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Society / The Seen

Dallas’ Ultimate Western Party — Inside a $4.8 Million Night

Everything You Need to Know About the Cattle Baron's Ball Tradition

BY // 02.07.19

Upon entering my office inside PaperCity HQ, the first thing you will see is one of my favorite possessions — a 1980s denim jacket I scored at Vintage Martini. It’s usually draped over a chair, so as to best display the back, which has “DALLAS” bedazzled in rhinestones over a hand painted depiction of the city’s skyline, complete with a crystal-covered Reunion Tower. (Subtle, I know.)

By day, this treasured find serves as both a conversation starter and a piece of art, but, since the day it was purchased, I knew there would be a night when it would be allowed to shine in all of its glory: Cattle Baron’s Ball. Like the epic American Cancer Society fundraiser itself, the jacket is at once fun, casual, over-the-top, and as Dallas as you can get.

Co-chairs Jonika Nix and Katy Bock — the latter, dazzling in a white leather corset, fringed chaps, and a diamond collar necklace (from Bachendorf’s, natch) — ensured that the evening lived up to its legacy and beyond. The 45th annual benefit raised a record-breaking $4.8 million for the cause, and more than 3,000 came out to Gilley’s in the name of giving cancer the boot. Between the silent and live auctions, casino, mechanical bull, and Ferris wheel, there was no shortage of entertainment.

The iconic Charlie Daniels Band fiddled away as guests indulged in savory Southern bites, including chicken and waffles, home-style macaroni and cheese, and Texas shrimp and grits.

The 2018 theme, Sapphires and Spurs, of course meant that Western-chic ensembles were accessorized with brilliant specimens of the precious gemstone, as well as its ever-timeless friend, the diamond. Despite the penchant for jewels, the Cattle Baron’s crowd is one that likes its chicken fried (on cheat day — usually it’s grilled at Le Bilboquet), the occasional cold beer on a Friday night (or a martini), a pair of jeans that fit just right (Current/Elliott or L’Agence), and the radio on — or, better yet, a semi-private concert with the Zac Brown Band, the troupe behind the beloved country anthem “Chicken Fried.” (Lyrical pun intended.)

The Grammy Award-winning country stars kept everyone on their boots, and, by the time the late-night menu was closed and the after party’s Georgia Bridgwater Orchestra performed its last song, we were ready to do it all again.

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PC Seen: Lawrence Bock, Brooke Hortenstine, Maggie Cooke Kipp, Nancy Rogers, Marjon and Gibbs Henderson, Vodi Cook, Meghann O’LearyKameron WestcottShelby GoffNancy GopezPaige LaneStephanie Collins CavenLeisa StreetLauren HillKathleen HutchinsonBrynn BagotRachel and John Michell, and 2019 Cattle Baron’s Ball chairs Wendy Messmann and Lisa Shirley.

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