Little if anything related to charitable fundraising at the Tilman Ferttita home is without TV-worthy drama and party excellence. Consider the most recent "Gathering of Champions" benefiting Houston Children's Charity.
Texas A&M football coach Kevin Sumlin and wife Charlene arrived in the billionaire entrepreneur's massive backyard in River Oaks via Fertitta's private helicopter.
How sweet it was for the 100 VIPs who had ponied up the $1,000 per person to rub elbows with celebs of the sports world including coaching legends R.C. Slocum of A&M history and Wade Phillips, formerly of the Houston Texans. For good measure astronaut Walt Cunningham was part of the talent pool.
Laura Ward, HCC executive director, and Fertitta, HCC board chairman, welcomed the 32 athletes that included Brian Ching, Hakeem Olajuwon, Spencer Tillman, Ray Childress, Elvin Hayes, Robert Horry, John Lucas, Eric Winston and Bucky Richardson. Assistant director of A&M football Justin Moore joined the party as well, arriving in that helicopter with Sumlin.
In addition to savoring the sports-rich celebrity turnout, guests dined around the Fertitta resort-style swimming pool on delicacies from the Landry's restaurant empire. Food stations included shrimp cocktails, stuffed salmon and filet mignon, all the sides and desserts. As is standard for events at the Fertitta home, the accent was on great food, service and fun.
Big spenders, aka HCC mega-supporters, were David Huntington, high bidder on the photo opp with the celebs, and Edna Meyer-Nelson, high bidder on the golf opportunity with Clyde Drexler and Craig Biggio. Their generosity and that of other guests helped raise $110,000 for HCC coffers.
Joining this multi-tiered evening were Paige Fertitta, Dave Ward, Gary Becker and Kellie Letsos, Andrew Cordes and Brian Teichman, Grant Guthrie, Dan D’Armond, Debbie and Bob Ogle, Dancie and Jim Ware, Maria Moncada-Alaoui and Omar Alaoui, Monty Meave, Kris Cogliano and Otis Peavy.