Archive for the Party Machine Sports Category

Party Machine Photographer of the Month

Posted in Party Machine Sports, Professionalism, Texas Aggie Weddings, Weddings! on October 22, 2010 by djscottshirley

I love to work with experienced professionals. It makes all the difference for a smooth flowing, hassle-free celebration. And a great photographer ranks right beside great entertainment for a successful event.

Scott’s Party Machine Standard for Photography:

Anybody is capable of taking a good picture. All of us take a good picture occasionally, especially now that everyone has camera phones. As an old cowboy friend says, “A blind hog will stumble on an acorn from time to time.” A professional photographer should always get good pictures, never missing a shot. But a truly great photographer needs to go beyond mere technical proficiency. After working with lots of them for nearly 35 years, I have found the top photographers have two special traits: First, an artistic “eye” for the great shot, but perhaps more important is a pleasant demeanor with a fun personality, who is enjoyable to work with. Style is really secondary. An experienced professional can adjust the style to your preference.

“What difference does it make, as long as the pictures are good?”

The answer is ALL the difference in the world! I have worked with a few “Nazi” photographers who were so unpleasant, people would hide to avoid having their picture taken! I have done weddings where the Bride sent the photographer home early, because they were upsetting her guests. I have seen photographers start fights with wedding coordinators. The nightmare scenario is the photographer who disappears after the event, along with your memories. I had this happen with a client 4 years ago, who used a “friend of a friend” that looked professional, but turned out, to her horror, to be a crook.

Great Photographers are not costly, they are Valuable!

With this Blog post, I would like to kick off a tradition of recognizing my fellow vendors who are truly outstanding at their craft. Sort of a “Party Machine Seal of Approval” for wedding and event professionals.

Drumroll, please! And the winner is: Kristin Greenlee!

Bookmark her website and “friend” her on Facebook. There is a link to her Blog that I heartily recommend for both good reading, and seeing some mighty impressive images. Better still, call her at 817-683-6838. Great photographers tend to get booked quickly for the most popular dates.

I had the privilege of working with Kristin last year for a wedding at the Petroleum Club of Fort Worth. It was a joyous, fun-filled celebration, with some specially planned Party Machine “showbiz” moments for their Grand Entrance and their spotlight dances. Groom Jeff was a Texas Aggie, and bride Katy graduated from Texas Tech. Jeff is a football coach and they are both big sports fans, so we played up the rivalry to create some memorable moments.

Katy and Jeff made their Grand Entrance with NFL theme music, passed the football, and did a Touchdown Celebration!

Imagine my surprise when, while searching for something totally un-related, I stumbled onto Kristen’s Blog post about Jeff and Katy’s wedding! I remembered how much fun that was, and the humorous moments, but OMG! When I saw Kristin’s pictures, it was as though I could hear their voices. She not only captured the mood of the celebration, but also the personalities of her subjects. Scroll down the pictures in her Blog post, to see what I mean when I say “an artistic eye for the great shot.”

Perhaps my favorite moments at Jeff and Katy’s wedding came about as the result of a strange coincidence. About 30 of Jeff’s family and friends from Chicagoland had taken a bus tour of Fort Worth, and were late returning, so I had to “stall for time” in my role as Master of Ceremonies. Jeff had a Chicago Bears groom’s cake, and half the guests were fans of “Da Bears,” so…I asked that every time they heard the word “Chicago,” everyone there – even the staff – should yell, “DA BEARS!” And they all did.

I love a happy bride!

Lots of laughter at that celebration, and Kristen captured all the memories. That is what a great photographer does.

And it seems she has good taste in Wedding MC Entertainment, as well!

Froggy Went A-Courtin’

Posted in College Traditions, Let them eat cake!, Party Machine Sports, Weddings!, Weird Things at Parties with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 2, 2010 by djscottshirley

When I was asked to MC for the wedding reception of Robyn Hughes to Anthony Butorac, past President of the “HyperFrogs” fan club at Texas Christian University, I knew to expect a fun event. After setting the date and contracting with the Party Machine and their other vendors, Robyn and Anthony were disappointed to learn that their beloved Horned Frogs would be playing football on their wedding day! In fact, kickoff was scheduled for the same time their ceremony was to begin.

The current HyperFrogs leader was among the guests, and was not pleased about missing the game for a wedding. But it was too late to make changes, and this group was not about to punt! To provide some perspective for those unfamiliar with Horned Frog football, TCU had just won a conference championship after the best season since the 1930s last year, so to say that enthusiasm was running high would be an understatement.

Anthony's Groom's Cake featured the most unique mascot in college sports, the TCU Horned Frog.

Their wedding party was comprised of current TCU students and alumni, and so was the guest list. So I tracked the game online and announced real-time scores throughout the evening, starting as photos were being taken of the wedding party, when we learned that TCU was winning, 7-7. During photos the guests enjoyed cocktails on the new terrace of the beautifully remodeled Belltower Chapel in Fort Worth. Using our exclusive Party Machine wireless speaker systems, we were able to “beam” Robyn’s selection of elegant classical music outside during cocktail hour.

TCU students love beer almost as much as Frog football, so each guest table was named after a unique Beer label. Tables were released to pass through the buffet line by their brand of beer. And the guest favors were folding beer can Koozies with Robyn and Anthony’s special emblem, that matched their Gobo design on the floor:

Anthony and Robyn's monogram was projected in the center of the dance floor.

We were so confidant in TCU’s victory that night, we even scheduled a victory cheer on the written Party Machine event timeline for their reception! The University claims to have the oldest cheer in continuous use in all of college football, which the HyperFrogs, alumni, and current students demonstrated, followed by their Alma Mater:

The script was conveniently written on the back of the beer-label table tents, so that all the guests could read along:

Riff, Ram, Bah, Zoo!
Lickety, lickety, zoo, zoo!
Who wah, Wha Who!
Give ’em hell, TCU!

