Despite Ma Nature’s Threatening With Weather Woes, Cattle Baron’s Ball “Shot For The Stars” With Paddles Waving And Guests Partying

Las Vegas oddsmakers thought they had all their bets covered on Saturday, October 21. The Astros were facing off against the Yankees in the 2017 American League playoffs, and the 2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball was facing incredible odds to raise bunches of money for cancer research.

While the Astros won the pennant in Houston and prepared to meet  the L.A .Dodgers in the World Series, the CBB-ers were also rising to the occasion at Gilley’s Dallas. With all types of ugly weather once again threatening to create a Debbie Downer predicament, CBB Co-Chairs Sunie Solomon and Anne Stodghill prepared for battle, making Eisenhower’s D-Day playbook look loosey-goosey.

Steve and Anne Stodghill and Sunie and Steve Solomon

The layout had been redesigned from past CBB gatherings at Gilley’s to address any possible stormy outburst. And as the days got closer and a norther started ambling its way southward, tents sprung up like bluebonnets in spring. Even the brief crosswalk between Gilley’s proper and the football stadium-size tent for the Brooks and Dunn concert was encased. Only the Ferris wheel lay bare.

Ferris wheel

But then, the Baronesses were old hands at dealing with Ma Nature, and Sunie, Anne and their committee members were prepared to take the old wet gal on. One longtime CBB vet was amazed at how seamless the evening went. The POA was created to be flexible, just in case an “Oops!” situation arose. And it did—but more about that later.

While the very fashionable types sported everything from suede skirts to custom boots, the accessory du jour was made of paper. No matter the amount of turquoise worn, it was the color of a guest’s wristband that established their pecking order. Talk about a caste system! It not only determined when and where a guest could venture, but it also reflected your exact ranking of table assignments at the Brooks and Dunn concert—if you scored the limited meet-and-greet with the duo.

Alison and Mike Malone and Hallie Lawrence

John Buchanan and Ken Paxton

Dwight and Claire Emanuelson

Andrea Weber, Mary Parker and Olivia Kearney

Rhonda and Fraser Marcus

Barbara and Don Daseke

Stubbs and Holly Davis and Kent Rathbun

Phil White and Danice Couch

Alex Laurenzi

Tom and Amy Hughes and Pam and Vin Perella

As guests like Ken Paxton (who was attending his first Cattle Baron’s in six or seven years), Claire and Dwight Emanuelson, Pam and Vince Perella, Rhonda and Fraser Marcus, Angela Nash with Billy Martin Jr., Lisa and Marvin Singleton, Olivia and Jeff Kearney, Barbara and Don Daseke, Bethany and Stephen Holloway and past CCB chairs (Olivia Kearney, Jennifer Dix, Cindy Stager, Mary Martha Pickens, Mary Parker, Amy Turner, Katherine Wynne, Tia Wynne, Kristen Sanger and Brooke Shelby) partied in the main ballroom, some super VIPers waited for their meet-and-greet time with Winston and Strawn Live Auction entertainer Pat Green.

Among them: Co-chair Husbands Steve Solomon and Steve Stodghill, longtime friends who passed the time bantering about their outfits (Stodghill bought his tricked-out C&W jacket at Manuel’s in Nashville, it seems, while Solomon joked that he got his duds at Neiman’s). Stodg also revealed that his Winston and Strawn law-firm pals had bought five tables for the big party.  

Terra Najork

Steve Lamb, Pat Green and Deborah Ferguson

Katie Layton, Megan O’Leary, Paige Westhoff, Andrea Nayfa, Pat Green, Diana Hamilton, Terra Najork, Katy Bock, Nancy Gopez

That’s when the “oops” happened. As it turned out, the Pat Green meet-and-greeters waited … and waited … and waited. Seems that Pat had gotten a late start and then had been stuck in traffic. Not to worry, though. Food and beverages were brought in, creating a mini-party, as calls were made checking on Pat’s progress. Once he finally appeared, though, things went perfectly, with Green apologizing to each of the guests as their photos were taken. “It was the craziest thing in the world, trying to get here,” he explained to anyone who would listen. Who couldn’t forgive the baby-faced blonde? In the meantime, Pat’s wife, jewelry designer Kori Green, made her way to Jacqueline Cavender’s table for the performance leading up to the live auction, which would have a different feel tonight.  

Jacqueline Cavender and Kori Green

Pat Green and Steve Stodghill

As the two Co-Chair Hubby Steves introduced Pat to the audience, Pat came up behind Stodgie and wrapped his arms around the attorney. At points throughout his performance, Pat managed to not only play his guitar and sing, but to pose for selfies with loving admirers on the floor. He also chided the crowd at one point: “It’s Saturday night, and you don’t have to apologize until tomorrow. You all sure are quiet Christians! I guess for the Brooks and Dunn show, you’re gonna be hammered!” Pat even spied his Cavendar pals and thanked them for supplying his evening’s entire wardrobe—right down to his undies.

Kevin Kuykendall

Annika Cail

Elizabeth Tripplehorn-Laurenzi

No sooner had Pat left the stage than it was time for the live auction to get underway. Some longtime observers were concerned. After all, stalwart paddle-hoisters like Nancy Rogers, Diane and Hal Brierley and Lisa and Clay Cooley were MIA, due to out-of-town ventures and other commitments. Not to worry. Such names as Wagner, Kuykendall, Fischer, Turner and Maguire not only filled the void, they raised eyebrows. One CBB vet stood in amazement as uber-bidding took place.

An auction package of a trip to Umbria and Florence to create custom porcelain place settings for 16, plus dinner afterwards at Truluck’s Dallas for 20, was won by Sabrina and Kevin Kuykendall for $100,000.

Kevin and Sabrina Kuykendall

Gail and Cliff Fischer

When the poker game with former Dallas Cowboys went up for bid, Cliff Fischer put on his best poker face, waved off auctioneers and watched the bidding proceed. He had snapped it up last year for $100,000 and was playing hard-to-get. Just as the bids slowed to a standstill, Cliff raised his paddle to snap it up for $75,000.

Cary Maguire wheeled up to the Deason table on the front row with his posse just long enough to have the last paddle standing for the Las Vegas package that included a concert with Reba McIntire and Brooks and Dunn for $50,000. No sooner had he signed on the dotted line than the Maguire entourage was gone.

Steve Stodghill and Todd Wagner

Amy Turner

Todd Wagner took home the Indie package for $41,000 and Amy Turner picked up the Chefs’ dinner for a nice round figure.  

A last-minute add was artwork by Ronnie Dunn, who appeared on stage to discuss his artistic venture. Art-loving Steve Stodghill couldn’t resist and snapped up Ronnie’s piece for $14,000.

Like clockwork, the live auction ended and the thousands headed to the big tent. For a handful of super-duper VIPs, it was backstage then for the meet-and-greet with Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn. As per the routine of most grip-and-grins, guests are photographed sans purses and other distractions.

Ronnie Dunn, Anne Stodghill, Sunie Solomon, Kix Brooks and Steve Solomon

But on this occasion, there were the exceptions. Barry Andrews proudly hoisted a Miller Lite. Who could blame the Miller distributor, who had once again sponsored the Miller Distributing Main Stage presented by Miller Lite?

Mike McGuire, Ronnie Dunn, Sophie McGuire, Natalie McGuire, Barry and Lana Andrews and Kix Brooks

Ronnie Dunn, Kinky Friedman, Nicole Barrett and Kix Brooks

And then there was this one fella who couldn’t be separated from his stogie. His name was Richard Friedman, but he’s more commonly known as Kinky Friedman. Perhaps he hadn’t been told that the fundraiser was benefiting the American Cancer Society?

Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn

No sooner had the photo session ended than it was time for Sunie and Anne to greet the more than 3,000 guests from the stage, announce the winners of the raffle, and get the concert underway with salutes to the military. And, what a concert it was! As two-steppers flocked to the front of the stage, Brooks and Dunn pumped out hit after hit: “Brand New Man,” “Red Dirt Road,” “Lost and Found,” “Play Something Country,” “Neon Moon,” “Cowgirls Don’t Cry,” “Husbands and Wives,” “My Next Broken Heart.” Suffice to say, the big crowd got their money’s worth—and more. 

In the distance, meantime, Mother Nature was holding off. She was either was on her best behavior, or flat scared that Steve Stodghill would sue her for tortious interference. Regardless, as if perfectly planned, the heavens opened up and the rain started pouring down just as the final shuttles were hauling guests back to their cars at 2 a.m.

Yup, this year the CBBers had a game plan ready to take on all challenges. And the plan worked out just beautifully.

For a look at the festivities, check out the 90 pictures at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Cattle Baron’s Ball Patrons Were Sipping, Supping And “Shooting For The Stars” At Gail And Cliff Fischer’s Estate

Gail and Cliff Fischer

Gail and Cliff Fisher opened their estate for the Cattle Baron’s Ball patron party on Wednesday, October 4. With a moon overhead that looked like it had been provided by a movie studio, the grounds were filled with bare-shouldered gals and gents in jacket sans ties. This was a CBB business casual type event.

While some lounged in the covered terrace that was an outdoor dining room complete with bar and kitchen and chatted and cocktailed around the pool, others remained inside in the cool of the Fisher air conditioning.

Sure, the temperatures weren’t in the 90s, but the humidity was in overdrive. One guest was heard to say, “Someone shipped in Houston humidity.”

Lisa Ogle

Boyd and Wendy Messmann

Those braving the outdoor humidity included Lisa Ogle with glasses on and selling raffle tickets. Across the way, husband Bill Ogle told Wendy and Boyd Messmann that he had told Lisa to sell, sell, sell those raffle tickets. Otherwise, Bill was going to buy what she didn’t sell. This announcement launched a conversation about seasonal sales. One time a year it’s Cattle Baron’s raffle tickets; another it is Girl Scout Cookies. The very mention of cookies opened the debate of which cookies were the favorites. Top contender among the three were Tagalongs and Samoas.

Andrea Weber, Lee McDonald, Emily Billingsley and Nancy Gopez

Isabell Novakov

Paul Goelzer and Sunie Solomon

Indoors Nikki and Crayton Webb were telling friends that they were still adjusting to their new roles as part of Sunwest Communications… Lawrence Bock, fresh from New York, told how his operations had had a glitch with no internet or emails for two days. Did he find it freeing? Heck, no!… Others looking cool and chic were 2017 CBB Chair Sunie Solomon, 2018 CBB Chair Katy Bock, a passel of past CBB Chairs (2016 CBB Chair Andrea Weber, 2014 Co-Chair Cindy Stager, 2012 Co-Chair KJ Sanger, 2009 Chair Katherine Wynne, 1974 Chair/Co-Founder Jacque Wynne), Nancy Gopez, Dawn Greiner, Isabell Novakov, Lee McDonald, Emily Billingsley, event underwriter Sewell’s Daniella Giglio comparing notes with Neiman’s Marjon Henderson, Elizabeth and Eric Gambrell (according to Elizabeth, as soon as she finishes the Crystal Charity Ball Children’s Book, her sights are set on co-chairing 2018 La Fiesta de Las Seis Banderas with Anne Besser) and late arrival Kent Rathbun, who admitted that after this past year he’s truly appreciative of “just being here.”

Cindy Stager and Dawn Greiner

Marjon Henderson and Daniella Giglio

Kent Rathbun

Eric and Elizabeth Gambrell

2018 Crystal Charity Ball Claire and Dwight Emanuelson (his iPhone had run out of steam to show the trout that didn’t get away) were laughing about his 30th anniversary gift — a Christofle framed photo from a vacation scene. Claire suggested that perhaps the photo selection should be reconsidered. Just minutes earlier, Dwight had pulled a Goldilocks with one of the Fischer’s little benches. While Piper Wyatt and Claire were seated on the couch in front of the fireplace, Dwight took his place on a little bench that broke, landing Dwight on the floor. After uber apologies from Dwight to Gail, the bench went into rehab.

Anne Stodghill and Juli Harrison

Just when the crowd could grow no more, all were called outdoors for welcomes and announcement about the Saturday, October 21st fundraiser at Gilley’s for the American Cancer Society. As 2017 CBB Co-Chairs Anne Stodghill headed outdoors in the steamy surroundings, someone asked her if the talk was going to be lengthy. The red-haired Stodghill in a gold dress and matching shoes didn’t hesitate. “I’m wearing a leather dress. It’s going to be very short.”

BTW, Anne’s day had started off with a bit of a surprise. Seems one of the Stodghill cats had gifted her by dropping a dead frog on her iPad.

More photos can be found on MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball Patron Party

Gail and Cliff Fischer

Lisa Ogle

With the moon overhead and the weather simply perfecto at Gail and Cliff Fischer’s estate, it was the ideal occasion for the 2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball patron party on Wednesday, October 4. Thanks to a touch of humidity in the air, ties were mostly left at home and bare-shouldered sundresses and dangling earrings were the look du jour. A favorite pastime was the buying of  raffle tickets for the upcoming Saturday, October 21, fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.

Cindy Stager and Dawn Greiner

Boyd and Wendy Messmann

Andrea Weber, Lee McDonald, Emily Billingsley and Nancy Gopez

The only “oops” of the night was one guest taking a seat on a little bench. While that moment and others are being written up, check out the pixs at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Cattle Baron’s Ball

According to 2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball Co-Chairs Sunie Solomon and Anne Stodghill,

Anne Stodghill and Sunie Solomon (File photo)

The Cattle Baron’s Ball relies on the spirit and generosity of the Metroplex to fund the fight against cancer. Since 1974, we’ve raised more than $71 million for cancer research, the majority of which is conducted right here in DFW. True to Texas’ history of rising to the challenge, we’ve become the world’s largest single-night fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.

While some might be hand-wringing at the prospect of continuing a legacy of ensuring more cancer research dollars are spent in Dallas than anywhere else in the country, they probably aren’t familiar with the members of the Cattle Baron’s Ball. Fortunately, the Cattle Baron’s Ball Committee is not comprised of the faint-of-heart – as evidenced by the fact that the CBB is the largest single-night fundraiser in the nation for cancer research through the American Cancer Society.

Join the fight and help us continue to make a difference! Cattle Baron’s Ball continues to support the American Cancer Society in the following incredible ways:

  • Provided more than 30,000 services to cancer patients in North Texas
  • Gave 7,414 rides to and from treatment
  • More than 1,500 free wigs were provided free of charge to cancer patients
  • More than 1,000 breast cancer patients were visited by our Reach to Recovery volunteers
  • Helped to enact strong state and local smoke-free laws that protect workers and the public from the dangers of secondhand smoke
  • Connected patients with more than 64,000 different treatment options, through our Clinical Trials Matching Service
  • Found the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer

Brooks and Dunn*

Dust off your boots and join us at Gilley’s on Saturday, October 21, for some serious Texas barbecue, the best silent and live auctions in town, followed by a heart-stopping performance from award-winning country and western entertainers Brooks and Dunn.

Everyone knows someone affected by cancer. From attending the ball to purchasing a raffle ticket, get involved with Cattle Baron’s Ball however you can and help us continue making a difference. 


