By Chris Lane
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It's the only fashion show we know of that features models walking the runway — in western wear, of course — along with displays of large-scale farm and ranch equipment and goods.
The third annual Rocking the Rodeo Runway Fashion Show and Exhibitor Showcase at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo will give visitors a chance to see vendors strut their stuff.
"We've got everything from kids' fashion to women's fashion to tractors," says Elizabeth Greer, the Livestock Show's executive director of exhibits and attractions. "It's a fun way for vendors to show that they're here and get people engaged."
The models selected by exhibitors to appear in the fashion show can be professionals or amateurs, and many are simply Rodeo volunteers. A professional producer is onscene to provide full makeup service and lessons on how to walk the walk, which should give the show an authentic feel and help the models enjoy themselves in style.
"What's cool is the cooperation between vendors. If they sell clothes, they'll walk over to another stall and borrow a pair of boots. They'll put a whole outfit together," says Greer.
When the fashion show was first introduced in 2012, it got very little attention from Rodeo-goers; most of those in attendance were the vendors themselves. But thanks to increased promotion at the vendors' booths, last year's event brought in a much bigger crowd and significant sales for vendors, an improvement that shows every sign of continuing with this year's show.
"More vendors get involved each year," says Greer. "It's gotten legs, and it's really shown itself to be worth an investment of our time."
The variety of featured goods promises to be wider than ever, and, to make the show even more interesting, organizers have partnered with radio station 93Q to hand out front-row tickets and gift bags.
The event is free and will take place in Reliant Center's Main Arena on Thursday, March 13, beginning at 5:30 p.m.