Text by Dixie Lobmeyer | Photos by Shana Bailey Photography
Rodeo fashion queen Quincy (Freeman) Eldridge sews together her western lifestyle, Spanish roots and love for the rodeo world to form her brand, Rodeo Quincy.
Raised on a cattle ranch in Reedley, the up-and-coming rodeo fashionista struggled academically throughout school. “You’re going to have to work harder than others,” Quincy remembers her father telling her as he positioned toy horses on a pillow, one far behind the others. “But with hard work, you’ll catch up,” he reassured her as he walked the stray toy to the others. She carried this can-do attitude through school and into everyday life, never afraid to put in the extra work. Finding herself excelling in art class her senior year, she began
to take her ideas home, where she would transfer them onto the belts and boots she later wore to rodeo competitions.
She was captain of the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo women’s rodeo team, and her personalized style stood out in arenas among the neutral trends of traditional rodeo wear. Her custom-painted belts and tack caught the eye of representatives from Ariat International, a popular manufacturer known for its western apparel and accessories. The company quickly recruited Quincy to collaborate, birthing her first line of boots and apparel, the Quincy Collection, as well as her start into the western fashion industry.
“Working with Ariat gave me behind-the-scenes industry experience, without which I wouldn’t be where I am today,” Quincy admits.
After four collections of boots and apparel with Ariat and encouragement from a professor, Quincy went on to win the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization’s National Elevator Pitch competitions. “In addition to my family and friends, I now had support from business leaders and other entrepreneurs. Until then, I never saw this as a potential career option.
I couldn’t let them down, so I decided to give it a try,” she says.
Shortly after graduating with a degree in agricultural communications, Quincy returned home to begin Rodeo Quincy, a brand that she would describe as loud, western and unique. The Rodeo Quincy launch was followed by two collaborations with Wrangler, the iconic western apparel brand.
Quincy attributes her entrepreneurial attitude to her parents. “I couldn’t have started without them. From day one, they have supported my dream, and I’ve worked closely with them each day since.”
Quincy’s father and fellow Cal Poly alumus, Bill, led by example in making his own mark on the western world when he created one of the first online livestock trading companies. He volunteered his office as space for his daughter to create Rodeo Quincy, then shortly moved her to a remodeled cargo train when the brand needed more space.
Quincy’s mother, Sally, a classy cowgirl from one of the first ranching families in Nevada, briefly held her own, more traditional western fashion line. “I run each new idea and design by her,” Quincy says. “That woman showed me you could dress like a lady and do anything a man could do and would do it without messing up her lipstick.”
Token red lipstick is just one family trend from which Quincy grabs inspiration. The bold, Wild West designs that can now be found in nearly 500 stores are created with her heritage and passion for the rodeo industry. “Denim will never go out of style,” Quincy says. “If I had to wear one thing for the rest of my life, dress me in denim.” Quincy attributes most of her style, gilded with screen-printed rodeo designs, fringe and embroidered denim, to her grandmother, the sole influence for Rodeo Quincy’s popular “Rosita” line.
Her late grandmother’s influence stretches far past fashion as the 28-year-old recently followed in her footsteps when she married a Nevada cowboy. Professional steer wrestler Dakota Eldridge and Quincy tied the knot at Camarillo’s St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church, built by Quincy’s great-great-grandfather,
the same place, same altar and the same day that her grandparents were married in 1945. The rodeo couple shared their vows alongside 13 bridesmaids, nine groomsmen, 15 flower girls and five ring bearers.
Growing their family and their business, Quincy compliments her new husband for his support of the RQ dream. “He’s always giving clothes away or giving people a discount,” she says. “Everyone knows if you want a good deal on Rodeo Quincy items, Dakota will take care of you.” While the business adds more items to its to-do list, it is often what brings the couple together away from home. While her husband is competing at rodeos, Quincy can be found at a Rodeo Quincy pop-up booth nearby, showcasing the latest collection and the season’s must-haves.
When she is not at rodeos, Quincy is looking for ways to grow the RQ brand in other directions. Recently, western fashion has taken over with trends such as fringe, boots, western hats and denim. Quincy admits that while this has helped RQ goals, the mainstream fashion industry can be harder to please than the traditional western crowd. “Still, popular brands are hesitant to be the first to showcase new styles outside of what is deemed trendy,” she says. Earlier this year, ABC Bachelor contestant-now-influencer Hannah Godwin was photographed in an RQ shirt, bringing more attention to the brand.
To rope in new clientele or social media influencers, Quincy is on the lookout for new trends that she can blend into the RQ style. She is most excited about this winter’s collection for more than her love of layers: the National Finals Rodeo in Vegas. Some exclusive pieces are ready to be released that capture the fun attitude of this “Super Bowl of Rodeo” event, including some must-haves for everyone’s closet, featuring sequins, studded denim, cheetah print, fringe and flair. Thankfully in this case, what happens or, dare I say, what is worn in Vegas, doesn’t have to stay in Vegas.
“I love the feeling that I can be a part of someone feeling better about themselves,” Quincy says. The entrepreneur says her biggest successes are when she spots RQ attire on someone she doesn’t know. “Sometimes I’ll introduce myself and thank them for wearing my brand; other times I’ll just compliment what they’re wearing or just smile to myself.”
The clothing company that quickly outgrew her father’s office has now become somewhat of a family business. Rodeo Quincy’s new designs are reviewed by family members through group chats, and models featured on the RQ website and socials are relatives of Quincy and Dakota’s. Quincy mentioned the idea of releasing a “Dakota Collection,” or a baby clothing line to incorporate both her husband into the RQ brand and what may be soon to come for the newlyweds. Coming soon to the Rodeo Quincy shop, along with a winter collection, will be new lines for everyone; high-end, low-end and more denim, of course.