2005 Presidential Inaugural and the
Texas Black Tie & Boots Ball
2005 U.S. Presidential Inauguration Event and the Texas State Society’s
Black Tie & Boots Ball
D. A. Sharpe
It’s a pleasure of mine to recall how God has shown favor in our family’s lives, especially enabling us to cross paths with some interesting people. These stories are shared with you, hopefully just for your entertainment. You can put them aside, until you need something to read to put you to sleep!
This story is about the 2005 Presidential Inaugural occasion of the Black Tie and Boots Ball, conducted by the Texas State Society of Washington D.C. The Texas Society is a non-partisan social and fellowship organization intended to have its venue in the Washington DC area, specifically for the people residing in DC for work or politics, who are from Texas! It’s also for Texas residents who have occasions to visit DC with some frequency. For that reason, Suzanne and I are dues-paying members of the Texas Society of Washington D.C. Their events usually are quarterly. My serving an elective position of Chairman of the Wise County Republican Party 2000-2008, and Suzanne’s serving a term as President of the Wise Republican Women are part of the reasons for our original connection with the Texas Society.
There are a couple dozen so-called Presidential Inaugural Balls, all of which meet on the evening of January 20 every four years, following the inauguration of the President at noon that day. They each are sponsored by a particular state or sometimes smaller states will go together to sponsor jointly, maybe as many as four states.
The Texas State Society’s Black Tie & Boots Ball is always on January 19, which gets a jump ahead of the celebrating crowds. All the Balls are formal affairs, calling for tuxedos, and evening gowns, etc. The Texas Black Tie & Boots is different, in that you are supposed to wear your formal attire WITH cowboy boots and cowboy hats, both preferably black in color for formal sartorial splendor. That year, we’d ordered two pair of custom made matching cowboy boots at the Texas State Fair, just for this Presidential occasion.
All the other balls that Suzanne and I have attended over the years are pretty much the same format. Formal attire with a band playing, people dancing, and finger food for guests as they mill around to visit. The President makes a token visit to all the Balls, and makes a brief five-minute address to the revelers.
The Texas Black Tie & Boots Ball is far different. Besides what is described for the other Balls that does take place, the Texas folks have a set of displays and exhibits of Texas commercial and cultural life. It is much like going through an exhibit building at the Texas State Fair. Also, if the new President is inclined to spend a little more time with the Texas folks, there are no other Balls that evening to consume the time. As in this case, President Bush did spend a generous amount of time with us,
The other Inaugural Balls charge around $150-$175 for tickets. The Texas Ball goes for $250 each. Only the members of the Texas Society of Washington DC may purchase tickets to that Ball. Additionally, they all are purchased online or by phone to their office in DC. There will be a set date and time, such as 8:00 AM CST, when purchasing begins, and the 5,000 or so tickets usually sell out by noon or in the afternoon! Each Society member may purchase up to four tickets, maximum. Another facet of this activity is that there is no prohibition against re-selling the tickets for whatever price they can bear.
In 2005, when President George W. Bush was going in for his second term, Suzanne and I were making plans again for the Ball. That year, the male member from the State of Texas with his seat on the National Republican Party Executive Committee (a male and female elected from each state) knew of our membership, and asked if we’d buy two tickets for him and his wife. Bill Crocker is his name, and he is an attorney situated in Austin.
As the schedule went for me that day, administrative duties at work prevented me from phoning our order for the four tickets till about 1:30 PM. Of course, they’d just finished selling the last of the 5,000 tickets before the call!
I told Bill Crocker he’d have to be on his own for tickets and that we both would need to purchase them on the “open market.” This was in October. I watched the rumors about for how much these open market tickets selling, higher and higher as time passed. Approaching the January date, they were selling for $800 to $1,000 each! We were prepared to pay $250 each or maybe a little more, but not the high end. We’d stay home for the evening instead!
In 2004, Representative Kay Granger, the Congressional member representing our home district, had been elected to serve as the Texas State Society’s President for 2005. As Society President, she would be the Master of Ceremonies for the Black Tie & Boots Ball, introducing the President. That being the case, I contacted her Fort Worth office to ask whether they could be instrumental in helping me find suitable tickets for the Ball. They said they’d try, but a couple of days before we were to leave for DC, they said, with great sadness, they were unable to identify any tickets for us! However, they said to check with Granger’s DC office staff.
After arriving in DC, my call to Granger’s office revealed that they could get two tickets for us, and they made an appointment for us to come to the Congressional Office. With great joy and excitement, Suzanne and I boarded the Metro, and headed for the Capitol area. There was no mention made by Granger’s staff about the price of these tickets. My thoughts were that we did not want to pay $1,000 each, and it would be embarrassing to turn down tickets that supposedly had been a challenge for them to acquire!
On top of that, as we were riding on the Metro, it came to my attention that I’d left my checkbook back at our lodging quarters! Now the sweat really was coming down on my face (right in the cold of winter). The utter embarrassment to be faced by saying we’d have to owe them, because we couldn’t pay, was scary! How about asking your Congressional Office staff to accept your IOU?
We arrived at Granger’s office, and the staff rolled out the red carpet. We were given a thorough tour of their offices, and had a very cordial visit. Soon, it was time to ask for the tickets. As I mentioned that, one staff person quickly said to wait a minute, and left the room.
When she came back, she handed two cherished tickets to me and said, “Here they are, compliments of Kay Granger!”
I should have broken out into a dance, giving praise to God! It is rare that such a feeling of blessing and good favor has been unexpectedly shed upon us just when it was expected to face embarrassment! Praise God!
Here is some photographic display of our good time at the Texas Society’s 2005 Black Tie & Boots Ball! These folks mostly are from Texas!
(L to R) Michelle Cohen (our DC host), TX Cindy Prator (Texas), Heather Pfundstein (Virginia)
Kay Bailey Hutchison, & we Sharpes. Michelle
Cohen (DC) & Alisha Hanson (Maryland)
Alisha’s husband is a lateral relation to the 1st
US President, George Washington.
Here, President Bush addresses the Black Tie & Boots Ball. Our CD 12 Congressional Representative Kay Granger (L) had just introduced her good friend, George! Lynn Chaney & Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison are on the right.
This is RNC Texas Committeeman Bill Crocker who had to be “on his own” for Black Tie & Boots Ball Tickets!
And, here’s a photo from the Presidential Inauguration Parade that day!
“Hey, Laura! There’s D. A. & Suzanne over there!”
Here we were with Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison at the Black Tie & Boots Ball! My wife, Suzanne, was on Kay’s Dallas County Election Committee for her original bid for U.S. Senatorial office. That was in a special election in the spring of 1993.
D. A. Sharpe
805 Derting Road East
Aurora, TX 76078-3712
Composed August, 2014