Real deal cowboys and cowgirls made our annual apparel photo shoot a huge success.

ch 0516 WesternHeritClassic IMG 9145Shooting the truck scene with the guys from the Spade Ranch. Photo by Christine Hamilton.

By Kathryn Barkey

Our annual fall fashion photoshoot took place during the Western Heritage Classic in Abilene, Texas. This event was the perfect backdrop, with real working cowboys from prestigious Texas ranches such as the Four Sixes, Spades and Pitchfork Land and Cattle.

Interestingly, the Western Heritage Classic has its own culture of Western fashion that might surprise those unfamiliar with the event. Women walk around in amazing custom boots, turquoise squash blossoms, and plenty of fringe in the latest boho-Western fashion.

Even though it was May, our team was there to shoot the latest fall styles for Western Horseman’s September apparel issue. Out came the wool coats, wild rags, felt hats, and jackets during a couple of sunny days in Abilene. It got a little warm, to say the least.

ch 0516 WesternHeritClassic IMG 9069The gals at Western Horseman: Associate Editor Katie Frank (left), Marketing Director Lizzie Iwersen and Fashion Editor Kathryn Barkey (far right) pose with model Cameron Baldus (second from right). Photo by Christine Hamilton.

This year’s fashion shoot also featured a couple interesting characters, including Jason Pelham (whom I dubbed “Mustache”), who manages the Spade Ranches’ division in Canadian, Texas. You might recognize him as our cover boy from December 2009. Pelham’s quick cowboy humor brought a lot of laughs to the set. He also seemed to have keys to the Western Heritage Classic itself, because Pelham took care of almost anything we needed—whether it was arranging my coveted shot at the horse sale in action, getting the entire Spade Ranch crew to stand still, or providing a “Big Orange” or two when it got a little warm.

160513 wh classic 020Spade Ranch cowboy Jason Pelham (left) and model and horseman Ben Baldus (right) start their morning off in front of Homer Robertson’s chuckwagon. Photo by Ross Hecox.

Other guest stars included Ben Baldus and his wife, Cameron. Ben was the head horse trainer at the Waggoner Ranch, and now he trains and shows in reining and reined cow horse events. He also achieved the 2014 AQHA World Championship in Versatility Ranch Horse. Ben and Cameron’s training facility is located in Bowie, Texas. Cameron might be a familiar face to many in the horse industry. She is not only an accomplished horseman, but has modeled for the NRS clothing and horse supply catalog for several years. She has also worked for other prestigious Western brands such Double D Ranch and Justin Boots.

160513 wh classic 545Ben and Cameron Baldus enjoy the nightly entertainment. Photo by Ross Hecox.

The theme of this year’s fashion shoot centered around actual events that take place at the Western Heritage Classic, from the horse sale and chuck wagon cook-off, to the popular match races. A few of my favorite fashion items coming out this fall are premium denim from Kimes Ranch, Cinch, and Wrangler jeans. There is also a great selection of boots this fall from Twisted X, Roper/Stetson, and Justin Boots featuring exotic hides and different toe shapes.

160514 wh classic 563One of the main attractions is the horse sale, which made for a perfect backdrop. Later in the day, this 3-year-old gelding sold for $8,500. Photo by Ross Hecox.

ch 0516 WesternHeritClassic IMG 9228One time the set crew doubled as extras for the shot. Fashion Editor Kathryn Barkey (right), model Cameron Baldus (center) and Marketing Director Lizzie Iwersen hang out during the match races. Photo by Christine Hamilton.

New for men this fall is the Double R line from Resistol, a line of affordable work shirts for the ranch or farm in an assortment of great looking plaids, and all shirts retail for $39.99. For the women, I am especially excited about a new line from Rodeo Quincy by Wrangler in the form of denim shirts, jackets, and skirts. They have an amazing fit and feel with a slight stretch so they stay structured and wrinkle free. The best part is they are very figure flattering! Be sure to keep a look out for this line as well. These fall items are available at Western retailers near you, including Teskey’s in Weatherford, Texas. Our friends at Teskey’s provided many of the accessories in our fashion shoot, including the Yeti tumblers, BEX Sunglasses, belts, and handbags.

ch 0516 WesternHeritClassic IMG 9146Marketing Director Lizzie Iwersen puts on the final touches before the shot. Photo by Christine Hamilton. 

ch 0516 WesternHeritClassic IMG 9217Editor in Chief Ross Hecox receives the final approval on a photo from Fashion Editor Kathryn Barkey. Photo by Christine Hamilton.

ch 0516 WesternHeritClassic IMG 9237The crew enjoys the match races after two days of shooting. Photo by Christine Hamilton.

We hope you enjoy these behind-scene-shots from the event and from the Western fashion photo shoot. Look for the full spread in the September 2016 issue. 

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