Making Millions in the Mud

A good cause and tipsy country heartthrob trump Mother Nature.

Amy Adams
December 20, 2012
Event Date:
January 01, 1900

If you thought a deluge of rain was going to dampen the fund-raising mojo of the Cattle Baron's Ball, you clearly don't know chairmen (and best friends) Skye Brewer and Kristen Johnston. Yes, Southfork Ranch was a mud wallow and, yep, more than one blowout lost its battle against the weather, and, uh-huh, 40 Wynne Motor coaches shuttled guests from a local high school football stadium to the party. But despite the hazards, the evening generated more than $3 million for the American Cancer Society, and, at press time, the money was still rolling in. Turns out, when the going gets tough, the tough start spending. Gushed Brewer, "It was beautiful to see everyone brave the elements to be together, all united behind one cause. Simply awesome."

     Auction chairs Andrea Weber, Mary Martha Pickens, Kim Bannister, and Annie Harris amassed more than 700 live and silent auction items, and it didn't take much cajoling (or many cocktails) to generate brisk bidding. The Dallas Finest Chefs package ‹ including Kent Rathbun, Richard Chamberlain, Dean Fearing, Kevin Garvin, Jim Severson, and David Holben ‹ sold twice for $50,000. Larry Hagman took to the stage with his TV son Josh Henderson, whipping up competition over lunch with the show's cast. All told, the live auction raked in more than $800,000, a CBB record.

     Those wishing to escape the damp flocked to the silent auction tent, where DJ Andre deviated from the country theme with infectious pop tunes. (At one point, the crowd spontaneously broke into the chorus of Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline.") Yours truly managed to snag a Timothy Oulton chair and a Forty Five Ten gift card, and I'm still regretting that I let a chrome-legged Mongolian lamb bench from Nest slip through my fingers.

     For some, the evening's most memorable moment occurred when headliner Blake Shelton took to the stage ‹ with beer in hand ‹ and announced, "Y'all are gonna drink and act like you like it, and I'm gonna play guitar and act like I'm good at it." His solo acoustic set (and, let's face it, movie-star looks) had the audience eating out of his hand. Making strong impressions of their own: Nancy Rogers, Catherine Howell, Jill Tananbaum, Rebecca and Neil Anderson, Amy Turner, Sandy Moore, Ken Betts, Jennifer and Kyle Walters, Alicia Wood, Cammie Heflin, Cara French, Nancy Winston, Ann Wood, Bill Brewer, Kim Tran, Steve Stodghill, and Stubbs Davis.