A Texan Attempts To Get A Yankee Ready For RodeoHouston

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Photos By Christina Uticone
This past weekend I -- Craig Hlavaty -- took fellow Art Attack writer and New York native Christina Uticone on a trip to one of my most favorite shops in Houston, the Texas Junk Company, in anticipation of RodeoHouston season here in the Bayou City.

Located in the center of Montrose and owned by Robert Novotneys since 1979, the shop sells everything from vintage and ragged cowboy boots, pearl snap shirts, dusty vinyl, pop-culture artifacts, and enough authentic Lone Star State stank to make any Texan bow in reverence. I feel at home there.

The purpose of our trip was to get Christina ready for rodeo season, which will be her first here in the city since she moved here from Alaska. I figured that the Texas Junk Company was a good place to begin her journey, er, trail.

Craig: Now, you are new to the RodeoHouston thing, right?

Christina: Yes. I'm afraid that when I admit that I've been in Houston for three years and have yet to attend my first Rodeo that I'll lose my Texas card, but this is the year that I'll attend my first Rodeo. I want to dress up, but not look like I'm wearing a costume -- I also don't want to spend a billion dollars on fancy Rodeo duds.

Craig: First thing's first. You need to immerse yourself in all things rodeo for the whole month or so that the rodeo is here. That means music, clothing, decor, food, and even movies.

Well, I definitely need to start with music. We've got a lot of classic country on the iTunes, but I'm thinking an investment in some vinyl might really get me in the right headspace. As for movies, does this finally give me license to watch 8 Seconds in a continuous loop? Or maybe I should go with something a little more classic, like the old cowboy movies I used to watch with my dad when I came home drunk from the bar during college break.

The food--I'm pretty sure after I eat at the Rodeo I'm going to hate myself for all of the rodeos I didn't go to since moving to Houston. We've got some of the decor covered--my husband is a geologist, so there's no shortage of cool looking bones around here--and maybe instead of hanging on to those "I'll-be-skinny-enough-to-wear-them-soon" jeans I've been hanging on to, I can make some throw pillows.

But my No. 1 must-have, WANT IT item is a sweet shirt with pearl snaps, which I've only found in size extra-giant so far.

Craig: Yes, and that is why I took you to the Texas Junk Company. Sadly, that one amazing shirt we saw with the rabbits doesn't come in my size or your size.

The important thing with pearl snap shirts is to go for traditional, so you can wear them year round. The loud Garth Brooks type western shirts are just....they should all be burned. Sorry, GB, but your shirts sucked.

The shirts at Texas Junk can range from $10 to $20 depending on the condition of the material. Jean jackets are always on sale as well. Get one and turn it into a vest for the summertime.

Make sure you look for authentic cigarette burns when seeking out a great pearl snap shirt too. The old men who wore them got careless quite a bit. That shows they have extra character. The length of them should also be taken into consideration. Those extra long tails can turn a great shirt into a dress on some people. And whatever you do, take care when wearing them right out of the (OUCH) clothes (OUCH) dryer. Ever been branded on the belly a hot pearl snap? I still have scars.

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FattyFatBastard topcommenter

Good read.  My suggestion for food that I have to get every rodeo is a Turkey leg.  Then I head to a BBQ stand and snake a couple of jalapenos.  Combine the two and enjoy.  As for pearl snaps?  I don't think I've ever owned that.  You do need to snag a cool cowboy hat, though.  

As for movies, I don't think I've ever heard "How's your Whatachicken" sound more poetic than it does in 8 seconds, but to get your George Strait on, I'd suggest "Pure Country."  It's not only a complete slam on Garth Brooks, it also is a great George Strait soundtrack.  Put it in your Netflix queue.



Replay on 19th has the best selection of vintage pearl snaps in the city, but to really stock up, you need to stock up while you're in Austin. Even better if you stop through Round Top on the way.

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