* Photo provided by 
2017 Cattle Baron's 

James Frary To Chair American Cancer Society’s CEOs Against Cancer Chapter Of North Texas

James Frary was just announced as the head of the American Cancer Society’s CEOs Against Cancer Chapter of North Texas. As part of his responsibilities he will be focusing “on a variety of issues facing working professionals from diverse industries across the northern half of the state. He will direct the newly established North Texas chapter to address cancer’s impact on the workforce, including improving employee heath, workplace productivity and health care costs.”

James Frary*

For his day job, Frary is executive vice president of AmerisourceBergen, “a global leader in specialty pharmaceutical distribution and services.”

A graduate of Stanford University, James earned his MBA from Harvard Business School.

According to James, “Providing barrier free access to treatments for patients and the providers who are supporting their battle against cancer is a enormous focus for associates at AmerisourceBergen and a topic that I’m personally passionate about. To that end, I am excited and proud to work with the Society to empower the North Texas business community to be leaders in the fight against cancer.”

Cattle Baron’s Ball Fall Luncheon At New Del Frisco’s Was Rich With The Presentation Of $3,350,448.16 Check

The fall Cattle Baron’s luncheon is a handing over of the reins. It’s when the current chairs present a big-boy check for cancer research earned from their tenure and let the new co-chairs formally take over.

This year the transition took place on Wednesday, November 9, at the really new Del Frisco’s at the corner of Olive and McKinney in Uptown.

Whoa! Don’t make the mistake that some new guests made. It wasn’t the Del Frisco’s Grille further up McKinney. Nope, it was at the OMG newest hot spot in Uptown.

And while the valets seemed a bit overwhelmed at the bumper-to-bumper parade of luxury SUV’s with long legged, stiletto drivers and the hostess station held the guests downstairs until all was just right upstairs, who cared?

Vodi Cook, Lauren Snyder, Lee McDonald and Emily Billingsley

From former CBB chairs (Olivia Kearney, Tanya Foster, Cindy Stager, Brooke Shelby, Jennifer Dix, Tia Wynne, Mary Parker, Mary Martha Pickens, KJ Sanger) to new members (Vodi Cook, Lee McDonald, Heather Randall, Andrea Cheek, Daniella Giglio, Holle Hirzel, Kelley Schadt, Rachel Stienke and Kristina Wrenn) all types were celebrating the fundraiser of a couple of weeks earlier headed up by Cara French and Andrea Weber and looking forward to future plans under the leadership of 2017 CBB Co-Chair Sunie Solomon and Anne Stodghill.

Andrea Weber and Cara French*

But the highlight of the meal was the presentation of the check — $3,350,448.16 — for the American Cancer Society.

* Photo credit: Holt Haynsworth

Countdown Time For 2016 Cattle Baron’s Ball Is Underway

This evening while Dwight Yoakam is on stage in Midland and Toby Keith is singing at the BOK Center in Tulsa, there are 100 Cattle Baronesses who have been preparing for Saturday’s American Cancer Society fundraiser featuring both of these country western icons.

When the gals started out for Gilley’s this morning, all they knew was rainy skies outside and chilly temps inside the honky-tonk. Luckily, setting up the hundreds of silent auction items, doling out the goodies for the much-vaunted favor bags and arranging for final logistics warmed things up.

2016 Cattle baron's Ball committee

2016 Cattle Baron’s Ball committee

Even after lunch, when the entire committee gathered for a group photo, the thought was whether the wet stuff was going to hang around. It really, sincerely didn’t matter like the old days when the event was held in cow pastures and Southfork. Nowadays, the ladies have relocated the whole kit-and-caboodle to Gilley’s with its bigger-than-a-small-city tent for the main concert. However, drippy weather does take the bounce out of hair dos and who wants to splash their ostrich boots in puddles?

Luckily, the past CBB chairs brought good news with them for their group photo — the rain was gone. In its place was nothing but sunshine.

Past and 2016 Cattle Baron's chairs from the left: (seated) Cindy Turner, Amy Turner, Olivia Kearney, Cara French, Andrea Weber, Tanya Foster, Cindy Stager and Joan Eleazer; (standing) Cindy Lindsley, Vicki Chapman, Karol Bruton, Kristen Sanger, Tia Wynne, Mary Parker and Katherine Wynne

Past and 2016 Cattle Baron’s chairs from the left: (seated) Cindy Turner, Amy Turner, Olivia Kearney, Cara French, Andrea Weber, Tanya Foster, Cindy Stager and Joan Eleazer; (standing) Cindy Lindsley, Vicki Chapman, Karol Bruton, Kristen Sanger, Tia Wynne, Mary Parker and Katherine Wynne

But wait! There was even more good news. Saturday’s forecast is for more sun and warmer temperatures. So, there will be no need for umbrellas and long johns. Instead it will a strutting display of turquoise, leathers and Stetsons on some mighty fine looking fundraisers.

If you’ve got your ticket,

  • fast now and snarf down the vittles tomorrow night. It’ll crazy grazing time.
  • get in line for the Ferris wheel with its spectacular view of downtown Dallas and the Margaret bridges.
  • make sure you’ve got your “credentials” for entry and your favor bag ticket.
  • consider Ubering to and from.
  • start checking the silent auction items online now and pick out which ones you’re gonna take home.
  • get a great spot to bid on the live auction items. If your budget was blown on your wardrobe, then get a place to watch the highrollers roll up the bids.
  • budget some dough to buy raffle tickets. After all, you could probably use a new car or watch or …

Cattle Baronesses Gather At Bistro 31 To Kick Off Fundraising For Naming Of Hope Lodge Suite

As storms were cooking up down in Stephenville on Tuesday, May 10, the Cattle Baronesses were gathering at Bistro 31 to kick off their newest project — to raise $100,000 for Cattle Baron’s Ball’s naming of a Hope Lodge Suite.

Cara French and Andrea Weber

Cara French and Andrea Weber

Co-Chairs Cara French and Andrea Weber reported that if 200 present and/or past committee members would contribute at least $500, they’d meet their goal.

FYI: Hope Lodge is the American Cancer Society facility being built at the Baylor University Medical Center campus that will provide residence for those seeking treatment for cancer in the North Texas area and their families. It is a godsend for people who should not have to worry about where they can stay while trying to save their lives.

Amy Turner and Katherine Wynne

Amy Turner and Katherine Wynne

But all the talk on this evening was not limited to the need for Hope Lodge. Andrea surprised some of the guests with news that she was not just pregnant. Nope. She’s due to deliver a son just days before the Saturday, October 15, fundraiser at Gilley’s.

In the meantime, Cara was recalling the night before when she and more than a dozen gals attended the Beyonce concert at AT&T Stadium. Review: It was spectacular. One wished Queen B had done some of her old tunes.

2005 CBB Chair Amy Turner in shorts with Chanel purse chatted with 2009 CBB Chair Katherine Wynne, who was on her way to the Zoo To Do kick-off party at the Dallas Zoo.

JUST IN: 2016 Cattle Baron’s Ball Headliner, Theme, Date And Place Revealed

Toby Keith*

Toby Keith*

Well, hot dang! The 2016 Cattle Baron’s Ball Co-Chairs Cara French and Andrea Weber just did the great reveal at 1130 Dragon Street for the 43rd annual American Cancer Society mega-fundraiser. This year’s theme will be “Texas Proud” and will have the thousands returning to Gilley’s on Saturday, October 15.

