experiences.  Make more room for the beautiful things in life and less clutter.