Shelby's Social Diary
Pouring it on at the HLS&R's Rodeo Uncorked! wine auction and dinner
Deep pockets — that's the basic requirement for making your mark at one of RodeoHouston's champion auctions. Of course, it helps if you partner with a few friends who have equally deep pockets and thereby increase your bidding prowess.
That was the game plan for a passel of high-rollers who strolled into Reliant Center Saturday night hoping to take home prize bottles from the rodeo Wine Auction. By the time the final gavel fell, more than $770,000 had been secured for scholarships.
The highest bid of the night came from Wine Auction Committee chairman himself, George DeMontrond III, and his posse. Joining him in shaking loose of a commendable $120,000 for the Grand Champion Best of Show were Marilyn DeMontrond, June and Virgil Waggoner,Raye G. White and Sheridan and John Eddie Williams, who actually attended the Houston Museum of Natural Science gala that night but had given George their proxy. They purchased the Davis Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon package that includes dinner for six at the winemaker's home in Napa Valley and a mixed case of wines.
The grand total was up from last year, an improvement that might have been due in part to the blessing and the admonition given by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the DeMontronds' guest.
"The Cardinal does not come cheap," he told the 800 diners. "So spend your money tonight. Open up your wallets."
Among those opening their wallets for any of the 50 live auction items (way too many for this cowgirl) were buyers who come back each year for their winning belt buckles and bandanas. Count the Whine Nots group, comprised of Linda Schmuck and Todd Zucker, Gay and Red Griffin and Dennis Steger, in that mix. They purchased the Top Texas Wine, Mistella Desert Wine from Flat Creek Estate.
The Wine Auction ranks as one of the more glamorous events of the rodeo with an invitation that calls for "rodeo chic" attire and a gourmet dinner by Jackson & Co., a feast accompanied by wines far beyond the typical charity fundraiser class.
What that meant fashion-wise Saturday night was plenty of beading, glitter, shimmery embroidery and ruffly blouses (definitely a look for rodeo 2010). Among the fashion standouts in the private party room were dinner chairs Clare Sullivan Jackson and Karen Pruitt plus Milton Townsend (a cowboy dandy in stylish western suit), Julie Brown, Carol Sawyer, Franelle Rogers and Ellie Francisco. And we can't overlook Best Dressed Hall of Fame honoree Danielle Ellis, stunning in all-white cowgirl suedes and fringe.
As is the case with all of the special events and auctions, the rodeo honchos turned out in force beginning with HLS&R board chairman Charles "Butch" Robinson and wife Paula, rodeo president Skip Wagner, and executive committee members that included Tilman Fertitta, Paul Somerville, Don Jordan and Jim Clepper.