As for the headliner on the Main Stage, it will be award-winner Toby Keith. It’s been 11 years since Toby headlined the CBB and he’s been a busy fella since then, having met up with the likes of Bobby Jo and her twin sister Betty Lou and just recently releasing “35 MPH Town.”

In addition to performing for the 2016 CBB, the country/western singer is personally committed to fighting cancer. His Toby Keith Foundation “supports and operates OK Kids Korral, a home for children battling cancer” in Oklahoma City.

The reveal gathering was presented by Clay Cooley Auto Group, but more about the party later.

* Photo provided by 2016 Cattle Baron's Ball

JUST IN: 2015 Cattle Baron’s Ball Mary Martha Pickens And Tia Wynne Hand Over A $4,285,759 Check To American Cancer Society

Is there anything better than those two magic words — “Sold Out!”? Yup! It’s a check presentation. And that explains all the smiles at The Joule Hotel today at the annual Cattle Baron’s Ball Fall Luncheon.

The 2015 Co-Chairs Mary Martha Pickens and Tia Wynne were the cause of the happy faces as they handed over a check for $4,285,759 to the American Cancer Society. The money was the net amount…not just the funds raised…resulting from the October 3rd mega-gala at Gilley’s with Tim McGraw handling the onstage entertainment.

Andrea Weber, Tia Wynne, Jonika Nix, Anne Stodghill, Cara French, Katy Bock, Isabell Novakov and Mary Martha Pickens*

Andrea Weber, Tia Wynne, Jonika Nix, Anne Stodghill, Cara French, Katy Bock, Isabell Novakov and Mary Martha Pickens*

The ladies’ celebration of the achievement was short-lived, though. 2016 Co-Chairs Cara French and Andrea Weber are already in overdrive to raise even more funds. Plans will follow in the days and weeks to come about where it will be, who will headline the show and other “wonderful things.”

* Photo provided by Cattle Baron's Ball

JUST IN: New Cattle Baronesses Announced

Just when it seemed like there couldn’t possibly any more news to announce, those adorable cowbell ringing Cattle Baronesses came through. So, what could they possibly be revealing after their stellar event on October 3? How about the newest crop of Cattle Baronesses. Since there can only be 100 Baronesses, the precious open spots are few and far between.

Cara French (File photo)

Cara French (File photo)

Andrea Weber (File photo)

Andrea Weber (File photo)

2016 CBB Co-Chairs Cara French and Andrea Weber report the new Baronesses are Allison Lent, Catherine Jaynes, Debbie Munir, Emily Billingsley, Hadley Galt, Heather LeClair, Jennifer Tobin, Katherine Harper, Kristin Baker, Lauren Gass, Lauren Hill, Rachel Michell, Taryn McDonald, Theresa Stambaugh and Virginia Schaefer.

Each has a story and reason why they’re taking up the banner to defeat cancer.

Suggestion to the initiates: Start working your arm muscles for cow-bell ringing and remember cancer can only win if you give it time.

Who knows? One of these women just might raise the funding that might finally defeat cancer or one of its minions. The idea of a world without disease’s greatest terrorists would be such a breathtaking feat. Take a moment. Imagine the headline — “Cancer defeated.”

Go Cara, Andrea, new Baronesses on the block and tried-and-true CBB-ers.

JUST IN: 2014 Cattle Baronesses Present A $3,780,000 Check To Battle Cancer

The Cattle Baron’s Ball ladies just had their Fall luncheon at the Ritz Carlton, where the 2014 Co-Chairs Cindy Stager and Jill Tananbaum looked stress-free and very proud… with good reason. They and their team of gals presented a check for $3,780,000 to the American Cancer Society.

2014 Cattle Baron's Ball check presentation

2014 Cattle Baron’s Ball check presentation

While many groups may brag about how much they raised, the number that matters is the amount on the check that is handed over.

Congrats to the ladies for a fun party at Gilley’s and a rocking check!

2015 Cattle Baron Co-Chairs Mary Martha Pickens and Tia Wynne Round Up New Cattle Baronesses

Nikki Webb (File photo)

Nikki Webb (File photo)

The 2014 Cattle Baron’s Ball Co-Chairs Cindy Stager and Jill Tananbaum are still tallying the final funds raised and the 2015 CBB leadership of Mary Martha Pickens and Tia Wynne are already in high gear for the American Cancer Society hoot-and-holler moneymaker.

Tuesday they’re having a get-together of their new members including Lisa Bhattacharya, Annika Cail, Adriane Crosland, Christine Danuser, Lora Farris, Elizabeth Fischer, Abby Gregory, Jamie Jo Hayes, Merrick Huckin, Karen James, Natalie Fogiel Moon, Meghann O’Leary, Bina Palnitkar Patel, Laura Reeder, Lisa Hadow Shirley, Lauren Snyder and Nikki Webb.

Mary Martha and Tia are hard at work picking a date, place and headliner for the event. They’re got their work cut out for themselves after this year’s mega-success.


2014 Cattle Baron’s Ball Headed Indoors With Kenny Chesney, A Gas Monkey And Men-In-Black-Polo-Shirts

WARNING: Settle back with a jug of coffee or a carafe of wine because this post is going to be a long one. If words aren’t your thing, then just check out the pictures on MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

The sun was shining and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky on Saturday, October 18. Veteran Cattle Baron’s Ball-ers were feeling a bit off balance. They were used to years of hourly updates on the weather and dreading a drenching. After all, in the past 10 years of holding the American Cancer Society fundraiser at area ranches (The Farm, Travis Ranch, Star Brand Ranch) and Southfork, only three had been washouts, but those three had been legendary. After the 2009 “Mud Ball” at Star Brand Ranch, it was decided that the whole kit-and-caboodle would move to Southfork because of its convention center that could be used as a proposed weather backup. And that’s where it stayed until last year’s gulley washers. Evidently the convention center couldn’t accommodate the thousands of guests after all. That night 2014 CBB Co-Chairs Cindy Stager and Jill Tananbaum decided there was no debating the matter. The next fundraiser would be indoor come “hail” or high water. The major sponsors and donors once again returned to back the 100 ladies of Cattle Baron’s and their battle to conquer cancer.

Kenny Chesney

Kenny Chesney

But where would be a place big enough to accommodate such an event indoors? American Airlines Center was out of the question due to the Stars’ and Mavericks’ schedules. A similar problem existed for a move to AT&T Stadium with the Dallas Cowboys schedule. So, the gals decided on Gilley’s. As the year progressed they upped the excitement announcing that Kenny Chesney would be the headliner, despite an impressive price tag and his decision not to tour for the year. In order to accommodate the 3,200+ guests plus a Kenny Chesney concert, Gilley’s was going to have to undergo some adjustments.

First there was the tent. No, not just a tent. It was The Tent, a fabric structure that could accommodate a blimp. In this case, it was to cover the thousands of tables and chairs and the gargantuan Andrews Distributing Stage, come rain or shine. It was built on Gilley’s concrete parking lot, so there was no way mud was going to dirty up the party goers’ pristine boots.

The day before the event, Jill was still vexing about the lack of gutters — both elevated and along the ground. But on this night, it was high and dry, so the subject of gutters seemed like suggesting air conditioner units for igloos. Still, Jill said she wanted the 2015 Co-Chairs Mary Martha Pickens and Tia Wynne to know that gutters should be in place. That is, if they returned to Gilley’s.

Then there was the issue of the parking. Since the Gilley’s parking lot was now home of The Tent, where were people to park? With 3,000+ coming, taking care of their modes of transportation posed a challenge. But remote parking at two locations in downtown Dallas with shuttle buses was put into place for Baron VIP’s and General Admission. Those with Rockstar VIP status or using “commercial transportation” had the luxury of being dropped off at Gilley’s.

