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HTX Rodeo 2014
Bubbly & bovines

Fashionable Champagne Cowgirls go for the beef at steer auction, buy reserve grand champion

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News, Champagne Cowgirls,Lesha Elsenbrook, March 2014gg Ring, Ellie Francisco, March 2014
Lesha Elsenbrook, Ellie Francisco, Susan Krohn and Carol Linn. Photo by Kim Coffman
News, Champagne Cowgirls,DeeDee Marsh, Kelli, March 2014gg Ring, Ellie Francisco, March 2014
Deedee Marsh, from left, Kelley Lubanko and Kelli Weinzierl. Photo by Kim Coffman
News, Champagne Cowgirls, Phlip Bahr, Denise Bush Bahr, March 2014
Philip Bahr and Denise Bush Bahr. Photo by Kim Coffman
News, Champagne Cowgirls,Wallis Marsh, March 2014gg Ring, Ellie Francisco, March 2014
Wallis Marsh, from left, Dan Tutcher, John Weinzierl and Mike Linn. Photo by Kim Coffman
News, Champagne Cowgirls, Denise Monteleone, March 2014gg Ring, Ellie Francisco, March 2014
Denise Monteleone, from left, Lesha Elsenbrook and Gaye Lynn Zarrow. Photo by Kim Coffman
News, Champagne Cowgirls, Gregg Ring, Ellie Francisco, March 2014
Gregg Ring, from left, Ellie and Michael Francisco and Joseph Francisco. Photo by Kim Coffman
News, Champagne Cowgirls, Susan Krohn, March 2014
Susan Krohn, from left, Lori Krohn, Phillip Sarofim and Denise Monteleone. Photo by Kim Coffman
News, Champagne Cowgirls, Elizbeth Stein, Kim Tutcher, March 2014gg Ring, Ellie Francisco, March 2014
Elizabeth Stein, left, and Kim Tutcher. Photo by Kim Coffman
News, Champagne Cowgirls, Susan Krohn, Kristina Somerville, March 2014gg Ring, Ellie Francisco, March 2014
Susan Krohn, left, and Kristina Somerville. Photo by Kim Coffman
News, Champagne Cowgirls,the buying crowd, March 2014
Champagne Cowgirls and their compadres celebrate their purchase. Photo by Kim Coffman
News, Champagne Cowgirls,Lesha Elsenbrook, March 2014gg Ring, Ellie Francisco, March 2014
News, Champagne Cowgirls,DeeDee Marsh, Kelli, March 2014gg Ring, Ellie Francisco, March 2014
News, Champagne Cowgirls, Phlip Bahr, Denise Bush Bahr, March 2014
News, Champagne Cowgirls,Wallis Marsh, March 2014gg Ring, Ellie Francisco, March 2014
News, Champagne Cowgirls, Denise Monteleone, March 2014gg Ring, Ellie Francisco, March 2014
News, Champagne Cowgirls, Gregg Ring, Ellie Francisco, March 2014
News, Champagne Cowgirls, Susan Krohn, March 2014
News, Champagne Cowgirls, Elizbeth Stein, Kim Tutcher, March 2014gg Ring, Ellie Francisco, March 2014
News, Champagne Cowgirls, Susan Krohn, Kristina Somerville, March 2014gg Ring, Ellie Francisco, March 2014
News, Champagne Cowgirls,the buying crowd, March 2014

With their trademark interlocking "CC"s horseshoes on their silver hatbands and exhibiting their usual flourish of stylish western wear, the Champagne Cowgirls once again landed in the top ranks of buyers at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Junior Market Steer Auction on Saturday.

For the third time they pooled enough of funds (all private, no corporate) to buy the Reserve Grand Champion steer at Reliant Center for a cool $210,000. This was the third time that the tightly-knit Cowgirls had bought the reserve champion. In 2012 they were high bidders on the grand champion and had their eye on that trophy again.

This year, however, they were out-gunned by the Ed Lester/Chris Bruegger group, which made the $400,000 winning bid for the grand champion after the Cowgirls had made their final bid of $385,000.

The ladies in the fancy suedes and tons of silver and turquoise jewlery had enough change in their deep pockets, after picking up the reserve grand champion, to come in as top bidders for four more steers. They were helped along in the finances by pals Carol and Mike Linn, DeeDee and Wallis Marsh, the Kim and Dan Tutcher family and Kelli Weinzierl. And there were the Cowgirls' husbands — known as the Corkscrews — who also padded their buying power.

The Champagne Cowgirls was formed six years ago when the rodeo's Steer Committee decided it needed more female involvement. Committee member Michael Francisco and his wife, Ellie Francisco, developed the concept that originated with 10 Cowgirls.

"We decided to buy only in the steer auction," Ellie Francisco explained via email. "We wanted them to have some lady power and to support the work required by the kids that show. The dedication dealing with raising the steers is a work ethic we want to support."

The highly-social and philanthropically-involved buying team is limited to 20 members with a current membership of 18. "We get together throughout the year and meet to discuss strategy," Francisco adds. "We are all good friends and support each other in our other community endeavors."

In addition to those already mentioned, membership includes Denise Monteleone, Susan Krohn, Denise Bush Bahr, Darlene Bisso, Donna Bruni, Lesha Elsenbrook, Kelley Lubanko, Bobbie Nau, Beth Madison, Shelley Reeves, Kristina Somerville, Elizabeth Stein and Gaye Lynn Zarrow.

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