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The Story Behind Jeff Bezos’ ‘Lucky’ Cowboy Boots

Jeff Bezos: space cowboy?

The Amazon CEO and world’s richest person celebrated the successful test launch of his space company Blue Origin’s New Shepard suborbital spaceship on Sunday and strapped on his “lucky” cowboy boots for the occasion.

In a photo posted on social media, Bezos, who is worth about $130.2 billion, gave kudos to the team behind the rocket, dubbed RSS H.G. Wells, and posed against the rocket in a company T-shirt, blue jeans, cowboy hat and sunglasses — a look befitting the West Texas backdrop. The pièce de resistance, however, was the tan and red cowboy boots, which featured Blue Origin’s Latin motto, “Gradatim Ferociter,” meaning “Step by Step, Ferociously” down the outer shaft. According to a tweet from April 2016, they were a gift from a friend, and the founder has broken them out for several milestone test flights.

He’s likely going to have more occasions to wear them soon enough, as the company has said it plans to begin piloted flights by the end of the year (so far, the only one onboard has been a dummy named Mannequin Skywalker) and start taking tourists into space as soon as 2019. Bezos founded Blue Origin in 2000, channeling his lifelong passion for space travel — not to mention billions of dollars of his personal wealth — into the pioneering company.

To be fair, the entrepreneur does have some legitimate cowboy cred: He was born in Albuquerque, N.M., and spent the majority of his childhood summers working on a cattle ranch with his grandfather in Cotulla, Texas. (Something tells us these boots are more expensive than the ones he wore back then, though.)

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