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.

It Was A “Perfect Season” For Crystal Charity Ball Underwriters At Gail And Cliff Fischer’s Estate Thanks To Vintner Norma Hunt

Nothing makes a lady’s leg long better than a stiletto. But along with beauty can come a bit of a pain in traversing certain areas. One of those areas was the auto courtyard in front of Gail and Cliff Fischer’s more-than-fabulous estate on Wednesday, November 9.

Gail Fischer

Todd and Heather Furniss

Robin and Debby Robinson and Barbara and Ralph Babb

The occasion was the Crystal Charity Ball’s Underwriter Party and the POA was for the guests to have their cars taken at the street and the guests to stroll in the moonlight up to the mansion. This made sense since the driveway’s entry only allowed one car at a time to pass through. With about 200 guests including Debby and Robin Robinson, Barbara and Ralph Babb, Pam and Vin Perella, Linda and Les Secrest, Piper and Mike Wyatt, Tincy Miller, Heather and Todd Furniss, Tom Addis, Tiffany and Paul Divis, Sharon Friedberg and Fisher daughter Elizabeth Fischer   RSVPing, the street drop-off made more sense.

Tincy Miller, Tom Addis, Bette Mullins and Garry Cox

Sharon Friedberg, Stephen Pelitere and Elizabeth FIscher

Only there were a couple of hitches in the plans. First there was a big grate between the street and the driveway, and the valets were worried that the ladies’ heels might fall victim to the large slits in the metal panels.

Then there was the stroll. The courtyard is beautiful, but it is also a gravel one and a couple or three gals had to wobble their way up to the steps with the help of their escorts.

As for the moonlight, it had taken the night off and so could not help the guests up the drive.

Ah, but once inside, it was a glorious gathering with CCB 2016 Chair Christie Carter and CCB Underwriting Chair Claire Emanuelson and husband Dwight Emanuelson along with the evening’s presenting sponsor David Blank and his wife Stacy greeting each guest.

On the entry hall’s huge round table were the favors provided by Norma Hunt — bottles of wine from her Sonoma vineyard. It made sense. The wine was 2013 Perfect Season Cabernet Sauvignon and this year’s CCB theme is “There is a Season….”

And while some folks looked a little bleary eyed from late-night watching of the election returns, one gal admitted that she was so tired of all the news coverage that she went to bed before the final numbers were in. So, how did she find out who had won the presidential election? “I asked Siri.”

Amit Berger, Kelsey Halford and Stacy and David Blank

On the other hand, evening presenter David Blank was bright-eyed in introducing Amit Berger, senior VP of Diamonds Direct that had just purchased David’s Diamond Doctor. Amit has been with Direct for more than 20 years and was previously in charge of the Birmingham store. Diamonds Direct VP of  Marketing and Branding Kelsey Halford once again reassured all that Diamonds Direct would not only continue but would perhaps expand on the store’s presence among the North Texas nonprofits.