They spent the day grooming and preening. They strode the red carpet and paused for pictures. They ate a multi-course meal and danced it off as the DJ played on.
The Mentor Center of Western Nevada, a program of the Boys & Girls Club of Western Nevada worked Saturday to give children in the program a night to remember at the annual Mentor Center Gala hosted at the Station Grille.
While pesky paparazzi stayed away from this red carpet, the show of glitz and pomp carried the day.
"It's really just about celebrating them and their mentors. They've probably never been to a salon and going out to a restaurant is a big deal," said Ruth Gordon, Mentor Center program director.
In all 28 children and their mentors took part in the festivities, which unofficially kicked off Saturday afternoon at salons around Carson City. One of those, Platinum Salon in downtown Carson, hosted more than a half-dozen mentor center participants received a celeb's treatment, glamming it up with new haircuts.
For Diamond Wilson, 11, a sixth grader at Empire Elementary - her new look was a "sassy bob" with layers.
"I'm just tired of my hair being so long," she said. "It gets in my eyes."
Though Diamond downplayed her excitement over her new look, her mother, Bernice Paxman, cooed from afar as she watched her daughter get made over.
"She's been looking at pictures of haircuts for a week," Paxman said. "Yeah, she plays it (off) but she's very excited."
While getting the star treatment didn't seem to phase any of the Boys & Girls Club members, as thick locks of wet hair rolled off black smocks and onto the salon's concrete floor, the students spun, smiled and winked to the mirror.
Cole Chandler, 14, a Carson High freshman, asked his stylist Emilia Camacho for a little extra gel as he spiked his bangs just right on his modified buzz cut.
"I'm going to wear my ROTC uniform tonight," he said. "It's going to be a fun night out - everyone's going to look good. It's nice to get dressed up and just go out."
Giving Boys & Girls Club kids that special treatment prior to a memorable evening is "something we're really behind - it's what we're all about," said Platinum Salon manager Lenny Chappell.
"As long as the kids are happy with the way they look - we've done our job," he said. "This is our first year helping them get ready for their (gala) - and we're just as excited as the kids."
Stylist Georgine Jones, who has been taming the manes of Carson's toughest customers for more than three decades, said working with kids is "a great part" of the job.
In her chair Saturday afternoon was Brandon C. Hall, 12, from Carson Middle School. Brandon looked circumspect as he brushed a thick shock of his strawberry blond hair and gave his best Brad Pitt impersonation (lips pursed and squinty eyes), then broke into a smile.
Brandon said, he was looking forward to getting "all the way dressed up."
"I think I'll wear a tie tie, not a clip-on," he said with a half grin. "Yeah, I don't get to go to the salon much - when you do, you have to make the most of it."
Gordon said there are still 20 children waiting on a waiting list for mentors. Anyone interested in mentoring a child can call 445-3346 or email email@example.com.
• Contact reporter Andrew Pridgen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1219