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.

MySweetCharity Round Robin: Cattle Baron’s Excalibur Reception And Junior League’s Theme Announcement Party

Wednesday night is already giving Thursday a run for its money to be the night for promoting non-profit thank yous and announcements.

Cattle Baron’s Excalibur Reception

Aston Martin at Brook Hollow Golf Club

Last week it started at Brook Hollow for the Cattle Baron’s Ball ‘s Excalibur gathering hosted by Caron Texas and Aston Martin. You know it’s going to be a special evening with Aston Martins lounging along the driveway and Caron Texas’s Amara Durham in still another “white puffy blouse” and Michael Fowler front and center.

Amara Durham and Michael Fowler

It also helps that the annual event is aimed right at contributors with big hearts and pocketbooks. CBB Co-chairs Skye Brewer and Kristen Johnston were more than thrilled about their progress is selling everything from raffle tickets to sponsorships. They admitted that beating the 2007 goal was gonna be a stretch even for them. You remember those days. People were riding high on the hog back then and money was falling out of every orifice. But the challenge of the 39-year-old CBB still exists — beating cancer. Both Kristen and Sky have personal grudges in battling this disease that doesn’t play fair. The gals are determined to make a ultra-major contribution to the war chest.

Lana and Barry Andrews

Joining the fight and being celebrated in the Oak Room of BHGC were Dr. John Gill, whose weight loss is due to a plan. He’d better be prepared for a workout following the 2012 CBB. Wife Mary is co-chairing the 40th event. . .  Michael Fowler said he and mom Lee Ann White were getting ready for their talk at the September 28th Caron Cares — A Day of Discovery and Recovery. It’s the day before Cattle Baron’s, so Michael and Amara are going to be busy. . . Cara Gravely French revealed that the Equest luncheon/fashion show that she’s co-chairing with mom Prissy is sold out. There is a waiting list of 30.  The mother/daughter team is close to hitting their goal of $200,000. . Lana Andrews was surprised that husband Barry hadn’t taken her up on her offer to attend the Ranger game. Barry opted for a simple dinner with Lana at home. You just gotta love that guy. . . Speaking of the Andrews, Barry revealed that Andrews Distributing will be sponsoring this year’s CBB main stage. . . Alas, poor Kristen. In addition to working on the CBB gala, she’s also planning an October wedding with attorney Ladd Sanger in the California wine country. . . Aston Martin’s Managing Partner Kurt Fegraeus arrived after associates Zach Kent and Rachel Fox. Spotting Bill Brewer, Kurt headed on over for a chat. Seems he’s sold Astons over the last 10 years to Bill’s Bickel & Brewer’s 25 top equity partners. . . Holt Haynsworth was excited about being president of Youth for Human Rights group, and that he’s arranged to have human rights be part of the Highland Park Independent School District’s 8th grade curriculum. . .One gal who wore a nifty soft blue nail polish on her fingers and toenails admitted that she had decided that the darker-than-dark nail polish of seasons past made her nails look like she had slammed her nails in a car door or she had a severe fungal infection.

Ladd Sanger, Kristen Johnston, Skye and Bill Brewer


Junior League of Dallas Announcement Party

Versailles mansion

Next stop on the Wednesday night circuit of non-profits was the Junior League of Dallas‘s announcement party for the 2013 gala theme. Let’s face it. The theme should have been obvious. Gala chair Bunny Cotten was all in fluffy, shiny white with a “Marie Antoinette” hairdo, and the party was at a Briggs-Freeman property a la château on Versailles.

Bunny and Kevin Cotten

Yup, you guessed it. French! It seems to be the theme du jour of the upcoming season. Shoot! Why don’t we just buy the Louvre and move it to Fair Park.

Before the announcement was made, 2012 JLD Chair Elizabeth Gambrell sauntered down the walk barefooted. She just lives a few mansions down and moseyed on over. While putting on her sandals, Amanda and Lloyd Ward arrived and the threesome entered just in time for the announcement.

Bunny with chair-elect Wendy Messman at her side reported the JLD-er’s are returning to the Hilton Anatole this year after 2012’s soiree at the Omni Dallas. Why? Was the 2012 event at the Omni not so great? Nope. They were already booked and, besides, the Anatole is home-sweet-home for so many fundraisers. They’re expecting 800 to attend the 51st JLD ball on Saturday, February 23.

Wendy Messmann

That should be a snap to have 800 in attendance with Caren Prothro as the honorary chair. Wherever Caren goes, everyone follows.

Anne Stodghill and Angela Nash

Good thing CBB and JLD had their parties early. A passel of the gals were headed to Anne Stodghill‘s for her 25th anniversary friendship party with Angela Nash. The girls’ friendship started before either of the gals married their husbands. With their spouses being sent to the Rangers game, the girls partied with 125+ of their buds. Anne later sent a follow-up email offering to take any and all CBB raffle requests that were made during the party.