published: Friday, January 11, 2013
Stocked with in western wear, square dancing attire
ROXANNE BROWN | Staff Writer
After more than 35 years in the Mascotte community, Virginia's Western Wear saw a shift in leadership when owner Virginia Hyrons died two years ago.
That's when, to keep the business going, son Chuck Drawdy , had the business incorporated. He has continued to provide members of the community with their every need when it comes to western and square-dancing wear.
"This was always my mother's dream since the start and I wanted to keep it alive," said Drawdy, an Army veteran (CW2) who flew Huey helicopters for 16 years.
Prior to Wes and Virginia Hyrons moving to its current location at 947 East Myers Boulevard (State Road 50) in Mascotte, Virginia's Western Wear could be found at the other end of the Rainbow Restaurant for 15 years -- first getting its start at the Groveland Flea Market (no longer in operation).
"This is the only full-line square dance store left in the state of Florida that I know of," Drawdy said. "I get people special ordering from places in Florida like Miami, Pensacola and Jacksonville, and from out of state from as far as Nebraska and Minnesota.
"Square dancing is big in Europe, probably from our military bases. We had 16 German dancers show up one day when they were here for the attractions."
At Virginia's Western Wear, customers will find western wear for infants on up to women's and men's clothing. There are jeans and cowboy shirts in stock, as well as hunting and square-dance attire.
Virginia's Western Wear carries styles from all the most popular brands including Wrangler®, Bucked Up®, Liberty wear®, Ely Cattleman®, Stetson and Bailey® hats. In fact, Drawdy said the newest in camouflaged fashions -- green, pink and snow -- from Wilderness Dreams® are available in lingerie, swimwear and lounge-wear.
Perhaps the great selection, however, comes in the way of boots -- Ariat®, Justin®, Tony Lama®, Dan Post®, John Deere® and Durango® to name a few.
Virginia's Western Wear also carries work boots, hats and camouflage clothing.
Traditional square-dance attire is also always available, something Drawdy said is much appreciated by the people striving to keep the American tradition alive.
The store had a stock liquidation sale this past summer to get rid of older lines the store has carried to make room for all the newest trends.
"Square dancing is an Ameri-can tradition but it's getting to be where the older people who are into it are not accepting of the younger people and their new traditions. In turn, the younger people are not connecting with the older tradition and, therefore, not continuing it," Drawdy said, adding that he hopes to do all he can to bridge the gap and spread the joy of square dancing.
"There are people who will travel hours for the opportunity to participate. They'll go all the way to Geneva for lessons, and will drive to Orlando and to The Villages based square-dancing clubs," he said.
Some of those clubs require traditional square-dance attire.
"We don't want square dancing to end up a lost art," Drawdy said. "It's pretty cool, too. It's like cowboy karaoke and every caller's phrase during the dance's accompanying song means a movement. That's why it's so fun."
Drawdy said he and his staff attend special events, hoedowns and conventions to bring the latest trends in the market to the gatherings. Nevertheless, since he considers his business a family owned and operated specialty store, he makes sure to treat his customers as family.
After all, he said, it's the customers who have helped keep not only the store and the tradition of square dancing going strong.
"We have set up at the Florida State Ranch rodeo finals in the Silver Spurs Arena, and are looking for other opportunities to attend. We also set up at the Sumter County Beef and Boogie Festival, Bushnell's Fall Festival, and will be at the Winterfest Square Dance in Lakeland soon, so we have gone mobile, too."