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Pastel hats, bags fit for Kardashians take over Cowboy Christmas

Updated December 5, 2019 - 6:46 pm

After three hours of milling through aisle after aisle of hats, boots, saddles, housewares and horse supplies, Nancy and Larry Badura from Grand Island, Nebraska, took a break.

“There is so much to see,” said Nancy Badura. “We never even got upstairs.”

In its 34th year, Cowboy Christmas and its 300-plus exhibitors take over more than seven and a half football fields worth of space at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Square inches that aren’t harboring every imaginable kind of cowboy-inspired product make up walkways where thousands of locals and tourists shopped between this week’s National Finals Rodeo events.

This is the Baduras second year journeying with friends to Las Vegas for NFR — and their first year braving the Convention Center’s south halls.

“It’s kind of overwhelming!” Nancy Badura said.

On the bottom level, visitors shopped for fashion items such as leather boots, fringed handbags, hats in every imaginable design and embossed saddles for horses.

On the second level, visitors rested on bleachers, watched youth rodeo competition events and fitted younger family members for sporting gear such as protective vests.

In her fifth year at the event, Cathy Mott, from Paso Robles, California, brought her grandsons, aged 8 and 5, for the first time to shop for shoes and rope.

“You can walk around for hours and still not see everything,” Mott said.

Near the towering Christmas tree that marks the halfway point of the hall, visitors could be heard exclaiming to each other, “Wow, it’s still going,” and “I didn’t realize there was so much more!”

Handbags fit for a Kardashian

Near that Christmas tree is a photo montage of celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Kate Hudson, Selena Gomez and Taylor Swift wearing fringed handbags from Two Bar West.

The company, which exhibits every year at Cowboy Christmas, makes bags with cowhide, Italian leather and customizable straps that fit the cowgirl aesthetic.

Bags range from about $150 to $350, and neutral-colored bags can be paired with vibrant and studded straps.

“My sister Stacie and I started the company about 20 years ago in Texas,” Laurie McFadin said. “Our family raises goats, so our first bags were these carpet bags with goat hair. We got into leather and were so lucky that celebrities started carrying them.”

Custom boots

Tucked away amid countless racks of cowboy boots, a small shop constructed out of wooden paneling and warm lighting houses M.L. Leddy’s boots.

“Being custom boot makers, we can build whatever the customer wants,” said Mark Dunlap, vice president and general manager. “So whatever height they might want for riding purposes, or if they like it more from a fashion standpoint.”

The company has been showing at Cowboy Christmas for nearly 40 years.

Boots start at about $500, feature custom touches and are of higher quality than a basic boot, Dunlap said.

“Our boots are truly handmade,” Dunlap said. “They’re high quality and a little more upscale.”

Pastel cowgirl hats

Hats are the most prevalent items found at Cowboy Christmas. If you include cowboy hats worn by visitors, that figure nearly doubles. While they are available in every style a shopper could want — from pinched-front to flat brim — most are in a shade of gray or khaki.

Charlie 1 Horse debuted a new line of pastel, wool felt hats for the 2020 season, available in shades of pink, lilac and baby blue.

“Everybody has seen them, and they’re really hyped up about them,” said Kylee Hamilton, who does marketing for the brand. “The pastels are definitely going to do well.”

Contact Janna Karel at jkarel@reviewjournal.com. Follow @jannainprogress on Twitter.

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