Guest Columns

Stylin’ at Citizen of the West

GUEST COLUMNIST

Lynne Cheney, former Second Lady of the United States, was first in the hearts of National Western Scholarship Trust supporters as she was honored as the 2012 Citizen of the West at a celebratory dinner Jan. 9 on the grounds of Denver’s annual western extravaganza. Her husband Dick Cheney, former vice president, had already been bestowed the honor in 1992. The award is given annually to a person or couple who represents the spirit and values of the West’s heritage. Monies raised at the dinner will fund about 750 scholarships for students studying agriculture at schools in Colorado and Wyoming.

Nancy Petry, co-chair of the 2010 Citizen of the West dinner steering committee, was fashionably chic this year, wearing a 150 year-old antique turquoise Navajo bracelet to the Jan. 9 event.
Photo by Marie Griffin Dennis/The Colorado Statesman

Ok. Enough about ranching and agriculture, which we know are important industries in the state. Style Matters showed up for the cocktail hour to see who represented the spirit and values of fashion and style. Were there any new fashion trends in the world of western wear? To be honest, not much changes in this genre. Once you’ve got your boots, your fancy belt buckle, and a cowboy hat, its pretty much of a guarantee you will be in style for years.

The dual personification of rugged western good looks, Tom Kourlis, Citizen of the West in 2009, and Hank True, Citizen of the West in 2003, both choose to wear bolos. True explains that his VR bolo (see below) was in recognition of his VR ranch in Wyoming.
Photo by Marie Griffin Dennis/The Colorado Statesman

Although Cheney was surprisingly understated in a simple red blazer and black slacks, 800 of her friends, family and supporters got all gussied up in her honor. Most men were in suits but fashionably sported their favorite bolo ties. Women dug out their furs from storage and slung them over long skirts, fringed vests and boots. It must have been a relief to trade in those 4-inch dressy sandals that are in style now for a pair of comfy, broken-in cowboy boots.


Photo by Marie Griffin Dennis/The Colorado Statesman

Plenty of squash blossom necklaces adorned the necks of some of Colorado’s most elegant community volunteers. Dazzling turquoise and silver jewelry, some with interesting provenances, were on display in abundance. Nancy Petry, left, widow of Nick Petry, a past Citizen of the West recipient, donned a 150 year-old antique turquoise Navajo bracelet, clearly embracing the Western sartorial spirit.

Black and white flowered Dan Post boots worn by Michele Falivene are a welcome change from the standard cowboy stompers.
Photo by Marie Griffin Dennis/The Colorado Statesman

What was especially heartening to see was how handsome and happy the couples looked. One of their own was deservedly being recognized and much pride filled the cavernous event center. Who knew agriculture could be so much fun?

Lorraine Bebout, wife of Wyoming state Senator Eli Bebout, makes quite a dramatic entrance in a flowing turquoise cape with matching turquoise python boots her husband had thoughtfully given her for Christmas.
Photo by Marie Griffin Dennis/The Colorado Statesman

Judie Schwartz, whose Style Matters columns appear in The Colorado Statesman, is the co-author of two best-selling books on the best places to shop in Colorado. Called “A Fashion-Lover’s Guide to the Best Shopping in Denver and Beyond,” the books are available at stylematters.us. Schwartz presents image seminars to corporations on the importance of a business casual wardrobe and entertains conventioneers with talks on how to look great on a budget. She is also a wardrobe consultant. Schwartz has one husband, three children, no pets and small closets.

Pete Coors dons a lovely silver and gold bolo tie that commemorated his involvement with the Young President’s Organization.
Photo by Marie Griffin Dennis/The Colorado Statesman
Judy Harper in a lamb fur and leather vest, a hot trend beginning to penetrate the western wear world.
Photo by Marie Griffin Dennis/The Colorado Statesman
Former Colorado Attorney General Duane Woodard wears one of the most unusual bolos — a beaded beauty made especially for him by the Ute Indians. (See below.)
Photo by Marie Griffin Dennis/The Colorado Statesman

Photo by Marie Griffin Dennis/The Colorado Statesman
Nancy Petry, co-chair of the dinner committee, honoree Lynne Cheney, Dick Scarlett, steering committee co-chair and his wife Maggie Scarlett, mistress of ceremonies pose for pictures.
Photo by Marie Griffin Dennis/The Colorado Statesman
Swaddled in a red fringed vest emblazoned with colorful appliques, Anita Becky completes her outfit with an Isabella Fiori handbag decorated with a matching horse head on the front.
Photo by Marie Griffin Dennis/The Colorado Statesman
Marilyn Coors shows off her squash blossom silver and turquoise necklace, a gift from her mother-in-law, Holly Coors. “My mother-in-law chose this necklace for me because she thought it fit my petite size. She bought herself a bigger one.” Mother-in-laws will do that.
Photo by Marie Griffin Dennis/The Colorado Statesman
Sharon Farr wears a painted black leather jacket embellished with turquoise lapel trimming. She tops off her ensemble with an intricate necklace made of turquoise, silver, tortoise and coral.
Photo by Marie Griffin Dennis/The Colorado Statesman
Husband Bill Farr outdoes every tie in the National Western Events Center with his bolo of an exact replica of a saddle made totally of silver.
Photo by Marie Griffin Dennis/The Colorado Statesman
Kendell Gardner, Miss Rodeo Deer Trail, wears a stunning red gown and matching hat. She was one of several rodeo pageant winners who helped out at the dinner.
Photo by Marie Griffin Dennis/The Colorado Statesman
An overview of this year’s Citizen of the West Dinner shows the enormity of the event, which benefitted the National Western Scholarship Trust.
Photo by Marie Griffin Dennis/The Colorado Statesman