ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Maria Rodriguez, a competitive barber, drove to Abilene from Fort Worth to compete at West Texas Most Faded, Abilene’s first barber and tattoo expo.

“I use my 4’11 self to encourage other women and not to be, not feel like the guys are better because they’re barbers, that they know better. Just go out and have fun,” expressed Maria Rodriguez.

The expo featured a wide array of artists, local small businesses, and a cheerful atmosphere. Competitions were also held throughout the day and Rodriguez used the opportunity to not only compete but inspire other female barbers.

Amy Coulibaly owns Stylin’ Chic salon off North 6th street, offering braiding, color and styling services. She said an expo such as this one is vital to the beauty and barber community, especially here in the key city.

“Since I’ve been here, everybody goes to Dallas and the bigger cities to do stuff like this,” Coulibaly explained. “And I’m really glad that they could do it here in Abilene and I hope it will continue and get bigger and bigger as time goes on. I really like it.”

David Rodriguez, event manager for the expo, shared that this event has made history for this town out west.

“Abilene’s never had anything like this,” proclaimed David Rodriguez. “If you know anything about barber battling, most of the time you have to go to San Angelo, Midland, Odessa, Dallas, San Antonio, Lubbock. But never here in Abilene.”

David Rodriguez has an immense love for the barber and tattoo community and being able to bring them together and showcase them in Abilene has been a long-awaited dream.

“I wanted to bring something that brought us together because they’re both fashionable. And so to be able to bring that back out to Abilene and put it all under one roof was unimaginable but now we’ve done it, it’s attainable,” David Rodriguez shared.

He also expressed he’s received such good feedback already that the second annual expo is already in the works for next March.