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.

In Accepting The J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award, St. Philip’s School Headmaster Terry Flowers Thanked The Four “G’s” In His Life

The J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award Luncheon presented by the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Publicon Wednesday, March 23, at Belo Mansion was a bit of a surprising event. Filled to the max with friends, family and fans of honoree Terry Flowers, many just thought they knew the man, who as headmaster has led the development of one of South Dallas’ shining stars — St. Philips School and Community Center. They were in for a surprise.

Gerald Turner and Lyda Hill

Gerald Turner and Lyda Hill

Cary Maguire

Cary Maguire

Janie McGarr, Nancy Halbreich and Gail Turner

Janie McGarr, Nancy Halbreich and Gail Turner

But before that revelation took place, the crowd settled into the Pavilion catching up on the day’s news. Debra Fugit reported that she had been going through her things in preparation for a talk — “My Quest for the Best” — about her years working as the late Stanley Marcus’ assistant… While husband/SMU President Gerald Turner was talking with Cary Maguire, Gail Turner reported that come December the Turners would be celebrating their 48th wedding anniversary. Speaking of anniversaries, Lee Ann White was receiving congrats from Nancy Halbreich and Janie McGarr about her 14th anniversary with husband Alan White. She also revealed that they would be celebrating Alan’s April 3rd birthday in Cabos.

Brad Cheves

Brad Cheves

Bobby Lyle

Bobby Lyle

Just seconds after noon SMU VP Brad Cheves called the group to order and, like St. Philip’s students, they followed orders. On the stage behind Brad sat Luncheon Chair Bobby Lyle, who welcomed the group, and St. Paul United Methodist Church Senior Pastor Richie Butler, who provided the invocation.

While lunch was served, honoree Terry made the rounds of the tables that included Mike Boone, Ralph Babb, Caren Kline, Walter Humann, Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, Jack Lowe, Kern Wildenthal, Lyda Hill, Linda Custard, Gail Thomas and Carol Reed.

St. Philip's students

St. Philip’s students

At 12:41 Gerald started the program by having some of the St. Philip’s students on stage. With Dallas skyscrapers seen through the windows in the background, the youngsters recited the school creed. The results? A deserved standing ovation. It was apparent from some of the guests’ expressions that this presentation was the first time they had heard the creed.

Michael S. Rawlings

Michael S. Rawlings

Following remarks by Gerald and Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility Director Rita Kirk about SMU and the mission of the Center, Dr. Michael S. Rawlings was introduced. No, not the Dallas mayor. Rather a St. Philip’s alumnus, who started at the school in the 1990s as a kindergartener and went on to graduate from Morehouse College and earn his Ph. D. from Northwestern. He told the guests that he wondered back then, referring to Terry, “Does he ever smile?” Michael went on to describe the steel grip of Terry’s handshake and how he attended the school during the same time period as Terry’s three daughters. He recalled that having had two working parents, Michael was usually the first one at school in the morning and the last one there at close of day. He added that Terry was always there when he arrived and when he left. Asking himself “What is Terry Flowers to me?”, he answered, hard work, sacrifice and a strong handshake. Michael didn’t speak as a student about a mentor. Rather, it was as if he was a son describing his much beloved father. And it received a standing ovation.

At 12:57 Bobby returned to the podium admitting that it was a challenge to follow the St. Philip’s students and Michael. But he managed to do it by describing how for 33 years, Terry has made it his life’s work to provide the children from South Dallas with the tools to succeed.

Bobby Lyle, Rita Kirk, Terry Flowers, Gerald Turner and Michael S. Rawlings

Bobby Lyle, Rita Kirk, Terry Flowers, Gerald Turner and Michael S. Rawlings

It was then time for the man of the hour to accept his award. But the man who was known for his firm handshake and serious attitude shared a side that many had never witnessed. He opened by joking that from this day forward he would always follow Lyda Hill, who had been the 2015 Jonsson Awardee. He then asked for a moment of silence to remember a former St. Philip’s student and teacher Crystal Rose and St. Philip’s supporter Robert Eagle, who had recently passed away.

Terry Flowers

Terry Flowers

He then launched into describing the four G’s that have put “this turtle on top of the fence post.”

  • His wife “G”ernise Flowers — “She would say April 12 is her birthday.” To her it was 31 years ago that they married, but to him it will be “11,555 minutes or one billion seconds.”
  • His “g”irls — There was silence. Then with his voice just slightly breaking, he directed his comments to his daughters, “You are the part of my heart walking outside my body.”
  • “G”roup — The Episcopalians who started the church 75 years ago. When a child was hit by a car, the church group started a daycare center that evolved into St. Philip’s.
  • “G”od — “It’s okay to pray and make an A.”

The rest of his talk addressed the importance of choices and morals. Concluding his acceptance speech, he said, “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education.”

BTW, if you see Gernise or Terry Tuesday, wish them a happy anniversary.

A Passing: Ann Thompson Maguire

We must regretfully start the New Year with the announcement that Ann Thompson Maguire died Thursday.

In addition to a 52-year marriage to husband Cary Maguire producing three remarkable children (Cary “Camm” McIlwaine Maguire Jr., Melinda Maguire Down and Blainey Maguire Hess), Ann was a well-known philanthropist, former Crystal Charity Ball chair and champion fundraiser.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, January 5, at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church followed by a reception at Brook Hollow Golf Club. Memorial contributions in Ann’s name may be made at the Maguire Center for Ethics at SMU.

Our most sincere condolences go to her family for their loss and to the numerous people who benefited from her efforts.