We've always known that Texans know how to party better than anyone else, and that was resoundingly affirmed at The Big Texas Party Thursday night at Silver Street Studios. The Super Bowl event, hosted by CultureMap, ESPN Radio, and SB Nation, drew a crowd of more than 1,500 excited guests who had such a boot scootin' good time that they didn't want to leave.
They chowed down on barbecue from 10 top Houston area pitmasters (Ronnie Killen alone provided 1,000 pounds of ribs), downed J.R. Ewing bourbon, Deep Ellum Brewing Co. and Lone Star beer, specialty cocktails with MVP vodka, and shots of tequila from a giant ice sculpture, and danced to the spirited music of Bart Crow. After the Texas country singer finished his set, the crowd continued to jam the dance floor as DJ Senega played high-energy party tunes that had everyone singing along at the top of their longs.
Mayor Sylvester Turner, who seemed giddy from all the attention Houston has received this week, waded through the crowd, posing for selfies, talking sports with ESPN 97.5's Joel Blank and Barry Laminack on a live broadcast from a booth at the party, meeting up with his good friend, basketball great Elvin Hayes, and huddling with David Gow, ceo of Houston-based Gow Media, which co-sponsored the party.
"I'm just so proud of this city. I don't have words to express," Turner said. "This is our moment to shine. Especially when there are a lot of crazy things happening on the national level, Houston is showing we can be diverse, inclusive, very protective and supportive of one another. In this city we don't build walls, we build relationships."
Other sports stars, including Mike Barber, Gregg Bingham, Cris Dishman, Ed "Too Tall” Jones, Randy White, Bubba McDowell, TJ Glover, B.J. Johnson, Roy Williams, and Melvin Ingram, mingled with the crowd and posed for photos. Many of them also stopped by the ESPN 97.5 booth, which broadcast a full lineup of shows throughout the four-hour party with such radio hosts as John Granato, Henry Thomas and Fred Davis. The shows were simulcast on sister station SB Nation 1560 AM.
Throughout the evening, a stream of NFL players dropped by, including Jace Amaro, Case Keenum, Nolan Carroll, Christian Covington, Chase Daniel, Dustin Hopkins, Derrick Johnson, David King, Bradley Marquez, Sam Martin, Marshall Newhouse, Justin Pugh, Andrew Sendejo, Bradley Sowell, Charles Tillman, and David Dahl, as well as Texas Texas head coach Kliff Kingsbury.
CultureMap director of marketing Jessica Baldwin and her team transformed Silver Street Studios into a hip party space, with lush VIP cabanas lining the walls, including an oversized area where Select Sports Group entertained clients. Strings of white lights cascaded along the ceiling, and in a pavilion in the center, Whole Foods Market created a display of luscious desserts. The food giant also served Kickin’ Kombucha cocktails and bourbon caramel gelato.
Guests clowned around in a Smilebooth photo booth, waited in line for Big Texas Party custom-print T-shirts sponsored by Celebrity Cruises, and stopped by the BBVA Compass booth for cupcakes by Cakes by Gina and to bid on silent auction items to benefit The Center, a Houston facility which helps adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
On the way out, guests snacked on Lee’s Fried Chicken & Donuts and Katz Coffee for added sustenance as they waited in the long Uber line or went next door to Club Nomadic to catch Snoop Dog perform a late night set.
Spotted in the throng were David Baldwin, Audrey Gow, Lonnie and Candace Schiller, Patti Murphy, Caroline Kenney, Tama Lundquist, Marge Lundquist, and Tena Lundquist Faust, Susan Christian and Laura Spanjin, Ashley Turner, Lily Jang, Butch Alsandor, Lisa Gochman and Chris Beverley, Miss Teen USA Kirby Lindley, Channel 11 anchor Rekha Mudaraj and husband Dr. Neil Badlani, Channel 11 reporter Drew Karedes and Jonathan Gillis, Cherri Carbonara, Shari Koziel, and Gabe Canales.