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If it’s not one thing, it’s another! Just when you think you’ve got all your hens safely in the hen house, a couple of boards come loose, causing pause. It’s a turning point — either you handle it seamlessly or all heck breaks loose.
That was the situation for the ladies of Cattle Baron’s this past weekend. Unlike last year, with its biblical rainstorm, the days leading up to the Saturday event at Southfork Ranch were perfect. It would have been fine even it had rained. For a year, CBB Chair Kristi Sherrill Hoyl and her merry maids had strategized, organized, sought feedback and re-examined their plans to prevent any problems from arising. This was their D-Day and they were ready to march to victory. Weather plans had back-up plans that had back-up plans. They were prepared for a snowstorm. The vendors and sponsors were impressed with the management and bought in.
The days leading up to CBB’s version of “The Great State Fair” were a weatherman’s idea of A+ — no rain, just cool enough and no changes in store for the future. Committee members sans makeup worked alongside production crews tearing open boxes, learning the computer auction system, setting up the silent auction, doing everything but putting the stages together. Caterer Eddie Deen fed the masses. Production master Robert Hayden (pictured left with Kristi Sherrill Hoyl) surprised Kristi with a mega-popcorn box as a food station. Reminded one of Glee, only happier.
Friday night, after everything was more or less locked down, there was even a celebration at The Apartment for the committee. Ah, but don’t think the ladies were counting their chickens before they hatched. They were up bright and early Saturday to nail things down . . . again.
Then the showdown took place, beginning with the VIP party at the main house (the Ewings’ home) at Southfork. To add that touch of western, the guests drove up the main entrance with horses lined up on one side. Even CBB vets were then surprised as they exited their limos to be greeted by committee members like Mary Gill and escorted into the party by the Apache Belles. Seems the Belles were on hand to honor their alumna Annette Simmons, who arrived with husband Harold. When a photographer told Harold that Annette (pictured left with Harold Simmons and Kristi Sherrill Hoyl) never takes a bad picture, he smiled, “She’s the most beautiful woman in the world.”
With a band playing and food and beverages everywhere, it was hard for first timers to imagine the ball being even bigger and better. Ah, but just wait.
It also became apparent that the ultimate status symbol of the evening was the golf cart. Suggestion for next year: Have golf cart sponsorships available.
Snapshots and chat-shots: Lynn and Allan McBee brought Canadian filmmakers Eric Mantion and David Alexandre-Coiteaux, whom they’d met at the Dallas International Film Festival when the boys’ “Snow and Ashes” flick was screened. Seems the association clicked because there’s talk of doing some business together. But according to Lynn, oil-and-gas-man Allan “is not quitting his day job!” . . . Western boots came in all colors and designs. . . Holly Reed, Jill Malouf, Jamie Jo Hayes and Holly Forsythe (pictured right with, from the left, Holly Reed, Jill Malouf and Jamie Jo Hayes) arrived à la “Sex in the City.” Holly F., who is known for her support of animal causes, said that she was going to get more involved with efforts to have Dallas death-row dogs shipped and adopted in the Northeast . . . Black continues to be the fashionable color as proved by Elizabeth Tripplehorn, Tanya Foster, Isabell Novakov and Betsy Sowell.
By 7, the sun was setting and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. As the dust started flying in the horizon from all the cars entering the ball’s main entrance, a handful of special folks climbed the steps up to the back balcony of the Ewing house to meet featured entertainer Jack Ingram. Looking and acting like the guy you had a crush on in college, Jack was generous with his time spent chatting with guests.
Ah, but there were schedules to keep and committee members with headsets were bound and determined to stick to their timeline, so Jack’s visit was too brief. Shoot! After performing at CBB, Jack had to hightail it to Billy Bob’s Texas in Fort Worth to do a 10:30 gig.
Now the sun was done, and VIP guests strolled along a dark path to join the “fairgoers.” One group of four gals (pictured) decided to take a rest on a sidelined tractor. They should have kept going quickly. The fair was dazzling and jammed-packed. A lot of the sports enthusiasts made it no further than the AT&T Cotton Bowl, where the big screens broadcast any and every sporting event in a setting with oh-so-comfy, double-padded chairs and couches. Too bad because if they stayed put they missed out on the rest of the fair.
