Exclusive: Sneak peek inside the most over-the-top rodeo Bar-B-Que contest tent
The wildly anticipated return of the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo coupled with its 90th anniversary celebration means it’s time to go big and over-the-top. And few are doing it bigger and more over-the-top than Houston-based Cotton Holdings, Inc., which is unveiling its Cotton ‘Q Club tent in time for the annual World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contest.
As the title sponsor for the contest, the disaster relief company helmed by CEO Pete Bell (a true Houston cowboy himself) is sparing no expense for its tent, which could be described as “elegant Western” and spans nearly 9,000 square feet. CultureMap reached out to Cotton Holdings for some insider information on this VIP experience that opens Thursday, February 24 to an invite-only crowd.
“The World’s Championship Bar-B-Que contest has always been one of my favorite parts of the rodeo,” Bell tells CultureMap. “We wanted to create a space where our guests could easily create new rodeo memories featuring outstanding food from our Cotton Culinary team and incredible decor, like seven-foot mosaic horses with floral saddles and antler chandeliers covered in pearls overhead. Each detail was designed to be a talking piece, and we can’t wait to partake in the lasting memories with our rodeo family this weekend.”
As guests enter, they’ll be greeted by what Cotton Holdings brass describes as a “champagne cowboy” vibe, one inspired (in part) by the iconic Ralph Lauren Polo Club in New York City, among others.
That means a posh, equestrian theme, replete with a green velvet tufted bar, polo helmets, plaid flooring, and those aforementioned seven-foot horses named Turner and Troy. To that Ralph-Lauren-inspired end, guests will walk onto tony plaid flooring, surrounded by navy blue drapes, wood paneling, and leather accents.
Adding to the clubby feel, wood panel walls will be framed by vintage photos of cowboys, taxidermy heads straight from Bell’s ranch, and a splash of scenic paintings. Visitors who sidle up to the 50-foot bar will be met by a wall full of whiskey decanters; looking up, ornate crystal and antler chandeliers again speaks to the rustic-meets-regal theme.
Further elevating the look, the tent will be adorned with blossoming flowers, including two saddles made of fresh roses. Even the napkins, cocktail stirrers, and matchboxes are on-theme.
Naturally, this “champagne cowboy” je ne sais quoi wouldn’t be complete without a signature cocktail. Revelers can sip on the Champagne Cowboy cocktails while they rock out to the headlining act (shhh) and take the Bar-B-Cue contest in an epic, Texas-sized extreme.
Cotton Holdings has even managed to secure a Grammy-nominated musical act to perform — attendees will have to wait for the surprise announcement, so mum's the word, but expect a crowd inside the tent and those outside snapping Instagram pics.