Spur of the Moment

The Rodeo’s Finest Wares

Becoming a vendor at the rodeo is a much-coveted and difficult-to-achieve prize. Here are our editor’s favorites.

By Amber Ambrose February 2, 2014 Published in the February 2014 issue of Houstonia Magazine

Ginger Jo Sklavos, who owns a gallery in the Heights, makes custom leather crafts, fashionable cowboy hats, and Native American–style jewelry.

Image: Audra Oden

Becoming a vendor at the Rodeo is a much-coveted and difficult-to-achieve prize. Each year, roughly 300 of them descend on Houston from around the country, peddling everything from horse trailers to camouflage lingerie. Needless to say, once they finally get their feet in the stalls they tend to stick around for years—after all, for many, Rodeo Houston is the most lucrative annual event. 

Real-Deal Cowboy Goods

Choo Choo Ropes

A favorite of professionals and amateurs alike, the colorful ropes sold by this family-owned business are hauled to Houston each year from tiny Gridley, Kansas.

Western Tradition

This Wyoming-based vendor shapes its cowboy hats with a steamer. The craftsmanship on display is stunning and comes with a corresponding price tag—as much as $600.

The Boot Store

These intricate handmade specimens—made of kangaroo, calf, goat, bison, shark, caiman, ostrich, python, and lizard—are the real deal, although at around $400 to $900, they don’t come cheap. 


Tribe America

Lamb and deerskin leather jackets, vests, and accessories are the main attraction of this Arizona-based outfit. Designer and fifth-generation tailor Gus Lewkowicz has dressed the likes of Brooks and Dunn, Reba McEntire, and Tanya Tucker. 

Ann’s Turquoise

Native American–inspired apparel is the specialty of this Topeka-based boutique, which offers turquoise, of course, but also leather jackets, vests, embroidered shirts, and chic bohemian/Southwestern dresses.


The Family Jewels of Texas

Ginger Jo Sklavos, who owns a gallery in the Heights, makes custom leather crafts, fashionable cowboy hats, and Native American–style jewelry.

Cowgirl Glitter

Carol Christian has been selling eye-catching belts full of bling, as well as sequin-adorned vests, caps, cuffs, and bowties, for over 20 years.

Carroll’s at the Houston Rodeo

Carroll’s sets up shop but once a year, exclusively for the Houston Rodeo. Offering novelty belt buckles and figurines, the family-run business of over 40 years is one of the few vendors that sells cowboy hats under $100.

Home Decor

Magnolia Decoratives

This is the Rodeo’s go-to shop for decorative steer skulls and Southwestern-style wreaths.

Creekside Country Enterprises

Chandeliers made from antlers, home furnishings constructed of wagon wheels, and creatively reimagined tractor seats are this vendor’s specialty.

Slick Rock Designs

What better way to set off those antler chandeliers than with custom leather furniture?

Show Comments