The 40th anniversary Cattle Baron's Ball at Southfork Ranch took on the weather and won, as live auction items alone rounded up more than $1 million for the American Cancer Society. Texans are tough, and a little rain wasn't going to stop them from doing their part to give cancer the boot.
A few charitable attendees didn't let Mother Nature hold them back from rocking their Texas tuxedos and cocktail attire. But others said to heck with dressing up and sported jeans, boots and fancy coats. Either way, all guests — including co-chairs Tanya Foster, Gillian and Mark Breidenbach, Renee Rouleau, Krystal Schlegel, Kent Rathbun, Kristi Bare, D'Andra Simmons, Brooke and Blake Hortenstine, and Josh Henderson — managed to look the part in their best Western wear.
During the live auction, bidders clamored for fabulous, one-of-a-kind experiences such as African safaris; private dinners with top Dallas chefs Dean Fearing, Kent Rathbun, Jim Severson, Kevin Garvin, Richard Chamberlain and David Holben; and a 2014 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Coupe.
The silent auction was just as impressive, with hundreds of items ranging from a Rangers suite for 20 to his-and-hers crocodile Lucchese boots to an AT&T Performing Arts Center package. Technically there was nothing silent about it, as DJ Brandon Olds kept the tent bumping while attendees waited turns in the photo booth.
Eddie Deen and company provided the food, and tequila-mango prawn shooters were in high demand as everyone hunkered down in the warm, cozy VIP tent. The main meal comprised smoked brisket, St. Louis-style ribs, flame-grilled Southwestern fajitas, mini tacos, petite chicken enchiladas and a variety of sides. When the rain finally stopped, there was a line a mile long for the mixed berry cobbler with Blue Bell ice cream and homemade pecan pie set up outside next to the glowing Ferris wheel.
While waiting for Rascal Flatts, co-chairs Mary Gill and Brooke Shelby announced that during the ball, a donation specifically for pancreatic cancer research had come in for $3.4 million. If that doesn't give you chills, then I advise you to check your pulse.
Rascal Flatts finally took the stage around 11 o'clock, as giddy attendees packed the dance floor to get close to the country crooners. Because of the uncooperative weather, the band was forced to entertain the masses on the smaller live auction stage, as opposed to the Andrews Distributing Main Stage. But if you ask me, it made for a more intimate concert experience, as the Ferris wheel and fireworks lit up the dark October sky.
The trio even serenaded one lucky auction winner with "My Wish." Word on the street is that was a $30,000 serenade. Anything for charity, right?
The Cattle Baron's Ball isn't over until the cows come home, and no rain storm was going to change that. Post-concert fun included bringing your best dance moves and grooving along with TOP, as well as munching on late-night treats such as cinnamon rolls, breakfast taquitos, chicken-fried steak and buttermilk biscuits.
Guests finally headed home around 2 am — but not without an impressive favor bag and enough memories to last them until next year's ball.