Gary Ferraro

Gary Ferraro

Since the event was in Dallas, the Dallas Police were the conductors of how traffic would flow. Anyone who thought a handshake and a wink at Jack Boles folks would work were soon to learn that Gary Ferraro and Kathy Weideman were at the mercy of Dallas’ finest, too. The Boles team was also juggling personal cars and the parade of “Ubers.” As one CBB traffic vet surmised, “Uber should be the presenting sponsor.”

Despite the hordes of black SUV’s and limos, the standout in the lineup was one son-of-an-18-wheeler, white vehicle that unloaded 18 pals of Jill’s.

Jill Tananbaum (center in black dress) with friends

Jill Tananbaum (center in black dress) with friends

To ease the arrival logistics, the 1,600 VIP party guests had a private entrance into the South Side Music Hall and a starting time of 6 p.m. with Sam Moore on stage. The general admission partiers were to arrive at Gilley’s front door starting at 7 p.m.

Another change was the need for tickets. In the past, guests just breezed on in. This time the ticket was required not to just get in Gilley’s proper but to gain entrance into The Tent.

D'Andra Simmons

D’Andra Simmons

As VIP-ers arrived, they were greeted by D’Andra Simmons, who was described by one onlooker as knowing everyone and being hugged by everyone.

Inside Gilley’s, the complex had been transformed into a CBB wonderland with signage and rooms for silent auctions and games. The centerpiece was the 23,000-square-foot South Side Ballroom with Mockingbird Sun and the live auction on the Bank of America/Merrill Lynch/U.S. Trust stage. To the side of the stage was parked the Gas Monkey Garage auction item — a custom, restored Chevy pickup. It plus a day’s venture to the garage and palling around with Richard R. Rawlings was valued at $200,000. Filling the dance floor were rows of chairs and setup of tables and chairs for high rollers. Just beyond the dance floor were elevated Country Rocker VIP Lounge for top-tier underwriters.

Adjacent to the building was the well-lit Deloitte Food Court tent where rows of buffet lines soon were busy with hungry barons and baronesses. For some it was a bit of a light shock coming from the dark, honky-tonk interior of Gilley’s to the brightly lit food court.

Lewis Carlson, Emily Koehler, Nancy and Clint Carlson

Lewis Carlson, Emily Koehler, Nancy and Clint Carlson

Nancy and Clint Carlson along with son Lewis Carlson and Emily Koehler had plates filled to the max… Janie Condon was doing double-duty filling plates for herself and husband David.

Just between the building and The Tent was the MetroPCS Ferris Wheel that seemed downright pint-sized compared to The Tent. Still the lineup seemed to never end for a spin in the clear evening air.

In the meantime, the VIP Lounge was buzzing with activity. The co-chairs greeted each person like an old friend. One person teased Cindy about her birthday the day before. She had postponed the official celebration until Monday. So, where did she eat din-din Friday night? Why, El Fenix on Northwest Highway.

Sam Moore

Sam Moore

Meanwhile, the VIP-ers kept the Truluck staff moving trying to meet the demands for food. Despite Sam Moore being a hit on stage, Steve Stodghill wasn’t paying attention. He was focused on the TV over the bar televising the Texas-Iowa State football game. Good thang. It was a close one.

But the lounge wasn’t as crowded as organizers had feared. Guests tended to get their drinks and enjoy the camaraderie, then head to explore the rest of the CBB wonderland including the Mercedes that was one of the raffle prizes and the treasures in the silent auction areas.

At 7:30 p.m. an elite number of guests quietly disappeared. They had headed to The Tent that had been cleared of all humans. Not even the wait staff was allowed in. Quietly the small group of special people were led on stage for a meet-and-greet with Kenny. As photos were taken, other guests tried to enter The Tent to sit at their assigned tables to chow down. After all, Jill had announced The Tent would be available for seating at a morning meeting. And besides, the Andrews Distributing Main Stage had always been open for folks to settle back and relax at past CBB’s.

But, no, not on this night. A lineup of men in black Polo shirts with serious faces waved the guests off, telling them it was off limits. Auctioneer Louis Murad tried to get in with a plate of food explaining that he just wanted to check the tent out. No go. It might have helped had there been some of the adorable Baronesses on hand to diplomatically explain the delayed opening of the tent.

Richard R. Rawlings and Suzanne Rawlings

Richard R. Rawlings and Suzanne Rawlings

One couple who was turned away was Richard “Gas Monkey” Rawlings and his ex-wife Suzanne. Despite their divorce, they were still friends and she was looking forward to the Chesney concert, plus the opportunity to meet Kenny. Thanks to the co-chairs that opportunity was possible. But that didn’t sway the boys in black.

Remember it was Richard who had donated that $200,000 auction package. Did he pull a “Do you know I am?” Nope. He and Suzanne were cool. They just ambled back to the ballroom, where The Discovery Channel crew taped him with his pickup.

Seems there was a “failure to communicate” between the rest of the world and the CBB’s backstage manager about who could attend the meet-and-greet and the availability of The Tent.

But back to Richard. He wasn’t through. Once the live auction started, he got in the swim of things and won an item. He was in good company with winning bidders like Nancy Rogers and Dallas Snadon.

For those just watching and wandering, the entertainment was chat and catch up. Traffic LA’s Matthew Simon revealed that he was headed to Atlanta because his partner Keith Schumann had been transferred…Pete Foster was trying out his new iPhone 6 camera with wife Tanya Foster and buddy Gina Betts as models…Eugene Jabbour reported that wife Melanie is expecting a daughter in April…To the horror of one CBB staffer, a man sauntered through the ballroom smoking a cigarette. So very wrong in so many ways at an American Cancer Society fundraiser!

Tracy Lange

Tracy Lange

Fashion-wise, black was the color du jour. Some took the bare shoulder route (Kris Johnson, Amy Green, Isabell Novakov, Mary Gill, Holly Deason), while others opted for leather (Diane Brierley, Tina Rich, Kelly Barnes, Nikki Webb, Stephanie Oakes ). But leave it to Tracy Lange to be the real showstopper with Chanel necklace and purse. Of course, there were the more daring ones who shunned the black for more colorful attire like Nancy Rogers in brighter-than-bright white, shirt, suede fringe skirt with boots (“They’re from the 80’s!”) and delicious turquoise-and-diamond jewelry, Anne Stodghill in orange sequins to match her hair, Olivia Kearney, Traci McGuiness, Dallas Snadon and Katie McDaniel in wedding cake white and Paige McDaniel in a Lone Star jacket from a past DIFFA auction.

Mixing color with a touch of the old west were American Airlines’ Sarah Fullhart in a purple and white checked country girl dress topped off with braids, Bernadette Schaeffler taking a German pioneer look and Nardos Imam in a steel-blue dress with billowing skirt that stopped just short of her cowgirl boots.

Naturally splashes of turquoise were everywhere — Leisa Street, Brooke Hortensine, Laura Jorgeson, Amy Van Cleave, Kristi Hoyl, Andrea Weber, Joanna Clarke, Barbara Daseke and Lisa Ogle to name a few.


Bell-ringing Cattle Baronesses

Cowbell-ringing Cattle Baronesses

With cowbells ringing and Baronesses like Marybeth Conlon, Kim Bannister, Julianna LeBlanc, Merry Wyatt and Dawn Grenier hollering, the live auction got underway. Roz Colombo admitted that she had been exercising to strengthen her arm for the lengthy ringing. As KXAS’s Deborah Ferguson and auctioneer Murad kept the pace going to get top bids for more than 25 items, Co-Chair Cindy sat on the front row saying, “The live auction always worries me.”

