El Pasoans who appreciate the 1950s culture of glamorous pinup girls, hot rods and rockabilly music found their creative outlet Saturday night at the El Paso Museum of History. About 100 people gathered for Rockabilly on the Rio, an event that celebrated the iconic blend of rock 'n' roll and country music. Five bands performed, including local favorites Hot Rod Boogie and Hillside Gamblers, and women competed in a pinup girl contest. Rockabilly has continued to attract an underground following because of musicians including Johnny Cash, Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley, who have inspired modern-day bands, said Erica Salas, the museum's former event coordinator.
Salas began planning the rockabilly gathering before she left her position, but said she wanted to carry out the festivities.
"It's an underground culture that I think we need to start appreciating," Salas said.
Rockabilly is more than music. It's a lifestyle that shines through in clothing, cars and attitude, Salas said.
"The women dress like 1940 or '50s pinup girls," Salas said. "It's sexy, but they're covered up. They usually wear flowers in their hair and red lipstick."
A $15 admission also got guests a yearlong membership to the museum.
It was a way for museum officials to reach a different demographic, Salas said.
"The museum wanted to bring a new generation through its doors," she said. "They get to experience the museum and the museum gets to experience them."
Lorena Ethridge came dressed in a corset, black skirt and high heels. She wore a blue flower in her hair to accentuate bluntly cut bangs and victory rolls, or pinned curls toward the front of the face.
"I love rockabilly," Ethridge said. "I just love the style. It's kind of like when men were men, and women were women and feminine."
José Macias said he fell in love with iconic rockabilly artists Hank Williams and Elvis Presley from listening to his parents' record collection as a child.
Macias arguably had one of the highest pompadour hairstyles at Saturday's event.
"There's not too many events like this in El Paso," Macias said.
"Rockabilly is a way of life. You can't just like the music, cars or pretty pinup girls."