Rhinestone cowboy | VailDaily.com

Rhinestone cowboy

Kristin Anderson/kanderson@vaildaily.com

BEAVER CREEK ” Dust off those sequin chaps ” it’s Beaver Creek rodeo time.

It’s no secret that this rodeo is a bit shinier and a lot more luxurious than the others around the state. Hey, they even serve sushi.

There’s still plenty of real-life cowboys who compete in the ring, and I bet you’d be hard pressed to find one that ate sashimi. But the spectator boots kickin’ up hay are made of fine Spanish leather, and the jeans are designer.

Yes, the Beaver Creek Rodeo is THE place to strut those snazzy western threads, which are just waiting in your closet for an opportunity like this one. It’s also a good excuse to go shopping, and what more appropriate place than the stores in Beaver Creek, where Western wear is taken to a higher level.

When assembling an outfit for the rodeo, one must think glitz, after all, this is Beaver Creek. But start with a pair of trusty dark denim jeans, essential for any cowgirl ” just ask Beaver Creek’s Rodeo Queen Kelly Adams of Vail Christian High School. Roxy is good place to start. The boutique carries most of the premium brands, like Paige and True Religion.

“When you’re not wearing jeans for your saddle, it will wear your skin more,” Adams said. “It’s just not comfortable, and you’re not going to be able to ride well.”

Adams and her two best friends ” Sara Martin, queen attendant, and Angela Downs, rodeo princess ” make up this year’s royalty. They will kick things off every Thursday, starting today, with the grand entry, galloping around the rodeo ring.

The girls also work as marketers for the Beaver Creek Rodeo, signing autographs and making guest appearances around town. They have a couple different show shirts, Adams said, and her favorite is a traditional western shirt in turquoise, black and silver with rhinestones that match her chaps.

Sparkles are key, but in Beaver Creek, it’s got to be Swarovski crystal. Avalon, a men and women’s shop specializing in fine leather and suede, sells a black Italian suede shirt with tan western piping. The shoulders are adorned in Swarovski crystal. This top would give any rodeo queen a run for her money.

To complete the outfit, one needs a pair of killer boots, both flashy and functional, and a cowboy hat.

Head to Colorado Footwear and try on a pair of Sendra boots, handmade in Spain especially for the Beaver Creek shop. No two are alike. There are several different styles from turquoise cow hair to ones with leather cut-out thunderbirds. For hats, hit Beaver Creek Sports. They have a selection of handmade, shapeable straw hats, in pink, tan and dark brown.

Style and frills abound in Beaver Creek. Local Kim Spahmer and her friends even call it the “the cappuccino rodeo.” But it’s not like cowboys are opposed to looking good. It’s quite the opposite, according to Spahmer, who for many years owned Flying Colors, a western outfitters in Edwards.

“They pride themselves on having nice equipment,” Spahmer said. “Everything is sacred.”

Cowboys request special spurs, she said, which are used to encourage the horse to move forward and to hold the cowboy in place on the animal.

“They want spurs with a pattern or their initials or brand,” Spahmer said. “People go all out to customize pieces.”

Same goes with boots. Most cowboys have at least two kinds in their closets.

“I truly think they wear the functional types of hide, like bull, which is thick and strong, when riding. And then, when they dress up to go out to dinner, they wear lizard, python and ostrich.”

I guess even cowboys can be frivolous.

Arts and Entertainment Editor Cassie Pence can be reached at 748-2938, or cpence@vaildaily.com.

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