American Royal Tablescape

I had a tough decision to make for September 18: start teaching my fall tablescaping classes or participate in the Kansas City American Royal’s Tablescapes Preview Party organized by the BOTARs (Belles of the American Royal). The tablescape event is a relatively new addition to the many activities associated with the annual 8-week American Royal, a Kansas City staple since 1899 that revolves around livestock, agriculture, and Kansas City world-famous barbecue. (Don’t let that description fool you…there’s a WHOLE LOTTA ritzy stuff goin’ on over those 8 weeks, including an Arabian Horse Show, the UPHA National Championship, a Wine Competition/Tasting/Auction, and a very swanky fundraising ball.) The preview party precedes the luncheon held the following day.

Anyhooooooooo, teaching won…sort of. I opted to create a country western/cowboy-themed tablescape right here in honor of the 113-year American Royal tradition as a part of the teaching experience. (Click on any photo to enhance/enlarge it. Photos by Sheri L. Grant)

I wanted to include as many natural and rustic elements as possible, so I chose to leave part of the wood table exposed beneath the layered denim and red bandanna table linens. Because the events of the American Royal are both “shabby” and “chic”, the bandanna fabric is allowed to stylishly puddle to the floor.

Each place setting starts with a natural grapevine wreath as a charger. A plain white round Corelle plate is the anchor piece of the dishes, followed by a Pier 1 navy blue square salad plate set on the diagonal, and topped off with a home-on-the-range-type brick red casserole from Home Goods. The Hampton Silversmith “Patriot – Mirror” flatware is given a rustic look with a simple bit of twine tied around it. The menus, printed on “Wanted poster paper” from Hobby Lobby, were created on my home computer.

Plain ol’ Mason jars serve as drinking glasses for the sarsaparilla on the menu. The place cards are created from menu paper remnants. I punched holes in each side, slipped a length of twine through the paper and then through holes in the horseshoes (TSC), tying them off in the back.

I had a lot of fun creating the centerpiece! Miniature hay bales act as risers. Super cool resin boots from Hobby Lobby serve as vases for roses dotted with blackbeard wheat. That’s where shabby meets chic once again. The boots are embellished with authentic spurs from Tractor Supply Company (TSC). Other centerpiece elements include rustic cast iron stars, a miniature “lasso”, and a few six-shooters.

“Well, where were the napkins?” you ask. Right there on the chairs tied around the straw cowboy hat favors!

The buffet behind the dining table is all ready for lots of western-style grub like Kansas City’s famous barbecue slathered in sauce. (I’m partial to smoky sweet taste Fiorella’s Jack Stack sauce, but debating that with folks around here will get you nowhere! :-)) Elements of hay bales, horse shoes, and twine are carried over to the buffet area. Food markers are created using more scraps of the “Wanted poster paper” used for the menus and place cards. A larger set of resin boots from Hobby Lobby filled with blackbeard wheat are placed on each end. Last, but never least, is “Cecil” who is one of our four personal butlers. 🙂 Cecil wanted to get in on the fun, so he added a bolo tie and black cowboy hat to his usually prim & proper uniform.

Extra cowboy hats are displayed on the sconce shelves.

My famous wooden horse has another chance to join the party! I am so grateful to my young friend, Chelsea Hudson from Pittsburg, KS, who so graciously lent her childhood saddle, a horse bit, a lasso (and other items that my citified self can’t identify! :-)) to me. These accessories successfully turned my horse (that I have used for Derby, carousel, R.A. Long Historical Society, and “looking a gift horse in the mouth” tablescaping) into a real rough and rowdy character!

My husband came home with a surprise for me: Texas longhorn cattle horns all polished up and wrapped in leather! Wow! These were on display in his late father’s home for a long time, and Ramon remembered they had been stored away. To soften the very masculine look of these massive horns, I added a raised bale of straw flanked by (faux) roses in tree bark-covered vases.

Those of you who have visited in the past are probably familiar with Geoffrey, our majordomo. Geoffrey never, ever misses a chance to play dress up, so he donned his dopey cowpoke hat and bandanna.

Some people call Kansas City a “cow town” like that’s a bad thing. Whatever! Have you seen the price of beef, leather and dairy products? Sounds like a gold mine to me! And that’s what the American Royal is all about: all the good things that constitute farming, agriculture, livestock, cowboy (and cowgirl!) fun, world-famous barbecue, posh events (why else would I wear a screamin’ red gown like this one?!!?) and, of course, the beef industry right here in good ol’ Kansas City, Mo.!

Maybe next year I can postpone classes until after the tablescape event at the American Royal! 🙂

Other posts on this site with a horse theme:
Carousel Colors
Kentucky Derby Buffet
Derby Day Dining
Run for the Roses” (scroll down the page to the end)

I am joining Cuisine Kathleen for “Let’s Dish!“, The Style Sisters for “Centerpiece Wednesday“, and Susan for “Tablescape Thursday” again this week. I’m sure there are tons of fabulous tables you would just love to see out there!!!

48 thoughts on “American Royal Tablescape

  1. I like this!


    Senator Yvonne S. Wilson (Retired)

    >________________________________ > From: Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One >To: >Sent: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 6:14 PM >Subject: [New post] American Royal Tablescape > > >Alycia Nichols posted: ” I had a tough decision to make for September 18: start teaching my fall tablescaping classes or participate in the Kansas City American Royal’s Tablescapes Preview Party organized by the BOTARs (Belles of the American Royal). The tablescape event is a r” >


  2. I love this “rootin rootin cowhand” motif! Your butler is such a sport and I hope he gets some well deserved rest. I don’t think there is a theme that you can’t put your style stamp on. Wishing you the best with your classes.