Cindy Stager

Cindy Stager

But there was no need to worry. It went well. One surprise was the Chefs’ Dinner. Traditionally, the chefs Richard Chamberlain, Dean Fearing, Kevin Garvin, David Holben, Kent Rathbun and Jim Severson appeared on stage to pony up the bidding. This year Dean wasn’t able to make it.

While all of that was going on, there were behind-the-scene rumblings that Kenny was a little anxious to get the show on. It had been scheduled for 10:10, but Kenny wanted to get going early. He had to wait for the auction to finish and the multitudes to fill The Tent.

No problem. As soon as the final bid was submitted, the thousands moved quite orderly to the never-ending rows of tables with barely room to squeeze by.

Kenny Chesney

Kenny Chesney

Before anyone knew it, Kenny and his No Shoes Tour exploded on stage with lights and sound equipment so loud that parts of South Dallas felt like they were part of the festivities. Some guests were literally blown out of their seats and headed home after the first couple of tunes. Evidently, it was a case of too much of a good thing.

Marena Gault and Sherwood Wagner

Marena Gault and Sherwood Wagner

Gonzalo Bueno, Brian Bolke and Faisal Halum

Gonzalo Bueno, Brian Bolke and Faisal Halum

In the pit nearest the main stage were Lana and Barry Andrews, Natalie and Mike McGuire, Brian Bolke and Faisal Hallum, Gonzalo Bueno, Marena Gault, Sherwood Wagner and other sky-high underwriters who got an up-close-and-personal view of Kenny in his baseball cap, jeans, T-shirt and boots.

At first it was a perfect view of the stage. But then guests just couldn’t resist standing along the front stage extension. As the crowd grew, it either blocked the view of people seated at tables or forced them to stand, too. No real problem. With Kenny rocking, it was hard to sit still. As for the crowd getting too rowdy or rushing the stage, not to worry one iota. The men in black Polo shirts with the serious faces were on the scene.

Cattle Baron’s 40th Anniversary Celebration Proved Hunkering Down With Mud, Hay And Rascals Can Be Memorable And Profitable

For 40 years the Cattle Baron’s Ball has grown funds to battle cancer. There have been years when it was so hot that skimpy cowgirl outfits seemed downright proper. And then there were the ones in which mud was the unfavored favor to take home. Regardless of the conditions, no two have been exactly the same, and chances are the ones which pitted tireless volunteers against overwhelming weather conditions proved to be the memory makers, as well as major fundraisers.

So this year’s 40th anniversary celebration was one such memory maker.


Years ago KRLD’s Bob Goosmann came to the Metroplex as the KTVT meteorologist. You would have thought he had been named a Super Bowl quarterback. To Goose and other weather professionals, the North Texas region is the most challenging and amazing place to practice their trade. That’s because the area is hit from all sides — northern slams from Canada, tropical blows from the Gulf and cold fronts over the Rockies. They all seem to mix it up in the Dallas/Fort Worth neighborhood.

This situation explains why event planners shiver and suck Maalox when they take on an outdoor event.


For decades. . . four to be exact. . . the Cattle Baron’s Ball ladies had ducked the bullet pretty much. That was until the past four years. Like a nasty prize fighter, Mother Nature had sucker-punched the American Cancer Society fundraiser. After the infamous Mud Ball of 2009, where guests abandoned limousines, hitched rides back to Dallas and sought boot relief at Deno’s, organizers promised that backup plans would be the priority. The next two years (2010 and 2011) Ma Nature evidently took time off. Frankly, the old gal was embarrassed and hid out in a Cabo spa.

Then last year she came back with a vengeance. Alas, the back-up plan of using the Southfork convention center backfired, with guests up to their knees in mud and one bus catching on fire as it attempted to transport guests from the ranch to a nearby parking lot. Despite the soaking, the CBB raised an incredible $3,561,800+. And once again, Deno’s kicked into boot therapy.

All this history only rallied the CBB to swear to one and all that if the slightest smidgeon of a drop of rain was predicted, the back-up plan of moving the shindig from Southfork to the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center (KBHCC) would kick in for 2013.

After all, 2013 was going to be a big year. The October 5 party would be the 40th CBB and the attendance was gearing up to a whopping 3,000. If a rain plan to move to KBHCC was to be put into gear, the decision would be made the Monday before. Some skeptics were a little surprised that such an early deadline was in place, but there was a lot of logistics to orchestrate for the 2013 “Spur On!” gala.

Days Leading Up To 2013 Cattle Baron’s Ball

Monday, September 30 — First thing in the morning, Co-Chair Brooke Shelby emailed word that all skies were clear, so there was no question of proceeding with the outdoor POA. Still the executive committee had to take a vote and they agreed it was “All-Systems Go!” However, there were one or two weather programs suggesting that there just might be a possible 10% chance of rain Friday. But they were so in the minority.

Tuesday, October 1 — There was a slight increase in the predictions that Friday and early Saturday could be hit by a cold front and possible rain. Despite the original Monday deadline to put the rain plan in place, the executive committee met and decided to stay at Southfork. One member wanted to head to KBHCC just to play it safe. But the feeling was that it just wasn’t CBB if it were held indoors.

Wednesday, October 2 — The rain and chill chances were starting to rise. It was now the ultimate last chance to move to KBHCC. But tents were already erected at Southfork and even if it did rain Friday afternoon and even Saturday morning, it couldn’t be as bad as last year.. .  or, at least, that’s what they thought.

Beautiful weather Friday morning

Beautiful weather Friday morning

Friday, October 4 — The weather in the morning was beautiful as the CBB assembled to stuff goody bags, set up the silent auction tent and make last minute preparations. Still, some eyes looked to the skies and saw clouds that made them feel uneasy.

That night the temperatures started dropping ever so slightly and rain was falling off and on at Southfork. That was news to the folks in Dallas. It was just humid and a touch warm. Signs of a cold front were in place. North Texas was starting to take on the appearance of a Weather Channel program. Meteorologists were having a field day trying to figure out what the future held.

The Big Day

The rain was off and on during the day, but the temperature had dropped and the wind had become a factor creating a wind chill not felt since February. Word went out to wear warm. Since most CBB vets knew the drill, it meant comfort trumped showy. So, no bare midriffs, teeny weeny skirts or mountainous hairdos. The good news was that turquoise, boots and fur vests would feel at home while being fashionable. Pity the newbies in their stilettos and cocktail attire.

U.S. Marshals on horseback

U.S. Marshals on horseback

6:00 p.m. — As VIP guests were welcomed by two lineups of U.S. Marshals in rain gear on horseback, everything seemed fine. The rain had stopped, the grounds were hardly moist and the wind had calmed down. In fact the Bank of America/Merrill Lynch/U.S. Trust Silent Auction tent with three enclosed sides was almost toasty. Trulucks servers passed “bites” for guests and a huge mountain of Sprinkles mini-cupcakes towered on a table. On stage KXAS anchor Deborah Ferguson welcomed all and Cleburne’s own Sonny Burgess performed. The singer from Cleburne quipped, “Glad to see a little bit of rain, but it’s not going to spoil our fun, is it?”

Cattle Baron's Ball outdoor set up

Cattle Baron’s Ball outdoor set up

Outside all was in place — the giant boots and cowboy hat atop the food stations and bars, the Ferris wheel, the Andrews Distributing Main Stage with acres of round tables covered in tablecloths, the faux bonfire and restroom trailers.

Still CBB-er, like Cara French, were checking their smartphones for weather updates as well as the clouds above that looked like bruised cauliflower. They didn’t trust Mother Nature and sensed that she had something up her sleeve.

