Insider Tips For Saturday’s 2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball’s “Shooting For The Stars”

If there are some gals MIA today, they’re over at Gilley’s Dallas. No, they’re not line-dancing and bar leaning. They’re in T-shirts, old jeans and sneakers ripping open boxes, schlepping carts around, setting up tables and getting ready for Saturday night’s 2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball. After all, that’s what CBB committee members do the day before the American Cancer Society mega-fundraiser.

Cindy Stager and Amy Turner

While some might think such a gaggle of females would be high drama and round-the-clock temper tantrums, they missed the mark big-time with this bunch. One gal said that everything is so organized that they just might finish earlier than planned. Why, they even had time to have lunch with some of the past CBB chairs like Mary Humphreys Parker, Cindy Stager, Amy Turner, Tia Wynne, Andrea Weber, Olivia Kearney, Kristi Hoyl and Kristin “KJ” Sanger.

Kristi Bare, Sunie Solomon, Anne Stodghill, Wendy Messmann and Karen James

When 2017 CBB Co-Chairs Sunie Solomon and Anne Stodghill were asked their secret, they attributed it to their troops like Andrea Nayfa, Nancy Gopez, Kristi Bare, Katy Bock, Wendy Messmann, Karen James, Meaghan O’Leary and others who have been working with color-coded seating charts, spreadsheets and professionalism.

Nancy Gopez. Meghan O’Leary, Andrea Nayfa and Katy Bock

They’ve even arranged for a back-up plan to accommodate Mother Nature’s mood in case she boo-hoos on the festivities. Pat Green will be on the Winston and Strawn LLP Live Auction stage in Gilley’s proper, and Brooks and Dunn will be  on the Andrews Distribution Main Stage in the humongous tent with concrete floor. Even the never-ending grazing will be indoors!

But just in case you want to be in the ultimate know, here are some insider tips to avoid those “Gee, I wished I’d known” or “Wow! I forgot all about that!” moment.

Must Have

  • More important than your cellphone will be your tickets, wristbands and hang-tags, if you’re driving. No guest will be allowed on the premises without them.
  • Also, please don’t forget your favor bag ticket. It’s not required for entrance, but you’ll hate yourself when you aren’t able to get the Hirzel Capital Favor Bag with all the swag as you leave.

Parking is a bit different this year, so be prepared. According to traffic czarina Nancy Gopez, here is the breakdown:

  • Blue hangtags — Arrive and depart in the Gilley’s driveway for valet parking.
  • Gold hangtags — Arrive at the valet parking at Kay Bailey Hutchinson Lot D. Lot opens at 5:30 p.m. Shuttle buses will take guests to the Event Center at Gilley’s Dallas. The last shuttle bus will depart Event Center at 2 a.m.
  • White Hangtag — Self-park at Eddie Deen’s starting at 6:30 p.m. Shuttle buses will take guests to the Event Center at Gilley’s Dallas. The last shuttle bus will depart Event Center at 2 a.m.
  • Limousines — Arrive and pick up at Event Center.
  • Uber, Lyft, Wynne Transportation and other private driving services — Drop off at Gilley’s driveway and pick up at Event Center

Hint: Sunie strongly recommended Ubering.

Auctions

Rhinestone longhorn head

  • The CBB Silent Auction and Big Board are available online. So, if you didn’t get your ticket in time or are at home with the sniffles, you can still bid and, hopefully, win a goody like the rhinestone longhorn head. Here’s the link to the online viewing and bidding.
  • Live Auction items will only be available at the Ball. However, if you’re out of town and really want one of the items, check with the CBB office now to make arrangements for proxy bidding.

FYI

  • No one under the age of 21 will be allowed to enter Gilley’s Dallas for the event.
  • No filming is allowed at the event.
  • Give the stilettos the night off and pull on those boots.

Check back with MySweetCharity during the day Saturday for any updates or news.

Cattle Baron’s Ball Baronesses Cowboy(ed) Up To Take Cancer Down With A Ripped Tim McGraw Up On Stage

The weather was the definition of perfection for Cattle Baron’s Ball — Cowboy Up, Take Cancer Down — on Saturday, October 3. Sure, there were those who made frowny faces that the American Cancer Society fundraiser hadn’t been held in the wide-open spaces of a local ranch or Southfork. But then again there were the wise ones, who painfully recalled the CBB’s of 2009, 2012 and 2013, when it looked so slice-of-nice great just days and even hours before only to face Texas-sized mud baths with boots heading to Deno’s for rehabbing. No, better to err on the safe side of cantankerous Ma Nature.

Then there was the live auction. In years past, it had been a vault of special items that seemed to grow in a never-ending number. This year it was decided to do only 19 packages. Gee, why? The live auction had been a major money-generator and they were cutting it down to less than two dozen. Yipes!

