OIWC Polly-Esther Party puts the funk into Outdoor Retailer Summer Market

Blame it on the liquid blue concoction being served at the bar, or blame it on disco. Whatever the excuse, OIWC’s Polly-Esther Party at Pierpont Place Aug. 9 was one mind-blowing experience with hundreds of industry folks boogying down.
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Blame it on the liquid blue concoction being served at the bar, or blame it on disco. Whatever the excuse, OIWC’s Polly-Esther Party at Pierpont Place Aug. 9 was one mind-blowing experience with hundreds of industry folks boogying down.

The main purpose of the party, emcee’d by SNEWS®’ own Michael Hodgson and Therese Iknoian, was to benefit the OIWC Education Foundation, which funds OIWC professional development programs for women. But the other purpose was to prove that platform shoes, shiny polyester and exposed chest hair form a wildly explosive combination. With the Diamond Experience, a Neil Diamond cover band, blasting out Brick House, The Hustle, Cracklin’ Rose and other ‘70s hits, a big-collar, bell-bottom-wearin’ crowd jammed the dance floor. Sporting a perfectly tailored bright purple suit and white platforms, Larry Harrison looked like he stepped off the set of “I’m Gonna Get You Sucka.”

Competition was fierce in the costume contests, especially among the ladies who strutted the main stage in high boots and short skirts. Loren Sartain, retail marketing coordinator for Mountain Hardwear and Montrail, rocked a crazy blue dress and go-go boots to claim the Best Female costume award.

The award for Best Male costume was claimed by Gregg Bagni, while Mike and Amy Bills took top prize for Best Couple (yes, Mike proudly showed off his glaring white legs dressed in tacky ‘70s swimsuit style). The question of who would win the award for Most Outrageous was no longer a question when the ExOfficio crew arrived: The entire team was sporting made-to-order Harlem Globetrotter uniforms, complete with blue satin jerseys and shorts, plus red Converse high-tops and white tube socks with red and blue stripes. Groovy, man, very groovy.

Having walked the halls of Congress with GoLite’s Kim Coupounas and Yakima’s Mike Steck, we know they’re stand-up folks—but you should see them get down. Breaking out some fierce moves, they out hustled all competitors to win the Dance Off and the titles of Poly-Guy and Poly-Gal.

The intensity of the dance competition could be matched by only one thing—the lambchops running the jaw line of Christian Castellani of Backcountry.com. He was crowned king in the sideburns competition proudly wearing facial hair that recalled The King’s ’73 Aloha from Hawaii TV special. And, yes, it was real, not like the ‘fros and burns worn by the outrageous ExOfficio team.

Now that OIWC has topped its 2006 drag show with a swingin’ ‘70s party (click here to view OIWC’s official photo gallery of the event -- www.oiwc.printroom.com and click here to view video of the ’06 drag show if you dare -- we’re almost a little scared to see what kind of bash the group will dream up next.

For those who wish a visual sample of the Polly-Esther party festivities, photographer and now political candidate Lin Alder has graciously provided photos free of charge at www.alderphoto.com/Lightroom/PolyEsthers/index.html. Alder’s only request is that if you do use the incriminating photos of industry celebs having way too good a time in polyester, you consider financially supporting his campaign to protect Wild Utah near Zion as a Washington County (Utah) Commission candidate. Go to www.WinWithLin.org and consider an online donation of any amount.

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