Doubling down

Cattle Baron's Ball 2021 comes blazing back as Dallas' ultimate party

Cattle Baron's Ball 2021 comes blazing back as Dallas' ultimate party

Trey Davis, Lori Cox
Trey Davis, Lori Cox Photo by Ashley Gongora
Erica Brown, Kate Boatright, Laura Price
Erica Brown, Kate Boatright, Laura Price Photo by Ashley Gongora
Gregg Asher, Brooke Murrell
Gregg Asher, Brooke Murrell Photo by Ashley Gongora
Heather Cole, Michael Ashy
Michael Ashy, Heather Cole Photo by Ashley Gongora
Marjon Henderson, Joanna Clarke, Kelley Ledford, Sarah Groves, Kelley Schadt, Meghann Strickland
Marjon Henderson, Joanna Clarke, Kelley Ledford, Sarah Groves, Kelley Schadt, Meghann Strickland Photo by Ashley Gongora
Ellie Campion, Danaree Allgood, Megan Flanagan, Sharon Lee Clark
Ellie Campion, Danaree Allgood, Sharon Lee Clark, Megan Flanagan  Photo by Ashley Gongora
Kathleen Kirby, Scott Kirby
Kathleen Kirby, Scott Kirby  Photo by Ashley Gongora
Amy Mukula Hampton, Chelle Wilson
Amy Mukula Hampton, Chelle Wilson Photo by Ashley Gongora
Cattle Baron's Ball 2021
Co-chairs Diana Hamilton and Heather Randall make announcements. Photo by Ashley Gongora
Deborah Ferguson
NBC5's Deborah Ferguson welcomes the crowd. Photo by Ashley Gongora
Cole Swindell
Cole Swindell performs at the VIP concert. Photo by Ashley Gongora
Jane Mcgarry, Tashara Parker, Stephanie Carvell, Kim Porter-Glaser, Susan Pettit,Kim Schlachter
Jane McGarry, Tashara Parker, Stephanie Carvell, Kim Porter-Glaser, Susan Pettit, Kim Schlachter  Photo by Ashley Gongora
Chaton Turner, Tasha Grinnell
Chaton Turner, Tasha Grinnell Photo by Ashley Gongora
Dan Dijak, Sara Dijak
Dan Dijak, Sara Dijak Photo by Ashley Gongora
Tia Wynne, Jonika Nix
Tia Wynne, Jonika Nix Photo by Ashley Gongora
Missy Morris, Simóne Morris
Missy Morris, Simóne Morris  Photo by Ashley Gongora
Crystal Wimbrey, Mahisha Dellinger
Crystal Wimbrey, Mahisha Dellinger  Photo by Ashley Gongora
Tricia Sims, Monika Anderson, Liz Hernandez, Liz Smith Theis, Bill Anderson
Tricia Sims, Monika Anderson, Liz Hernandez, Liz Smith Theis, Bill Anderson  Photo by Ashley Gongora
Elizabeth Gallegos, Rodolfo Gallegos
Elizabeth Gallegos, Rodolfo Gallegos Photo by Ashley Gongora
Cattle Baron's Ball 2021
Cowbells signal the start of the live auction. Photo by Ashley Gongora
Chefs auction
Dallas chefs auctioned two private dinners that fetched $100,000 each. Photo by Ashley Gongora
Cattle Baron's Ball auction
Live auction bids are celebrated. Photo by Ashley Gongora
Dierks Bentley
Headliner Dierks Bentley performs. Photo by Ashley Gongora
Casino games
Guests take their chances in the casino lounge. Photo by Ashley Gongora
Cattle Baron's Ball 2021 silent auction
The silent auction room was massive. Photo by Ashley Gongora
Cattle Baron's Ball 2021
Every good party ends with a mechanical bull. Photo by Ashley Gongora
Trey Davis, Lori Cox
Erica Brown, Kate Boatright, Laura Price
Gregg Asher, Brooke Murrell
Heather Cole, Michael Ashy
Marjon Henderson, Joanna Clarke, Kelley Ledford, Sarah Groves, Kelley Schadt, Meghann Strickland
Ellie Campion, Danaree Allgood, Megan Flanagan, Sharon Lee Clark
Kathleen Kirby, Scott Kirby
Amy Mukula Hampton, Chelle Wilson
Cattle Baron's Ball 2021
Deborah Ferguson
Cole Swindell
Jane Mcgarry, Tashara Parker, Stephanie Carvell, Kim Porter-Glaser, Susan Pettit,Kim Schlachter
Chaton Turner, Tasha Grinnell
Dan Dijak, Sara Dijak
Tia Wynne, Jonika Nix
Missy Morris, Simóne Morris
Crystal Wimbrey, Mahisha Dellinger
Tricia Sims, Monika Anderson, Liz Hernandez, Liz Smith Theis, Bill Anderson
Elizabeth Gallegos, Rodolfo Gallegos
Cattle Baron's Ball 2021
Chefs auction
Cattle Baron's Ball auction
Dierks Bentley
Casino games
Cattle Baron's Ball 2021 silent auction
Cattle Baron's Ball 2021

Well, Dallas didn't forget how to party. In fact, "Double Down" proved the perfect theme for Cattle Baron's Ball 2021, which emerged from last year's COVID-cancellation to a sell-out extravaganza that packed 2,600 revelers into Gilley's Dallas on Saturday, October 23. 

