Stormy skies couldn't stop a boot-scootin' crowd from "Shooting for the Stars" at the 44th annual Cattle Baron's Ball at Gilley's Dallas.
Event chairwomen Sunie Solomon and Anne Stodghill chose the stellar theme for the October 21 bash, they said, because it articulated their significant fundraising goals and their "dream as big as Texas" to help the American Cancer Society save every cancer patient's life.
Dressed in their finest Western-chic attire, thousands of partygoers — including Krista Warren, Jonika Nix, Kameron Wescott, Aaron and Tiffany Hendra, Holly and Stubbs Davis, Jacqueline and Clay Cavender, Tia Wynne, Elizabeth Tripplehorn, Ann Southerland, Dean Fearing, and Wanda Gierhart — enjoyed an epic night of bites, bidding and boot scootin'.
To start the evening, donors and special guests gathered for a VIP party, where they mingled and enjoyed noshes like lump crab cakes and cracked pepper shrimp on green chile grits cake.
Texas country singer Pat Green serenaded from the Winston & Strawn LLP Live Auction Stage while the masses arrived, got registered to bid, and bought raffle tickets for chances to win luxury cars provided by Park Place Dealerships.
G Texas Catering served up a dizzying menu of bites throughout the night, at stations stocked with Southern fare like Frito pie, open-faced empanadas, street-style corn, and smoked chicken and jalapeño mac and cheese. A dessert lounge in one room and dessert bar in another ensured sweet endings with banana pudding cupcakes, warm fruit cobbler with vanilla ice cream, and more.
Drinks flowed all night too, of course. Among the sips were a Grey Goose vodka signature cocktail called Rock My World, and a decidedly stouter one, The Barrel Fever, made with Angels Envy Bourbon Whiskey.
After fueling up, guests browsed and bid fiercely in the auction rooms. Auction leaders Lisa Bhattacharya, Lora Farris, Lauren Snyder, Lauren Chapman, Callan Harrison, Laura Jorgeson, Danielle Sealy, and Jamie Singer amassed a silent auction with items from seemingly every retailer, restaurant, and venue in DFW.
The biggest bucks were saved for the live auction, run by auctioneer Jeff Copeland of Big Daddy Auctions. Live auction co-chairs Marjon Henderson, Ashley Lyon, and Lisa Haddow Shirley secured fabulous prize packages and fantasy trips both near and far. A VIP Indy 500 experience sold for $27,500, while a Ferrari tour in Italy fetched $41,000. Arguably the most popular package was a night of poker with six legendary former Dallas Cowboys, including Troy Aikman and Charles Haley; it scored a winning bid of $75,000.
Then it was time to head to the Miller Light Main Stage to see headliner Brooks & Dunn, who ran through their catalog of catchy hits, including "My Maria," "Neon Moon," "My Next Broken Heart," and "Red Dirt Road." When they played the first notes of "Boot Scootin' Boogie," nearly everyone jumped up and scooted along. Their final encore, "Only in America," provided the emotional high point of the evening; U.S. servicemen walked onstage and saluted while a burst of white streamers sprayed over the audience.
The fun continued at the after-party; Studio 54 Band played inside until 2 am while it stormed outside. Late-night revelers were escorted to their cars under umbrellas, but not without stopping to pick up favor bags filled with goodies for picnics under the stars — an all-weather blanket, foldable camp chair, and even a lighter for roasting marshmallows over the fire.
Since 1974, Cattle Baron’s Ball has raised more than $73 million to support cancer-fighting initiatives via the American Cancer Society. Proceeds from a special Call to Action during the live auction are targeting breast cancer, which affects one in eight women in their lifetime.
Numbers from this year's Cattle Baron's Ball are still being tallied, and the chairs will announce the dollar amount raised in early November at a check presentation.