CASE STUDY: Good Eats

There’s nothing quite like the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, the world’s largest livestock exhibition and live entertainment event. The massive event held in downtown Houston each spring boasts 20 days of rodeos, concerts, pig racing, shopping, livestock auctions and more. In 2013, the event hosted over 2 million people and almost 30,000 volunteers.

Before the official start of the event, a pre-party of over 300 teams convenes for the three-day World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contest. Barbecue connoisseurs from across the state go head-to-head to cook the tastiest meal, and attendees enjoy delicious food and dancing.

For the past several years, Jane Swanzy, owner of Houston-based Swan Marketing LLC and a long-time show volunteer, has embroidered aprons for Half-Fast Cookers, one of the competing teams. Tuan “Tuna” Nguyen had decided to resurrect his father-in-law’s cook-off team, and as a fellow volunteer, knew about Swanzy’s embroidery work.

“They came to me asking if I would decorate their items,” says Swanzy. “In exchange for my decorating, I’m an official team sponsor, so I get free food and drink during cook-off time. Their primary objective was to look professional on a small budget.”

Swanzy took the team’s original 1970s logo, and continues to embroider it on button-down shirts as well as Port Authority full-length aprons (A500) each year.

For the aprons, she sticks with black for one basic reason: “There is no way they can keep from getting barbeque sauce on their clothes.