  3. Alycia~ Cowgirl Fun Indeed! You never fail to disappoint! What fun from the saddle, six-shooters, and of course Geoffrey! I love your grapevine wreath, horseshoe adorned mason jars and menu! I’d like some Annie Oakley Apple Cobbler right now! You look adorable in your hat & smashing in your gown 🙂


  4. I think you have created my favorite tablescape ! I am a big fan of the western look and the American Royal. My husband and I have participated in the BBQ contest as contestants and spectators and love it !


  5. Oh my goodness! You go all out girl! What a fun tablescape you created! You’ve got all the right elements- even a six shooter and a straw bale! The hats look cute all poised on their chairs! Even a pair of longhorns and a saddle! The American Royal events sound pretty amazing! You look so cute in your red dress!


  6. “Yee-Haw” Alycia…that is an unbelievably spectacular “home on the range” table…the hats and horseshoes are a real “kick”!! and then I see Geoffrey and I could not stop laughing….it just took me by surprise…you are the best!!…I just love all the many details which have all been covered. Well now that you have committed to the classes, I look forward to seeing your amazing tablescapes that you create with your students….Now, who is that very attractive lady in the red dress?….:)


  7. Oh wow!!! I luv the western theme.. Alycia you outdid yourself. Western elegance… luv it! I so look forward to seeing your new tablescapes. You inspire me so… Geoffrey, hahahaha.. Ahem . Sorry, he cracked me up.

    Making me think.. a western chili night. Hmmm…
    Cheers, Gee


  8. It sounds like you people in Kansas City know how to party!! 8 weeks of celebrating some great American traditions!! Your table reflects the fun, I especially like the horseshoes!!


  9. Yahoo, girl, you got the feeling. The majordomo gone western just made me laugh out loud. He doesn’t look like he’s enjoying the get up very much. The longhorns are outrageous, and Ramon just happened to remember them? It couldn’t be he thought they’d be perfect additions to what what going on under his roof!


  10. You are so gifted! I am more amazed after seeing each post at your talent.
    I love and miss KC! The American Royal, it’s parade, and BBQ are a tradition. I can almost hear the cattle in the stock yards! The only thing I see missing here are the FFA blue coats! How great that your Derby items were usable for this theme as well. “Get along little doggies.” Pass the KC Masterpiece please. ;o)


  11. Heehaww! That’s very cool. Alycia! I love how you created the place card holders. Actually, everything is pretty creative. Where do you get all these beautiful ideas? What a fun party!…Christine


  12. I don’t know which made me laugh more…Geoffrey all Cowboy’d up or the fact that you were able to find elements for your table at the local Tractor Supply Store! This is a great table…perfect for some yummy BBQ! And coming from a family in the cattle business, we go by the saying “Beef, it’s what’s for dinner!” Have a great weekend!


  13. I love it Alycia!! I have always dreamed of being around for the American Royal. Of course that is not gonna happen. One year Jim’s work had the Christmas party at a horse arena. There was a show that night. Absolutely the best Christmas party we ever attended. Fun evening! The banquet room was above the arena with windows all along the wall. Good memory!


  14. Good day Prettilicious Lady A…
    Weeeehaaaa!!! I was giggling when I open and browse your post. It was really a coincidence of my thoughts that I was supposed to post a cowboy theme, however, our boots are still packed in the boxes in the garage and I was too lazy coz the boxes are pretty big and heavy §:-)

    You guys looks so gorgeous and this settings is a real cool theme.

    How are you and your family around? It’s been awhile not visiting you in KA §:-) wish am living around to see you and join your TS classes. I miss that activity.

    WIshing you and wonderful and blessed day.

    Hugs from D´BOX,


  15. Fun idea for a party Alycia. Love the cowboy theme…boots, horsehoes, bandanas, etc.
    I can see you clearly had some great ideas here. it’s always a pleasure to see what you come up with next.


  16. Alycia, I love it! I love themed table settings! I keep seeing folks using the grapevine wreaths for chargers and I can never find them in the stores. I’m going to keep looking though because I love how they look in this setting. How much fun it would be to be in this group!


  17. Oh my stars girlfriend, this is over the top fabulous!!! You have not left a detail undone. I just ohh and ahh at every photo and idea. I so agree that the Botars would be so impressed with you. And I know your students must be. Wish I were there and I’d sign up for your classess. You are one AWESOME gal!!! And a terrific friend!!! One of these fine days we are going to meet up. Just wish I could crawl into your wonderful creative mind and just live there for awhile. You are an inspiration Alycia!!


  18. I have missed visiting you and being on the receiving end of your creativity! I love the whole “yeehaw” thing, but my favorite part of all is the roses in the boot. Any flowers would have looked great, but only you would have chosen something so unconventional to pair with a cowboy boot as roses. I just love it.

    Sorry to disappear and not visit. We’ve had a family trial to endure, and disappearing was the thing I had to do. I’m so glad God let me return before fall was in full swing. I have missed blog land!


  19. Alycia, this table is a ringer for sure! I think I remember that’s good thing from horseshoes right? So much thought into every little detail. Sounds like you have a very supportive husband too. Those horns are awesome. Sounds like your class filled up. Dianne


  20. Alycia, you never disappoint! Loved seeing this fun themed tablescape. I’ve wanted to put together a cowboy themed table for my sister’s little grands. Still have it in my plans. 😉 I’ll bookmark this one for inspiration. This post is FULL of inspiration. Thanks……….Sarah


  21. I love seeing different themes for tables besides the traditional flowers. Your theme is great and I love your horse and the boot and rope wall hanging. The hats were a great touch too. Thanks for stopping by this week to visit my new blog!


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