The tunnel

The tunnel

Just to play it safe, the organizers had erected an enclosed walkway from the Brierley + Partners valet parking to the American Airlines Silent Auction Tent and the live auction tent. They also went through the favor bags and pulled out the Celanese-sponsored umbrellas just in case guests might need them at some point.

Outside the silent auction tent, a Lyday Farm’s Egyptian Arabian horse was in a portable corral. He wasn’t up for bid but rather a breeding option was. Ooh, just a hint of sex to spice up things!

Brooke Hortenstine and Alicia Wood

Brooke Hortenstine and Alicia Wood

_MG_96876:35 p.m. — As if she had been waiting for just the right moment, Mother Nature unloaded as the bulk of guests started to arrive, forcing them to use the tunnel system. As they found their way through the unmarked maze to the live auction tent, guests discovered that the rain had found an opening between the tented tunnel and the live auction tent.

Umbrella coverage

Umbrella coverage

As one gent held an umbrella to shield guests as they puddle hopped into the tent, CBB-ers Brooke Hortenstine and Alicia Wood tore bales of hay apart and spread it over the growing mud pit. Then boards were brought in to create a more substantial walkway. Didn’t really matter. The rain and mud were becoming the accessories du jour. If you weren’t wearing mud or didn’t look a bit wet, you just seemed as out of place as stilettos. Like war vets, some folks actually were bragging about their past CBB mud encounters.

Then the rain slightly let up causing a sigh of relief. But it was brief.

Cloudy skies

Cloudy skies

6:50 p.m. — A big clap of thunder announced the approach of another of Mother Nature’s spoiling ways. The rain poured down outside the tents. A handful of folks gazed at the dripping wet stuff. Most just lined up at the bars, settled back on couches in the back of the tent, chatted it up and/or took a spin or two on the dance floor in front of the stage. Only problem was that the mud on the boots was starting to appear on the dance flooring, making it a sliding experience.

Mud on the dance floor

Mud on the dance floor

7:05 p.m. — Deborah with mic in hand tried to talk to the crowd, but no one could hear her. They were talking too much. There was another shake-rattle-and-roll crack of thunder.

The live auction tent was now getting a bit crowded. The reason? The original plan called for the SoftLayer Technologies Inc., VIP Baron Party to wind down around 7 and for guests to join the regular types in the open for the food courts, AT&T Beer Garden, Ferris wheel and other venues that were now in monsoon conditions. Instead, VIP’s and regulars were hunkering down in the two tents with emphasis on the live auction tent.

Live auction tent

Live auction tent

And then there was the food problem. The Trulucks folks were supposed to have downsized their operation because Eddie Deen’s food courts were to take over. But the Deen stations were out there in the rain.

7:20 p.m. — Still more thunder. Santa Barbara’s Hilary and Jim Griffin blew off the rainy conditions with humor: “When we want to see rain, we come to Cattle Baron’s.” This attitude was becoming contagious. People were actually laughing at the conditions.

Deborah Ferguson

Deborah Ferguson

Deborah returned to the stage admitting that trying to predict the weather is impossible. “Baby, let the rain fall and the let the party go on.” She then told them about the tunnel leading to the silent auction tent. Surprised guests shot off to the tent for some bargain shopping.

7:30 p.m.Hudson Moore took over the singing duties on the stage. Ironically, his songs included, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” and “Here Comes the Sun.”

Food being brought into the live auction tent

Food being brought into the live auction tent

Food was now being schlepped in via servers holding metal pans covered with aluminum foil. They only got a couple of yards inside the tent before their pans were emptied.

A bully ride

A bully ride

Guests were now settling down to a cozy come together. The mechanical bull was starting to look more inviting. Unfortunately, a sedentary bull is easier to sit than a slo-mo rocking and rolling one, as many found out.

The legendary CBB chefs (Richard Chamberlain, Dean Fearing, Kevin Garvin, David Holben, Ken Rathbun and Jim Severson) started gathering. Sevy blew the weather off, “What is this, three out of the last four? All we can do is try to raise as much money as we can.”

Past CBB chairs like Gina Betts, Skye Brewer, Tanya Foster, Kristi Hoyl, Katherine LaLonde and Jacque Wynne joined the committee members in making the very best of things. They didn’t have to try too hard. Folks were settling into this mega foxhole and just partying.

Zac Crain and Cristina Daglas walking through the mud

Zac Crain and Cristina Daglas walking through the mud and hay

7:52 p.m. — In the center of the live auction tent a mystery muddy and hay-strewn bog had developed. Where it came from, no one knew, but guests were no longer sidestepping the problem. They just strolled right through it.

Egyptian Arabian

Egyptian Arabian

As if to take on a Noah’s Ark feel, that Egyptian Arab was now in the back of the live auction tent. He looked a tad bit anxious. Who could blame the pony? After all, he had gone from standing outside in a thunderstorm to now being in a tent with a mechanical bull and a crowd of party folks. As his handlers wiped him off, believe it or not, few noticed him.

Behind the scenes, negotiations were still underway to have Rascal Flatts perform. The traditional meet-and-greet with VVIP’s had long ago been scratched. Nobody could really blame the musicians. After all, their contract, like most, had an “all bets are off” if it rains. Despite a few diehard guests sitting at tables in front of the Andrews Main Stage, there was no way that Rascal Flatts was going to play with thunder, lightning and rain.

David Holben, Jim Severson, Hal Brierley, Mary Gill, Kent Rathbun, Diane Brierley and Kevin Garvin

David Holben, Jim Severson, Hal Brierley, Mary Gill, Kent Rathbun, Diane Brierley and Kevin Garvin

8:45 p.m. — The live auction was now on with Louis Murad and his crew ready to rustle up some big dough and CCB-er ringing their cowbells. It was a gangbuster. Five-figures were flying like private jets out of Love Field. The Survivors Table honoring cancer survivors and guests was sold to three for $100,000 each. . .  The Chefs Package was adjusted, so that each of the six would host a different dinner for the winner throughout the year. Sevy, who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer, told the crowd, “I’m on my fourth different drug in six-and-a-half years, and I’m kicking ass!” Diane and Hal Brierley got it for a record-breaking $80,000. much to the surprise and delight of Kent Rathbun.  The chefs then all agreed to crash Kent’s dinner.  Kent

Nancy Rogers

Nancy Rogers

Kris Johnson

Kris Johnson

didn’t seem to mind one bit. The more the merrier. . . . Nancy Rogers bought the serenade by Rascal Flatts for her assistant Kris Johnson. . . A date with “Dallas”’s Emma Bell and Josh Henderson was picked up for $45,000. The winner received a kiss from Josh. That alone was worth the price.

Emma Bell, Josh Henderson and Louis Murad

Emma Bell, Josh Henderson and Louis Murad

Then the biggie of the night was on the bloc — a 2014 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Coupe. Donated by the Texas Ford Dealers Advertising Group and Shelby American, its value was $96,160. That number was passed within seconds. Joining auctioneer Louis on stage, Aaron Shelby (aka the late Carroll Shelby’s oldest grandson/husband of CCB Co-Chair Brooke) talked up the prized vehicle. It resulted in a bidding war with Missy and Joe Hillesheim winning at way over $200,000. Whether it was the shock of the win or the slippery dance floor, the photo of the winning twosome with Brooke and Aaron was a bit challenging as footing seemed a problem.

Missy and Joe Hillesheim

Missy and Joe Hillesheim

But it didn’t matter. Deborah announced that “despite the terrible situation,” $1.3M had been raised.