Lines formed for the lit-up, old-fashioned ferris wheel. You would have thought these folks had never ridden one. Then there were lines all over the place for food. Luckily the lines moved quickly, thanks to efficient servers and the guests chatting it up with friends who were also doing time in the line. Only thing missing was enough seating. If you weren’t one of the lucky ones like Rod Lake (pictured), you quickly learned to juggle and eat.
Someone asked where the usually-on-hand mechanical bull was. A committee member smiled and said it had been retired. Because, according to one bystander, a female rider last year obviously was not wearing any undies, it was a forced retirement resulting in “No bull!”
But, who cared about a bull when you had a midway with Sling-A-Ring, Bottle Toss, Hunt-And-Shoot, Quarterback Challenge and Maker’s Marker Bell Ring (pictured Jane Wood with sledgehammer)? Matrice and Ron Kirk were just passing by when a young lovely took the sledgehammer and rang that dang bell. Then a hunky type of fella took the mallet from her and barely got the weight to rise. “You’re not gonna let that girl beat you, are you?” Ron asked, starting to make signs of picking up the hammer. Thanks to Matrice’s entreaties, Ron kept his position as an observer.
At 7:30 Jack Ingram (pictured) took over the Bank of America stage and got things going. Thanks to his music the crowd started growing in preparation for the Live Auction, which started at 8:30. Following tradition committee members rang cowbells throughout the auction as background music. Definitely not Muzak.
First thing up for grabs was an Eddie Deen’s dinner, with Jack Ingram providing an acoustic accompaniment. It was too good to be true when auction spotters notified that there were two bidders vying for the item. Through negotiations a second offering was provided, so it was a double sale.
Still, some auction observers looked a bit apprehensive. The front rows of the auction area were sparsely filled. “Where are the people?” asked one.
But items kept coming, bells kept ringing and items kept being auctioned off.
Then one of the big ticket items came up: a 2011 Porsche Cayenne Turbo with a trip to its German factory. Valued at $122,000, it was a real biggie.
And bidding proved the point. Finally with a wave of the red-light wand, a gent at one of the tables near the stage had won the bid. Cheers, loud bell ringing and whoop-la.
Then it was on to the next item and more bids.
But wait. There was a problem. The top baronesses regrouped. The gent had decided that he wasn’t going to live up to his bid for the Porsche. Awkward! A little like being homecoming queen and then having your date cancel at the last minute. But, Cattle Baron ladies know how to handle any situation with class and minimal embarrassment. They owned up to the audience that the bid hadn’t worked out, so the Porsche was again put up for an offer. As all eyes looked at the table to check out the man causing the situation, but he was nowhere to be seen.
Yahoo! Ashton Robusto-puffing/Dr Pepper CEO Larry Young placed the winning bid and pulled out his black card to finalize the deal.
“We are tremendous supporters of the American Cancer Society. We really believe in giving back to the community,” said Larry with his best gal Colette (seated right with Larry) next to him. “We have a tremendous CSR [Corporate Society Responsibility] program at our company, and we are major sponsors of the music tonight.”
Restaurateur Jim Severson came to Larry’s table and shook his hand. Jim was diagnosed 3 1/2 years ago with metastatic prostate cancer. They gave him two to three years to live. Sevy admitted that a decade ago the cure would have been castration, but “I’m (still) kicking ass.”
Another member of the hospitality industry who valued the monies raised in the battle against cancer was Dawn Rizos, who was preparing to close the deal on a property for her new Dallas restaurant near the Meddlesome Moth. “We’re gonna have some b-tchin’ parties,” Dawn confided. Seated on the second row, she also revealed that her mother had just been diagnosed with breast cancer.
Following the auction it was fireworks time, allowing guests to move on to their tables for a memorable concert by Alan Jackson (pictured) on the Dr Pepper Main Stage.
As guests eventually left, they lined up for the Inwood National Bank canvas favor bags like children lining up for Santa at NorthPark. Every year the bags are very hot commodities, and this year the red-and-white bag with its zipper top was tantalizing. Rummaging through the bag on the drive home one of the true finds was the Bickel & Brewer portable speakers.
And, what were that issues that the Cattle Baron’s strategists hadn’t foreseen? A back-out bidder that they handled with true grit and panache–and some guests suffering from morning-after sniffles and coughs from allergies and hay fever thanks to the dust and pollen in the air. So, if it’s not a flood, it’s air pollution.
Regardless, it was a stellar comeback for a CBB crew that worked for success — and got it.