News & Politics

2013 Texas Black Tie and Boots Ball

“Bigger is better” was the name of the game at the Texas State Society’s inaugural celebration.

The entrance to the Texas Black Tie and Boots ball. Photographs by Tanya Pai.

They say everything’s bigger in Texas—a motto that certainly held true for the Texas State Society’s inaugural ball, which took place in five rooms throughout the massive Gaylord National Harbor. The dress was specified as “black tie and boots,” and though not all guests went for it, those who did took full advantage of the more comfortable footwear on the dance floor. Many took the Texas theme even further, with Lone Star State bow ties and shirts, bolo ties and cowboy hats, and red, white, and blue gowns. We even saw one brave attendee with a broken foot wheeling around the ballroom with her leg propped on a Texas-decorated scooter.

Volunteer coordinator Dakotah Smith with his girlfriend, Mary O’Donohue.

Providing entertainment were several Austin-based bands, including Asleep at the Wheel and the Wheeler Brothers, as well as dance performances by Kilgore College’s famous drill team, the Rangerettes, and the Lake Highlands Wildcat Wranglers. Early in the evening the Racing Presidents—Lincoln, Washington, and Jefferson—made a surprise appearance, hitting the dance floor and then getting onstage with the band, to the delight of the two-stepping crowd.

The Racing Presidents dancing.

Among the celebs rumored to be in attendance: the somewhat odd couple of Ben McKenzie (The OC’s Ryan Atwood) and Jamie Foxx, though we didn’t catch a glimpse of either, and the current Miss Texas, Alexandria Nugent. Guests snacked on red, white, and blue tortilla chips with salsa, the Southern staple seven-layer dip, and crab-and-artichoke dip; booze-wise, margaritas and Coronas proved popular choices. (The bartender informed us the Lone Star State favorite Shiner Bock ran out within the first hour.)

Though ticket prices were comparable to those of many inaugural events, the pervading atmosphere was less “formal ball” and more “giant party with hats.” When the entire crowd begins to sing along to “Deep in the Heart of Texas,” it’s clear it’s an event that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Esteria Miller and Shawna Ridley of Dallas.
Hard Times Cafe founder Ned Parker with his son, Fred, who was attending his first Black Tie and Boots ball.
A table of furs from Stephen’s of Texas.
The Kilgore Rangerettes lined up to enter the ballroom.
A table of Obama merchandise.