The Ferris wheel

The Ferris wheel

Bank of America/Merrill-Lynch/ U.S. Trust Live Auction Tent

Bank of America/Merrill-Lynch/ U.S. Trust Live Auction Tent

Outside the rain had stopped and the Ferris wheel was starting to have guests line up.

Brooke Shelby and Mary Gill

Brooke Shelby and Mary Gill

Co-Chairs Mary Gill and Brooke were on stage with mic in hand. They were “so sorry that Mother Nature doesn’t want to cooperate with CBB, but we appreciate you.” Then they announced an even bigger number. An anonymous donor had made a “very special, one-time gift of $3.4M” to be used for pancreatic cancer. The word “WOW!” just didn’t seem big enough for anyone as the shock sank in.

As if that wasn’t tip-top good news, the Rascal Flatts crew started setting up their equipment on the live auction’s stage and doing sound check. True the stage wasn’t as huge and impressive as the Andrews Main Stage and it didn’t have the hundreds of pristine tables for the audience, but it allowed a much more up close opportunity to take in the boys.

While guests hauled in chairs to set up an impromptu seating for the Rascal concert, the trio (Jay DeMarcus, Gary LeVox and Joe Don Rooney) snuck in via the tunnel. A mosh pit formed blocking the view of the stage for seated front-row types, but it was the sound of the performance that counted and even Ma Nature’s thunder knew when to go silent.

Joe Don Rooney, Gary LeVox and Jay DeMarcus

Joe Don Rooney, Gary LeVox and Jay DeMarcus

11:20 p.m. — Rascal Flatts started their performance with smartphones recording the moments. Some guests were just too worn out and headed for their cars, leaving their umbrellas behind.

Abandoned umbrellas

Abandoned umbrellas

The Following Week

Monday, October 7 – Boots were being turned into Deno’s for rehabbing. And the 2014 CBB team was checking out indoor venues.

If you haven’t already checked them out, there are many more photos from the 2013 Cattle Baron’s Ball at MySweetCharity’s Photo Gallery.

Tips For Saturday Night’s Cattle Baron’s 40th Anniversary Ball

_MG_9327Just back from Southfork where the Cattle Baronesses in sneakers, shorts and T-shirts are preparing for Saturday’s shindig for the American Cancer Society. You didn’t think it just magically happened all on its own, did you? Course not.

_MG_9366The ferris wheel, the tents and Andrews Distributing Main Stage are already up. Around the grounds are mammoth boots, spurs and a cowboy hat that Big Tex probably only wishes he had.

Just one of the additions this year is a smores bar for chocoholics. There’s so much more to like including Coca-Cola, a first in CBB’s 40-year history.

Naturally, MySweetCharity has some tips for those who are going to be part of the 40th anniversary celebration:

  • It’s going to be brisk. . . okay, it may be downright chilly. Shoot! That’s the perfect excuse to wear that fall sweater that you just picked up. Why make it sit in your closet?
  • Oh, you’re worried about that word, “chill.” The baronesses have arranged for heaters just in case Mother Nature gives CBB a cold shoulder. The old bat!
  • Drive the speed limit coming and going. The area police are very concerned about the safety of all and have been known to be out  in force when CBB takes place.
  • If you’re attending the VIP reception, make sure you have your VIP ticket.
  • Don’t forget your tag for your Favor Bag. No taggy, no baggy.
  • Another thing to remember is your car tag. Without it, you won’t be allowed on the property.
  • Bring an appetite and leave the diet at home.
  • Just in case you do get your shoes/boots dirty or worn out from all that dancing, bring a spare pair and a shopping bag. When you get in your car, put your shoes in the shopping bag and replace them with the spare pair.
Eli Ferris Wheel

Eli Ferris Wheel

How about a rundown of where to be and when? Sure it’s in your super-duper program, but try this for your convenience:

  • 6 p.m.  — SoftLayer Technologies, Inc., VIP reception in the Bank of America/Merrill Lynch/U.S. Trust Live Auction Tent. Ride the bull, enjoy Sonny Burgess on stage, buy raffle tickets and party on.
  • 7 p.m. — Check out the treasure trove of silent auction items in the American Airlines Silent Auction tent, get in line for the Ferris wheel and/or check out the LegacyTexas Bank Food Courts.
  • 7:30 p.m. — Get back to the Bank of America/Merrill Lynch/U.S. Trust Live Auction Tent for Hudson Moore on stage.
  • 8:30 p.m.  — The live auction kicks off. Check your program for the hot items that will be on stage. Make sure you get there early because there’s gonna be a crowd.
  • 10:20 p.m. — Head to the Andrews Distributing Main Stage and watch the fireworks at 10:30. Afterwards, the raffle ticket winners will be announced.
  • 10:45 p.m. — Stay put at the Andrews Distributing Main Stage for Rascal Flatts on stage.
  • Midnight — After Party will take place in the Saloon Tent with dancing and still more food.
  • 2:00 p.m. — Show your Favor Bag tag as you get ready to drive home safely.

The Cattle Barons have been waging war against cancer for 40 years. During that time technology and research have saved countless live thanks to the CBB’s support. Now, let’s “spur on” and wipe the disease out for good.

Don’t Tell Until Thursday Noon — American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge Is Coming To Baylor University Medical Center

Anyone who has been part of the ordeal of cancer knows the shock, awe and reality can be as devastating as the disease. There is the “This can’t be happening” tide of emotion that initially strikes. Then there is the feeling of being overwhelmed by the journey of tests and treatments up ahead. And before any of this starts, there is the realization that the past life of normal has been totally uprooted by the future of no norm.

For a patient and his or her family who live near a medical center, making the trip to the hospital is wearing, but still they know home and friends are nearby. Think about that person who lives 50 miles away or more. And if they’re seeking a stellar treatment center with the country’s top specialists, they may be coming from hundreds of miles away.

One reality facing the long-distance patient is, “Where can we stay for a possibly prolonged period of time?” And then there are the expenses of such a place. The costs, even with insurance, of the treatments are hard enough to take on, but relocating the patient plus any family members is additionally daunting.

Such challenges should not be on the “gotta handle list” for a person facing cancer.

That is where the beyond-great news comes in.

As part of the Celebrating Women luncheon at the Hilton Anatole Thursday, it will be announced that the American Cancer Society has selected Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas as the site of its newest Hope Lodge.

“The goals of Hope Lodge Dallas are to allow patients to have a comfortable place to stay, to promote recovery by providing a safe and emotionally supportive environment, and to ease the extraordinary financial burden cancer places on families,” said Maria Clark, regional vice president of the American Cancer Society.

The facility, which will be built on a 1.5-acre plot of land donated by Baylor, will provide “free accommodation for 50 patients and their caregivers [on a first-come, first-serve basis] who travel more than 50 miles one-way to Dallas for treatment. The lodge also will serve as the regional headquarters for its founding organization, the American Cancer Society.”  

“Baylor and the American Cancer Society have a long-standing relationship,” said John McWhorter, president of Baylor Dallas. “With this new endeavor and collaborative partnership, our goals and vision for the future are in further alignment with one another, and we feel that anything is a possibility.”

Treating more cancer patients than any other North Texas hospital, Baylor has become one of the country’s leading centers for cancer treatment thanks to its facilities and staff like Dr. Alan Miller, chief of oncology and director of the Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center. Why, in 2011, “more than 6,000 patient encounters with cancer patients who traveled more than 50 miles for their care” took place at Baylor.

“To have a Hope Lodge in the Dallas community can help reduce or eliminate some of those fears for our patients,” Dr. Miller said.

So, when the announcement is made at the luncheon, act surprised, because no one is supposed to know.