But once the caravan of Ubers, limousines, and Texas three-row gas guzzlers pulled up for the VIP reception, it became apparent that woes and throes had been replaced with fun and fundraising. Baroness Katy Bock was bound and determined to capture the scene on her cellphone. Seems in the past she had no proof of what her memory recalled. On a wall along the official entrance were mini-platforms with boots and plaques representing all the past CBBs.

Aaron Einhouse

Aaron Einhouse

Starting at 6 p.m. Aaron Einhouse and his band were on stage in Gilley’s South Side Music Hall for the Group 1200 Media VIP Patron Party. The crowd dined on Mesero Restaurant goodies and Sprinkle mini-cupcakes and downed them with grown-up and G-rated beverages courtesy of Andrews Distributing, Bacardi USA/Grey Goose Vodka, Jackson Family Wines and Coca-Cola.

John and Mary Martha Pickens, Steve Moore and Tia and Shel Wynne

John and Mary Martha Pickens, Steve Moore and Tia and Shel Wynne

At first, CBB Co-Chairs Mary Martha Pickens and Tia Wynne were on hand to welcome all, but then they seemed to get swallowed up in the crowd. One of the folks in the crowd was Steve Moore, the former CEO of the Country Music Association.

Outside four of the Baronesses made sure that only VIP’s got in. If ever the TSA needs advice on security, they should ask the CBB-ers. There were tickets, wristbands, lanyards and all types of paraphernalia to get guests in to the right spots throughout the night and to get the much-coveted favor bag. As a crowd checked in, one fella was seen walking straight in. This would not do. Seven-month-pregnant Baroness Bina Patel took off like racehorse out of the gate. She returned reporting that the chap was a Gilley’s staffer.

Ellen Winspear and Tiffany Divis

Ellen Winspear and Tiffany Divis

Kimberly Casey and Lynn McBee

Kimberly Casey and Lynn McBee

Jerry Jones Jr and Lori Jones and Jennifer and Richard Dix

Jerry Jones Jr and Lori Jones and Jennifer and Richard Dix

Others who made it through the check-in included Nikki Webb, who was solo on arrival. Husband Crayton Webb had to drop the kids off at their grandparents and would be joining her later…It was girls’ night out for Tiffany Divis and Ellen Winspear. Ellen said that husband Don Winspear was home trying to recover from the Longhorns’ walloping by Ellen’s TCU Frogs (50-7) earlier in the day…Leather was the favored texture of the night according Kathleen Hutchinson, Dawn Greiner, Lisa Ogle, Kris Johnson, Lora Farris, Elizabeth Fischer, Sherwood Wagner, Sunie Solomon, Jennifer Dix and Lori Jones… Boot-scooting babes were KXAS Anchor/CBB emcee Deborah Ferguson, Lynn McBee with her sister Kimberly Casey, and Natalie McGuire… Using silver for their accessory du jour were Luane McWhorter, Lisa Cooley and D’Andra Simmons…On the other hand, turquoise was represented Gail Fischer with her brother John Corder, Vicki Chapman, Barbara Daseke, Elizabeth Tripplehorn Laurenzi, 2016 CBB Co-Chairs Cara French and Andrea Weber and Callan Harrison…The breezy look was accommodated by Jonika Nix and Marybeth Conlon in their cut-out outfits.

Aaron and Luane McWhorter and Lisa and Clay Cooley

Aaron and Luane McWhorter and Lisa and Clay Cooley

Jonika Nix

Jonika Nix

Marybeth Conlon

Marybeth Conlon

An hour later the rest of the 3,000 cowpokes and cowpretties arrived via the main entrance on Lamar via shuttle buses and drop-and-drive wheels. And, no, they didn’t just stand around looking adorable. There was plenty to do including the Deloitte Silent Auction Lounge and the American Airlines Silent Auction venue, as well as the Southwest Bank Big Board. Raffle tickets were being sold everywhere. For vittles, G Texas Catering had buffets and food stations everywhere. And, of course, there was the MetroPCS Ferris wheel with a perfect view of downtown Dallas.

As for music, Ray Johnston and his band were performing on the Bank of America/Merrill Lynch/U.S. Trust Live Auction Stage. As guests started gathering in the South Side Ballroom for the live auction, Ray shifted to cover songs. Despite the setup of tables and hightops, some guests decided to snag chairs and to push tables together to accommodate their passel of pals.

Doak Lambert

Doak Lambert

Just a bit past 8 p.m. auctioneers Wendy and Doak Lambert kicked off the live auction with baronesses ringing cowbells and whooping it up, as the Lambert crew bird-dogged bidders. One of the killer items was an age-old fav — the Chefs’ dinner with musician Sam Moore providing the tunes. With chefs (Richard Chamberlain, Dean Fearing, Kevin Garvin, David Holben, Kent Rathbun and Jim “Sevy” Severson) on stage along with Sam, a bidding battle got underway between Hal Brierley and Clay Cooley. Just when it was looking like a nose-to-nose showdown, Kent suggesting raising the price to $70K and the dinner for 30 could be had by both Hal and Clay. The marketing mastermind and the car czar smiled and took Kent up on the offer.

