"Shooting for The Stars" was the theme of this year's 44th Cattle Baron's Ball in Dallas, and the 3,000 attendees enjoyed gaming, dinner, silent and live auctions, and a concert by Texan Pat Green followed by headline entertainers Brooks and Dunn.
Dozens of individuals and companies underwrote the evening's festivities at Gilley's, and the fundraising total will be publicly announced at the CBB Fall Luncheon on Nov. 16. That's when event chairs Anne Stodghill and Sunie Solomon will present ACS with a check for $3.8 million!
Since its inception in 1974, the Cattle Baron's Ball in Dallas has raised more than $73 million. The record fundraising total for this event was in 2015, when it raised $4.3 million. This year's total is second only to that.
"The chairs keep their total close to the vest until that presentation so it's a surprise to the committee and donors/attendees," explained Katherine Espinoza, senior manager, Distinguished Events. "That gives us time to tie up loose ends as far as income and expenses go."
At the start of the evening, donors and special guests gathered for a VIP party, where they mingled and enjoyed lump crab cakes and cracked pepper shrimp on green chile grits cake. Raffle tickets for chances to win luxury cars were provided by Park Place Dealerships. Then dinner was served -- Southern fare including Frito pie, open-faced empanadas, street-style corn, and smoked chicken and jalapeño mac and cheese.
After fueling up, guests browsed and bid fiercely in the silent auction rooms featuring items donated from seemingly every retailer, restaurant, and venue in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Live auction items included a VIP Indy 500 experience that went for $27,500, a Ferrari tour in Italy that fetched $41,000, and a night of poker with six legendary former Dallas Cowboys, including Troy Aikman and Charles Haley, that had a winning bid of $75,000!
Following the final encore by headliner Brooks & Dunn, "Only in America," U.S. servicemen walked on stage and saluted while a burst of white streamers sprayed over the audience. The fun continued at the after-party, 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.