With the legendary National Western Stock Show in town we like to pay tribute to our hard-working farmers and cattlemen. This event has been a part of our state’s history for years and gets everyone from cow-folk to city slickers in the Wild West spirit. We have a few ideas to keep the theme alive in your own homestead.
A Western Themed Hoedown
Rounding up your friends for a western themed party is easy. With affordable decorations and a laid back atmosphere any cowboy would be happy to kick off their boots. Hand out inexpensive cowboy/cowgirl hats as your guests arrive. Create the feeling of west by covering tables in red and white-checkered tablecloths and use flowers or cacti in a tin can for centerpieces. For napkins, use multi-colored bandanas. Also, line bandanas in cowboy hats to hold chips and rolls as a fun touch. Set out toy guns, old boots, camping lanterns, and, if you have them, any horse-riding accessories like saddles, spurs, or lassos. If your party is outside, set out a few haystacks for sittin’. For a fun personalized addition make “wanted” posters with pictures of your guests with fun descriptions of their crimes, “Wanted: Peter, for being too handsome.”
Hitch up the chuck wagon and think of the simple, hearty foods our pioneers ate. Foods like chili, ribs, pulled chicken or pork, baked beans, and cornbread are all easy-to-make foods of the west. To cut down on hosting duties, consider having a chili cook-off. Ask your guests to bring their best chili recipe and vote judging for the spiciest, most unique, and best all-around. The same can be done with desserts using the old time pioneer favorite: pie! Give the winners ribbons tied to tin mugs as rewards. For sides, serve grilled corn with chili butter and biscuits.
Cowboys are tough and so are the drinks. In addition to serving beers, like the Texas favorite Shiner Bock, serve whiskey (we are partial to local favorites like Stranahans, or Leopold Bros.) and tequila. Since refrigeration wasn’t big in the 1800’s many of the drinks were straight up. Of course, we don’t expect our modern day settlers to consume drinks this strong so offer simple mixers like sodas and limeade for tequila. If you’d like to offer a signature cocktail, serve a batch of Wild Wild West or Juan Collins cocktail mixes in large rustic glass bottles. Make sure you have old-fashioned root beer on hand for designated drivers. Make a sign over the bar with that reads the “(hosts name) Saloon.”