Dallasites doubled down, alright — not only in their efforts to raise big bucks for the American Cancer Society (read on for some eye-popping auction amounts), but in their passion for the city's premier party of the year. All the rhinestones, feathers, sequins, and leather that hung in mothballs last fall finally came out to play.

A tip of the hat to co-chairs Diana Hamilton and Heather Randall, who were heading up the 2020 CBB starring headliner Dierks Bentley (themed "Just Livin': Take Cancer by the Horns") when the pandemic came along and kicked it off the calendar. With an extra (and exceedingly challenging) year, they took the ball by the horns — streamlining things, changing the theme, and bringing on presenting sponsor Texas Oncology — and put on a gala that felt fresh and exciting. Even the crowd seemed younger and higher-energy this year.

The evening kicked off with an onstage greeting from NBC5 morning anchor Deborah Ferguson, who welcomed earlybirds to an exclusive VIP party presented by Anne Davidson. Singer-songwriter Cole Swindell got the crowd on its feet at the Copart, Inc VIP/Live Auction Stage.

Once the masses began arriving, every room of Gilley's was buzzing without feeling overly crowded. If you wanted space, you could find space. Spotted in the crowd and dressed to impress were Trey Davis, Lori CoxHeather Cole, Michael AshyTricia Sims, Monika Anderson, Liz Hernandez, Liz Smith Theis, Bill AndersonJane McGarry, Tashara Parker, Stephanie Carvell, Kim Porter-Glaser, Susan Pettit, Kim SchlachterGregg Asher, Brooke MurrellChaton Turner, Tasha GrinnellTia Wynne, Jonika NixDan Dijak, and Sara Dijak.

G Texas Catering stocked food stations with favorite Southern fare, like shaved prime rib sliders, fried jalapeño pork chops, shrimp jambalaya, and a Pit Boss barbecue buffet. A loaded tater tot bar was a big hit, as was the Shiner Bock chili Frito pie.

Drinks flowed all night too, of course. The signature cocktail, "Just Livin'," poured together Grey Goose Essences White Peach & Rosemary (a svelte 73 calories per serving!), lemon juice, and Topo Chico. Thirsty patrons also had a selection of premium Bacardi and Grey Goose spirits; Jackson Family Wines; and Champagne Ayala bubbly. 

Sufficiently stuffed, attendees browsed and bid via their smartphones in the auctions, which had amassed hundreds of items from artists, jewelers, retailers, clubs, restaurants, and hotels inside the Moody Foundation Silent Auction Room. Throughout the night, guests could buy raffle tickets and cross their fingers they'd go home with a new luxury car from Park Place and more.

As usual, the hottest cash was saved for the live auction. A brass band and parade of cowbell-ringers signaled it was time to bid fast and furiously on the fabulous prize packages curated by auction chairs Marjon Henderson and Andrea Nayfa and their committee. Fantasy trips — including a spa stays, golf excursion, a safari, and an experience at the CMA Awards — fetched $40,000-$50,000 each.

For three decades, the most coveted item of all has been a private dinner party for 20 prepared by some of Dallas' finest chefs. Chefs Kent Rathbun, Dean Fearing, Nick Barclay, David Holben, and Richard Chamberlain announced the dinner from stage, and after rousing cheers and applause, two packages were sold for an astounding $100,000. 

Then, on the Andrews Distributing Main Stage under the big tent, headliner Dierks Bentley rolled through hit after hit from his long career, including crowd-favorites "Lot of Leavin' Left to Do," "Somewhere on a Beach," "What Was I Thinkin'," and "Living." During his current hit "Beers on Me," he actually tossed cans of beer to some lucky concertgoers near the stage. 

The party didn't stop once the last notes were played under the tent. Some folks gathered around an outdoor fire pit to enjoy sweet bites of fresh baked apple cobbler tarts, chocolate s'mores bread pudding, and homemade oatmeal cream pies. There was no Ferris wheel this year, but a mechanical bull for anyone who dared.

Back inside, Emerald City All-Stars filled the dance floor for an after-party until 2 am, and night owls could nosh sausage-egg biscuits and breakfast tacos — or tuck them inside a purse to-go.

When partiers finally retrieved their cars from valet or jumped in their Ubers, they didn't leave empty handed. In place of the old cooler bags stuffed with a million little branded things, canvas totes containing wooden lazy Susans and wine openers, courtesy of Choctaw Casino & Resort, were handed to everyone. The Juice Bar made sure no one left without a couple of vitamin B12 juice shots for morning rehydration.

Spotted having a great time throughout the night were Erica BrownKate BoatrightLaura PriceEllie CampionDanaree AllgoodMegan FlanaganSharon Lee ClarkJoanna ClarkeKelley LedfordSarah GrovesKelley SchadtMeghann StricklandKathleen KirbyScott KirbyElizabeth GallegosRodolfo GallegosMissy MorrisSimóne MorrisCrystal WimbreyMahisha DellingermAmy Mukula Hampton, and Chelle Wilson.

Cattle Baron’s Ball is the premier fundraiser for the American Cancer Society in North Texas, and has raised more than $85 million since its inception in 1974. Numbers from this year's Cattle Baron's Ball are now being tallied, and the chairs will announce the dollar amount raised at a check presentation. The ball is the largest single-night fundraising event for cancer research in the world.