They don’t write ’em like that anymore.

Another Sports Fan’s Groom’s Cake

Posted in College Traditions, Let them eat cake!, Party Machine Sports, Weddings! on September 20, 2010 by djscottshirley

For Texas Tech Red Raider Fans:

Tech graduates Keith and Catherine Baker had this stadium Groom's Cake at their wedding celebration.

This was a very well-done specimen, that can hold its own against the Texas Aggie Bonfire cake in the Battle of the College Cakes. Guns up!

Float Like A Butterfly, Sting Like A Bee!

Posted in Party Machine Celebrities!, Party Machine Sports on April 9, 2009 by djscottshirley

You never know when you may encounter a celebrity.

It was Fight Night at the Dallas Petroleum Club, and I was the DJ for the event.

Definitely a different kind of event! There was a real regulation boxing ring, and real boxing, including title fights in several weight categories. There were scantily-clad models who carried signs into the ring to announce the next round, for which I played crowd motivation music. And of course, the ubiquitous bell.

But the boxing fans were all dressed in tuxedos and evening gowns, while enjoying passed hors d’oeuvres and sipping champagne! Formal boxing, only in Texas!

Perhaps an odd juxtaposition, but it was a great event with an enthusiastic crowd. But they really got loud when I announced our celebrity guest of honor: Angelo Dundee. It was a sight to see men in tuxedos and lovely ladies in evening gowns clamoring for his autograph…a group that I ultimately joined!

Angelo Dundee will always be able to show how to throw a punch!

Angelo Dundee will always be able to show how to throw a punch!

Mr Dundee’s biggest claim to fame came as cornerman for Muhammed Ali, but his distinguished career has included working with 14 other World Boxing Champions, including George Foreman and Sugar Ray Leonard.

It was Angelo Dundee who developed the so-called “Rope-A-Dope” technique (named by Mr. Ali), a technique that I have occasionally used on drunks at parties.

Mr. Dundee was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1994.

Everyone’s Favorite Sports Fan

Posted in Party Machine Celebrities!, Party Machine Sports on April 9, 2009 by djscottshirley

Back in the day when Dallas Cowboys stars Harvey Martin and Ed “Too Tall” Jones used to show up at our Party Machine events, they often had a friend in tow, who was not an NFL player, but still a celebrity (and a playa) in his own right.

“Crazy Ray” (whose real name was Wilford Jones, no relation to Too Tall) was the unofficial, but sort-of official mascot of the Dallas Cowboys, and certainly their biggest fan ever. From the inception of the Cowboys franchise, until his death in 2007, it was said that Crazy Ray missed only 3 Cowboys home games.

Wilford "Crazy Ray" Jones, appearing in a wheelchair for one of his final Cowboys games.

Although not officially on the payroll, the Cowboys did provide Ray with an all-access pass and parking permit for home games. He was part of Cowboy fan culture.

Perhaps Ray’s best performance as an unofficial mascot was when he would clown around and wrestle with the Washington Redskins unofficial mascot, Zema Williams.

He was known for his western-style outfits, often wearing chaps and a vest with a ten-gallon hat, and for entertaining the fans with magic tricks. He had a whistle that became a trademark, letting the fans know that “Crazy Ray is here!” and was often seen galloping on a little toy stick-horse, always a comical sight.

Ray stopped galloping after losing a leg to complications from diabetes, and ultimately lost his battle with heart disease at age 76.

Our hats are off to you, Crazy Ray! Party on!

The Doomsday Defense

Posted in Party Machine Celebrities!, Party Machine Sports on April 9, 2009 by djscottshirley

One of my long-running repeat customers in the early years of the Party Machine was a fashion college in Arlington, that was well known for its awesome dance parties.

Although most of the students studied fashion design and merchandising, just the thought of a party filled with young, single fashion models…well, lets suffice it to say that their parties always attracted lots of single men. Also single women, who knew there would be lots of men there.

Among them were two of my all-time favorite Dallas Cowboys players, Harvey Martin and Ed “Too Tall” Jones. Martin was a defensive lineman, a huge man who used a ‘bear hug” style to take down the opposing team’s quarterback…and did so frequently. The “Harvey Hug” was not exactly a friendly gesture, earning him the nickname “Too Mean,” as he was Too Tall’s bookend.

Jones was drafted as a quarterback, but the sports talk all seemed to agree that he was “too tall” at 6′ 9″ to be a quarterback, and the name stuck. He ended up on the other side of the defensive line with Harvey Martin, and the two became friends, rivals for the record books, party pals…and a serious threat to the other team’s quarterback.

A rare occurence when someone else beat Harvey and Too-Tall to the quarterback.

A rare occurence when someone else beat Harvey and Too-Tall to the quarterback.

Both were among the NFL’s leading pass rushers, and loved to sack the quarterback. The two men had a famous bet: whenever one of them sacked a quarterback, the other owed him a case of beer.

Jones and Martin were part of the “Doomsday Defense” that took the Cowboys to back-to-back Super Bowls in 1978 and 1979. Martin was the co-MVP of Super Bowl XII when the Cowboys defeated the Denver Broncos 27-10. The Cowboys were robbed of a victory in Super Bowl XIII by Terry frickin’ Bradshaw, but we won’t go into that. But Terry got knocked on his arse by Martin and Too Tall enough to have nightmares about it.

Every quarterback in the NFL had the same nightmare, of being rushed by #72 on one side, and #79 on the other. But when you saw them in their civvies at a Party Machine event, you knew it was time to PARTY ON, DUDES!