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by Halley Sanford August 08, 2021 4 min read 4 Comments

What an incredible time!

The 2021 Meetup at the Mothership was a success – an exciting, exhausting, memorable success. After not getting to have it last year, everyone was just a little more eager to get together, and it added to the magic a little.

It is impossible to explain the endless amount of planning and prep that goes into an Addiction Meetup. We start preparing it months and months in advance and it takes our entire team (and beyond) to coordinate every little detail, from the major transformation of the showroom down to the minutiae, like the Wolf Pack stickers on the silverware packets. (By the way, huge shoutout to Sticker Mule who created all of this year’s souvenir stickers – highly recommend!)

Wednesday kicked off our VIP shopping, and we were honestly a bit surprised at how many folks showed up to get the jump on scoring some deals. We got to hang out and visit with some of our favorite folks while they got to see some of the new collection in person for the first time, and it really got us in the spirit to celebrate.

Thursday, the first “real” day of the Addiction Weekend, was a hoot!

“To tell you the truth, I kind of threw out the idea of having a costume party as a joke,” Cheryl laughed. “You know, because in Urban Cowboy, they have that Dolly Parton lookalike contest. So, that’s where it came from, but then we thought, ‘Why don’t we make it just a whole Urban Cowboy dress-up day? That way people can dress up as Dolly, as Sissy, as anything inspired by the movie.’”

And you folks did NOT disappoint! We had some do multiple costume changes – Phyllis Unterbrink came as both Bud and Sissy – and we had folks do group costumes, like the Gilley Girls, and we had Candy Fletcher show up as an “ex-con” ready for the prison rodeo!

Speaking of the rodeo, let’s talk about that mechanical bull.

“It’s a lot harder than it looks,” laughed Jack Matusek. “First of all, it was hotter than heck out there, so there is the sweat factor. And it’s slick, I guess it’s that leather, but it’s not easy to hold on to. I gave it a couple tries and eventually made the short-go. Mom made it maybe a half a buck before she got off and I swear she didn’t recover for an hour.”

So who holds the record for staying on the longest? Bracken Franz, Audrey’s grandson. Turns out, mechanical bull riding is a young man’s game.

Then we all loaded up and flooded Yoakum’s Grand Theater with the most gussied-up group of gals that movie house has probably ever seen for a private showing of the cult classic that inspired the entire summer collection.

Friday during the day, the Mothership saw another influx of Addicts doing some shoppin’ and some sippin’ on Koy’s signature frozen margaritas. And let me tell you, it was all hands on deck. Jack was in the annex fitting everyone with a rapidly dwindling selection of boots and hats and trying not to sell that last Ring of Fire Jacket he wanted to keep for himself. ALL the girls – from customer service to accounting to market reps to the McMullens, even Hedy’s daughter, Presley and a friend of hers from UT – were Johnny on the spot, grabbing different sizes or giving outfit advice or helping gals find that signature squash blossom or their Oscar Betz earrings that were just right. And Mitchell was, of course, buzzing throughout the showroom snapping party pics and flirting with all his fans. It was a flurry of activity and laughter – never a dull moment, and several new friendships formed.

As the day wound down, people trickled out to go get ready for the Friday night festivities, a barbeque and live music at the Sweet Home Community Hall. We were treated to some yummy downhome grub provided by Andy’s Catering, and entertained with live music from our very own Leanne and Jo-el Ulmer and their band 2Country4Nashville, as well as the adorable and talented local band Southpaw, with an impressive cameo by the lead singer’s little sister, Bella. Oh yeah, and a surprise performance by DDR Addict, Ashley May, who sang us “Gun Powder and Lead”, and y’all – the girl sounds just like Miranda Lambert! A whole lot of two-stepping and a little bit of line dancing, and a moving toast from Audrey, definitely a night we won’t soon forget. (A thousand thanks to everyone on our crew who set up all the décor, put together a gajillion dinner tray boxes, and most importantly – got the AC up and running!)

Saturday, the final day of the meetup, is when we really take a moment to reflect. It’s the day that it always hits us, and we’re just so humbled and in awe.

“It’s not even about the shopping,” Cheryl said. “It’s about the sisterhood. It’s about the bond these women share, about the community they created. They might have discovered each other through a mutual love of DDR, but the Wolf Pack was all them. I can’t pinpoint it, I can’t quite put my finger on exactly what it is inside each of us that ties us all together, but it’s there. It’s a unique bond and it’s reach will always astound and humble me.”

We nibbled on our “birthday” cupcakes, toasted to the incredible ladies the DDR Addiction group has brought together, and then all herded out front for a group picture so large it required a drone – that’s a lot of fabulous folks in one picture! Gals lined up to have Cheryl sign their jackets and she took the time to tell the story behind each one, adding a little something extra to an already beloved piece.

For those who have never gotten the chance to come to one of these Addiction Meetups, there is really no way to put it into words. There is laughter, there are tears, and that whole little corner of Grand Avenue is abuzz with excitement and gals in elaborate outfits and jewelry – as Daddy Doug would say, “all rigged up”.

And then, I think we all slept for two whole days.


4 Responses

Alicia M.
Alicia M.

October 13, 2022

~ I feel as though I’m with y’all in spirit. My first trip ever to the great state of Texas was in 1997 when I went there for a Mary Kay Seminar (Dallas). Although it was hot as blazes in July, the people were extremely friendly/genuine. I was there for Seminar again twice with the last year being 2010 where my husband and I went together. We live in the West VA panhandle; I’d L=O=V=E to meet the McMullens and the Wolfpack. And definitely a stopover at the flagship store in Ft. Worth. Couldn’t think of a better place to revisit coming full circle with my all-time favourite brand. ~

Sandra Whitlock
Sandra Whitlock

August 09, 2021

How I wish that I could have come! I live all the way in Virginia but I’ve been to all the places you go. Grand Canyon; most awesome place and to Gilly’s and Texas. That is one awesome state! Looks like ya’ll had one great time! If my back wasn’t gone I’d have been with ya’ll. But I lov e all the pics and clips! Thank you for sharing. Sandi from Virginia
Carol Stoneburner
Carol Stoneburner

August 08, 2021

It was the best time ever. For those who have never gone….it’s a must!! A huge thank you to all of the DDR family and the team who makes it all come together! You are so loved by us all. Your kindness and love is felt thru out!! Blessings.

Carol Stoneburner
Carol Stoneburner

August 08, 2021

It was the best time ever. For those who have never gone….it’s a must!! A huge thank you to all of the DDR family and the team who makes it all come together! You are so loved by us all. Your kindness and love is felt thru out!! Blessings.

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