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1990s Country Music Makes a Glorious Comeback at a Fort Worth Rodeo Party Like No Other — The Grand Entry Gala Keeps the Fun Rolling

The Junior League of Fort Worth Knows How to Throw a Memorable Bash

BY // 01.25.23
photography Canon Elizabeth Photography

Fort Worth loves the rodeo. Every January, rodeo season arrives with the annual Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo. For the past 10 years, the Junior League of Fort Worth has ushered in this much beloved time in Cowtown with the Grand Entry Gala. This is no ordinary gala with it taking place on Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum’s arena floor.

Instead of ball gowns and tuxes, guests opt for their finest boots, hats and Western flair like only true Fort Worth folks can.

Adding to the fun, fans of 1990s Country were delighted to see Tracy Byrd, Mark Chesnutt and Neal McCoy take the stage as this year’s featured entertainers. The three country artists performed together, singing each other’s greatest hits. Wonderful memories and hilarious banter ensued. It all had partygoers dancing the night away, two-stepping on a packed dance floor.

Katie and Stephen Howard at the Junior League of Fort Worth Grand Entry Gala. Photo by Canon Elizabeth Photography
Katie and Stephen Howard at the Junior League of Fort Worth Grand Entry Gala. Photo by Canon Elizabeth Photography

Grand Entry Gala event chairs Pamela Gilchrist and Gwen Harper planned a perfectly cowboy chic affair. They accented the rodeo arena with neon signs and rhinestones as far as the eye could see. Martha and Wilson Franklin of bootmaker M.L. Leddy’s served as honorary chairs. They celebrated the Fort Worth Rodeo and the 100th anniversary of the legendary bootmaker. Among the neon, you could spot the famous Leddy’s boot sign, on loan for the evening in all of its iconic style.

Thanks to Grand Champion presenting sponsor Gilchrist Automotive, the party was a huge success, drawing 850 guests. Cocktails flowed alongside a delicious Texas dinner catered by Reata.

Best of all, proceeds from the Grand Entry Gala benefit the Junior League of Fort Worth community projects. This year’s beneficiaries include ACH Child and Family Services, Daniel Migael, Girls on the Run, Lena Pope, Con Mi Madre, The Welman Project, Meals on Wheels of Tarrant County and Tarrant Area Food Bank.

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Partygoers kicked up their heels at the Junior League of Fort Worth Grand Entry Gala. (Photo by Canon Elizabeth Photography)
Partygoers kicked up their heels at the Junior League of Fort Worth Grand Entry Gala. (Photo by Canon Elizabeth Photography)

Another successful Grand Entry Gala means that the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo is once again in full swing. From the looks of the smiling cowboys and cowgirls around town, this is going to be another banner year for the Fort Worth tradition.

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