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Thursday, December 9, 2004
TICKETS HARD TO COME
FOR BLACK TIE AND BOOTS BALL
WASHINGTON -- Wannabe cowboys and cowgirls aiming to amble into the Black Tie and Boots Ball -- the hottest shindig surrounding the second inauguration of President Bush -- had better beware of tickets that are really hot.
"I would caution people trying to buy tickets off the
Such is the clamor to attend this quadrennial "celebration of all things Texan," which nowadays includes the president and first lady of the
George W. and Laura Bush are expected to be among the 10,000 or so guests who will come to dance the two-step, dine on barbecued beef brisket and listen to Lyle Lovett, Asleep at the Wheel, Clay Walker, Dexter Freebish and other acts that hail from that blessed land between the
The attendance limit was set by the fire marshal, said Shute, so the event at the Wardman Park Marriott Hotel has been accidently oversold. That's one reason why tickets with a face value of $125 are being advertised on the
The Bush twins -- Jenna and Barbara -- are likely to be there, along with Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife, Lynne, most of the Texas congressional delegation (it's a bipartisan event), Miss Texas (Jamie Story), the high-stepping Kilgore Rangerettes and every lobbyist in the nation's capital who can wrangle a ticket and borrow a Stetson.
will be Lone Star and Shiner Bock beer at the open bars to go along with
buffet tables laden with Tex-Mex cuisine, Holmes Brothers sausage, Gulf
of Mexico shrimp, cobbler, the aforementioned Texas beef, Heritage Pies
from Jasper, Texas, and other down-home delicacies.
such homesickness is the foundation of this occasion.
society currently has about 5,000 members, said Shute.
Every summer, the group gathers at LBJ Park to commemorate the birthday of the former president. His daughter, Lynda Bird Johnson, was the society's Cherry Blossom Princess in 1962. The Texas State Society hosts an annual reception for members of Congress, a Father's Day picnic, a chilli cook-off, a golf tournament and a Terlingua Two-Step Dance.
And -- beginning in 1981 when the elder George Bush began his first term as Ronald Reagan's vice president -- the Texas State Society has hosted its Black Tie and Boots Ball on the eve of the presidential inauguration.
"It's completely non-partisan. We hold it regardless of who wins," said Shute. Indeed, the turn-out was larger in 1993 when Bill Clinton, a Democrat from Arkansas, replaced the the first President George Bush, a Texas Republican, than it had been when Bush took office four years earlier, he said.
However, Texans do feel a kinship with a president who is one of their own. The allotment of tickets for society members sold out in less than an hour after the notice was posted on its Web site. Other tickets were reserved for sponsors, dignitaries and elected officials. Among the corporations that paid $50,000 apiece to sponsor the ball are the American Chemistry Council; energy company BP America; and drug manufacturer Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.
About 50 vendors from across the state will sell wares ranging from pecan pies to cowboy boots at a Texas Fair on the lower level of the hotel.
"We've got dance floors in front of every stage," said Shute. "Typically we're wrangling up folks and shutting them down after the official closing at 2 a.m."
Bob Dart's e-mail address is bobdart(at)coxnews.com.