The next time you’re in Amarillo take a closer look around. You might spot an off-duty dancer donning a bandana designed by a legendary Texas saddle maker.
Marrs Makers, a modern western line of fashion and leather goods, bestowed its signature, Bob Marrs Poinsettia-Paisley Bandanas in Rebel Black and Turkey Red to the Tascosa High School Varsity Belles Drill Team. This collectible accessory was presented to the Texas drill team in recognition of their dancing qualification in the nationwide Spirit of America competition. Their placement included Division 1 rankings as well as officer and team awards landing the dancers a spot to perform in this year’s 2022 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. This was the first year the Belles qualified and no other Panhandle schools made the cut.
Marrs Makers Founder and Creative Director Amy Sheets (center), pictured with the Tascosa High School Varsity Belles Drill Team and Coaches (left), holding their Bob Marrs Bandanas.
The gifted Poinsettia-Paisley inscribed bandanas, a nod to renowned Amarillo saddle maker Bob Marrs’ signature flower-tooled poinsettia saddles, were designed by Marrs himself, and produced in the US by Marrs Makers, whose Founder and Creative Director is Amy Sheets. This grandfather-granddaughter duo patterned these bandanas together until his death at the age of 94 in February. Marrs was a cowboy, saddle maker and artist who never stopped learning, or breaking boundaries professionally and personally through his craftsmanship and artistry. Despite facing numerous challenges throughout his life, Marrs’ dedication and perseverance earned him an esteemed position in the saddle making industry, the same virtues his granddaughter spotted in the Tascosa High School Varsity Belles Drill Team and coaches. The Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum is currently cataloging Marrs’ saddle shop collection and oral histories for upcoming digital and physical exhibitions.
At the Thanksgiving Eve Manhattan handover, Sheets, a 1994 Tascosa High graduate, narrated the story of her late grandfather’s saddle and bandana making and echoed his ethics of self-reliance and resourcefulness.
“We wanted to give a bandana to each one of you guys as a symbol of our gratitude and respect for your accomplishment and what you have achieved," Sheets told the drill team. "Don’t let being from a small town determine the size of your dreams, achievements, or ability to reach and help others,” she said.
Junior Lieutenant of the Tascosa Varsity Belles Drill/Dance Team, Emerson Nunemaker has worn her red Bob Marrs bandana already. Nunemaker complimented the everyday carry bandanas on their appearance and tie-ability. She added that some of her teammates style their Bob Marrs bandanas wearing as wristlets, hair ties, or on their bags.
Marching in Style: The Tascosa Belles Drill/Dance Team in New York City wearing their 2022 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade uniforms.
The dancers competed in the Dallas Grand Finale Showtime branch of the Spirit of America competition. Spirit of America organizes cheerleading and dance performances for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The Tascosa High School Varsity Belles Drill Team was the only team in Amarillo to compete and the only group in the Texas Panhandle to place. The Belles are a 36-member team with a solid built-in support network where seniors like Natalie Sisneros help to show the newer dancers the ropes.
“We get to mentor the incoming people that are new to the team and create bonds that way,” Sisneros said.
Belles, Bandanas, and Broadway
Sisneros, who praised the Marrs Makers bandanas’ comfortable sizing, said performing on Manhattan’s jam packed avenues was when the magnitude of the win sunk in.
“It was exciting,” said Sisneros. “At first we didn’t know we’d won until one of the girls on the team showed us the award. And then it didn’t become surreal until we were actually in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, but it was really awesome."
One perk for competition winners is the chance to tour New York City with their families. During her free time, Nunemaker ice skated in Central Park with her father and said she fell in love with the Big Apple’s fast pace and cultural diversity. Sisneros said her favorite moment outside of the parade with her mother was exploring Times Square and watching the famed Radio City Rockettes perform.
Modern Western Flair: Tascosa Varsity Belles wearing their Bob Marrs Poinsettia-Paisley Bandanas in Rebel Black and Turkey Red. Sheets said the bandana award honors and celebrates the team's achievements on the path to reaching their goals and dreams.
Nunemaker said she will memorialize her parade experience by making a shadow box of memorabilia, decorated with Broadway tickets and other keepsakes, with her Bob Marrs bandana front and center. Though the seventeen-year-old says she is not typically a bandana wearer, she plans to remove the bandana from its casing to wear it on special occasions as a remembrance.
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Marrs Makers would like to extend a special thank-you to Tascosa High School Varsity Belles Drill/Dance Team Directors, Debbie Plunk and Brooke Adams. During a chance meeting while catching a flight to NYC, the coaches' passion and dedication inspired and compelled Marrs Makers' gift triggering these events.