By JimiBeth Myers
Behind the Scenes
A Fashion Drive from the Rodeo Arena
The Girl’s Barrel Race has always been a place for contestants to make a fashion statement. Fashion trends have changed over the years, which you can see through the videos and photos on display at the Cowgirl Hall of Fame in Ft. Worth, TX. Recognizing an opportunity to promote fashion in the rodeo arena the Cowgirl Hall of Fame created the Jerry Ann Taylor Best Dressed Award. This is named for a flashy and stylish trick rider who embodied western style and glamour. The award is offered twice a year at the Ft. Worth Rodeo and the National Finals Rodeo. Three prizes are given with $5,000 going to first place, followed by $1,000 for second place and $500 for third place.
Kathy Grimes, who you may have noticed always seems to be wearing purple, won the Best Dressed award in Ft. Worth this year. She said that she wears some shade of purple all season, except for the occasional Tough Enough to Wear Pink night. , “I’ve always loved purple.” She even gets her mount, Izzy, in on the fashion action donning her in purple, too. This doesn’t happen overnight. August is when Kathy says she started planning her outfits for the 10 performances in the Thomas & Mack arena.
Kathy has a lot of support in her quest to make a clean sweep in the Best Dressed Category with wins in Fort Worth and Las Vegas. She had help planning her outfits from a support team at home and she has fans that are willing to wear purple in support of her barrel runs on the road.
While Kathy has been planning her attire for months, cowgirl Kimmie Wall didn’t clinch her spot at the NFR until the very end of the rodeo season. So, she didn’t start packing until pretty late in the game. Luckily she is sponsored by World Champion Barrel Racer and former Jerry Ann Taylor Best Dressed winner Fallon Taylor and her Ranch Dress’n western fashion store. This allowed Kimmie to fill her trailer with bright threads. Walls says, “I’m not afraid of color. I’m not afraid of flash. I’m not afraid of glamour. Especially for Vegas it is fun to have the fringe and sequins.”
She says that she loves the idea of the Jerry Ann Taylor Best Dressed Award because, “after all we are competitors, so adding a little friendly competition ups the fashion game. Looking back at Jerry Ann Taylor you can’t help but notice her class.”
Though it may seem like these girls are always rodeo ready, Kimmie says, “it’s just fun to dress up every once in awhile. Most of the time I’m dusty and dirty, but the rodeo arena gives me a place to dress up.”
Number one barrel racer, Tiany Schuster, is taking a bit of a different approach to her NFR garb. She is hoping that she can borrow some luck from history to help her win this year’s World Title and the Jerry Ann Taylor Award. She has enlisted former World Champions Martha Josey and Fallon Taylor in hopes that their NFR shirts will bring her luck.
Tiany says that Martha and Fallon sent her shirts to wear in Las Vegas that they wore at the National Finals Rodeo in their winning rounds or historic runs for those two champions.
While competing in Las Vegas Schuster is also wearing the shirt that she won the Calgary Stampede in - a shirt she had never worn before and hasn’t worn since that winning day. “This shirt brought me a lot of luck that day, and I’m hoping it will work here in Las Vegas too!”