I glide into my neighbor’s gameroom wearing the best Clint Eastwood glare I can muster up. I tip my stetson all around and mutter “Howdy Punk…!” in my best Eastwood impersonation. Laughs abound. A good friend shouts, “Since when is Dirty Harry a cowboy?” O-K, so I got a little mixed up. The important thing is that I’m dressed for the part at a cowboy-themed party.
The first misconception to clear up regarding a cowboy party is that they are just for kids. The second misconception is that a cowboy party will only be successful if you have horses on hand. Neither proposal is correct. A cowboy party can be organized whether you live in the country or the city. It’s all a matter of creating the right atmosphere and getting all your guests in the right mindset. Now I was only a guest at this shindig, but I’ve made the following assumptions regarding a cowboy party:
Probably the most important ingredient when organizing a cowboy party is to make sure your location reflects the wild, wild West! Not everyone will have the good fortune to have a barn at their disposal, so make sure you dress up your basement or living room to look the part! For starters how about red and white checked table clothes, some western music on the stereo and above all some western food. All that’s left is to make sure all your guests show at the cowboy party dressed for the occasion. That means – at the very least – blue jeans, cowboy boots, checkered shirts and wide brim hats. Try having everyone speak with a country accent for an added effect. If you can coordinate the music, the food, and the dress than you’re on you’re way for a cowboy party that will be fun and most of all memorable!
As far as food goes, what is more western than baked beans! Keep those windows open! A Bar-B-Q can really enhance your cowboy party. Although in general, guests don’t come for the food per se, a theme occasion like a cowboy party practically screams for ribs and beans, corn bread and steaks. And if your invitations reflect that everyone bring a covered dish that reflects a western motif, you’ll be surprised at the variety of food you have on hand to please your guests.
And speaking of guests, invitations are important. You can make pretty interesting ones in the shape of a horse shoe or a small pistol. Like any occasion though, get those puppies in the mail early so you know who is coming. Nothing worse than organizing a cowboy party, and having no one show up.
Finally the activities. It goes without saying that a cowboy party will showcase square-dancing or the two-step. If you have plenty of room at your disposal, consider some other old west favorites: horse shoes (but please don’t play this in your living room), climbing a greased pole (that is, if you have an 18 foot pole on hand that you can grease) or a sack race. Notice how a western-themed party has been all mapped out for you, and not once did we mention to need to have a horse on hand! Other popular ideas include a “quick draw” contest with water-pistols, or a game of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey. “Best imitation of John Wayne” is another favorite. That is, if your guests are old enough to remember just who John Wayne is! Either way, you’ll find that many of these activities are more fun with adults than with children.
Now, if you have lots of room, and if you have real horses, than your cowboy party is going to be all the better, as your guests enjoy a ride on a real horse or a hay ride. The kids especially will enjoy a chance to ride a pony. The grown-ups will enjoy it as well. Another great contest at a cowboy party is a timed race to see who can get their saddle on the horse first. Or who can hop on the horse and ride bareback! And by the way, don’t forget to have lots of hay lying around as well.
So there you have it, pardner – all the ingredients for a successful cowboy party. The only thing missing is a gunfight at the OK Corral!