Doak Lambert, Kent Rathbun, Wendy Lambert, David Holben, Kevin Garvin, Jim Severson and Sam Moore

Doak Lambert, Kent Rathbun, Wendy Lambert, David Holben, Kevin Garvin, Jim Severson and Sam Moore

But as the last few items went up for bid, some heavy hitters (the Brierleys, Natalie and Mike McGuire, and other $50,000+ type sponsors) exited Gilley’s proper. What gave them away were simple green paper wristbands. They headed for an ultra-exclusive meet-and-greet with the evening’s headliner Tim McGraw. Still, others wearing the super-special wristbands like the Cooleys opted to stay seated, so they could continue bidding and building the ACS coffers to amazing heights that amazed even CBB vets despite the limited number of items. Even Nancy Rogers had a hand in the fundraising, despite not being present. She and husband Richard Rogers were in Paris, but Nancy had her right-hand gal Kris Johnson picking up the Dallas Mavericks Rally on the Road package.

Despite the reduction in live auction items, the numbers were rocking in and organizers were raising eyebrows. Hey, maybe this shorter list wasn’t such a bad idea after all.

Backstage, all went according to plan. McGraw’s peeps checked out the lighting for the photo opp, carpeting was laid in front of the wood backdrop and the warning was given — one photo per group. The photo session would last 10 minutes and there were about 50 guests to photographer. Green-wristband guests were advised — no purses, no cellphones, no shillyshallying.

Before the guests were ushered in one group at a time, a fellow walked by the photo staging area. Wearing torn jeans, an open shirt and cowboy hat, he smiled and said “Hi” to the people setting up the carpeted flooring and lighting. One person nudged another, “Was that Tim McGraw?” Yup. Not only was he just laid back, he was 40 pounds lighter and as toned as a stallion thanks to CrosFit workouts and the Paleo diet.

Natalie McGuire, Tim McGraw and Mike McGuire

Natalie McGuire, Tim McGraw and Mike McGuire

Tim McGraw and Kris Johnson

Tim McGraw and Kris Johnson

Diane Brierley, Tim McGraw and Hal Brierley

Diane Brierley, Tim McGraw and Hal Brierley

Tim McGraw and Sam Moore

Tim McGraw and Sam Moore

 

 

 

Despite a couple of folks (let’s not be tacky and mention names) talking it up with Tim more than their allotted 20-second allowance, it came off. But word had it that the group had oozed their way into the grip-and-grin despite no green wristband. Even more interesting was that those oozers wanted their $15,000 back because their table wasn’t close enough to the stage.

Regardless, Tim was all smiles and so were the handlers. One photographer asked a McGraw associate, “Are you okay with our work?” He answered, “Yes, indeed, and thank you for asking.”

After the last photo was taken and the people were escorted out, McGraw headed to a table aside the McGraw bus to sign posters and collectibles. Then he nonchalantly moseyed over to the crew at the base of the stage to check things out. Everything was just fine and dandy. This definitely was not his nor his crew’s first rodeo.

When the herds of folks gathered in the tent across the lane from Gilley’s proper, there were three sections. The highrollers were at tables closest to the Andrews Distributing Main Stage. A third of the way back were tables for the next tier of spenders and the final group was placed toward the back of the tent. KXAS Deborah Ferguson did the welcome and introduced Mary Martha and Tia, who thanked one and all.

Over on one side of the stage just beyond sight of the audience, there were four precious chairs. Two had been won by the Brierleys and the other two by Cary Maguire for $37K per pair. Talk about uber front row seats!

Tim McGraw

Tim McGraw

Still better yet was Tracy and Ben Lange’s placement. Sure, they and their kids had front row table seats for the concert. Okay, so Ben had to ask event staffers to hold back the mosh pit participants, so they didn’t block the view of the seated guests. But Mama Lange and her daughter weren’t gonna use their seats that long. Dad had won the live auction item of being serenaded on stage by Tim. Somehow, the Langes managed to have both Tracy and their daughter join McGraw on stage. Tim not only didn’t mind, he really got into it with the Lange gals dancing up a storm with him. Wouldn’t have surprised anyone if McGraw took them on the road.

Tim McGraw

Tim McGraw

While the majority of the crowd went wild with the concert, others bailed because there were just too many folks. Even some in the high-roller tier headed out early because the sound was just too dang loud.

Behind the scenes, the CBB-ers were arranging post-concert meals for the McGraw crew and Tim himself. The crew just wanted pizza. As for CrosFit Tim, he wanted steamed vegetables and grilled chicken. No problem. Just past midnight restaurateurs Al Biernat and Brad Fuller delivered the goods plus a bottle of wine and a coconut cream pie at a private jet waiting for McGraw. Nice thought, but Tim gave up drinking eight years ago and coconut cream pie isn’t part of his Paleo diet.