Boasting a Texas-sized name, the Cattle Baron’s Ball is a time-honored, Lone Star State tradition known to go big. Hard to imagine this year’s event going any bigger, as some 1,200 revelers packed Minute Maid Park for the Ball’s 35th anniversary, with a country act Lady A as the headliner.
Working hand-in-hand with the American Cancer Society and presenting sponsor Texas Oncology, the massive soiree, a bit of a relaunch, raised $2.5 million for ACS’s mission of lifesaving cancer research and work.
Notables among the sprawling crowd, who partied at tables on the Minute Maid field, included Jim and Whitney Crane, Cal and Hannah McNair, rapper 50 Cent, and a who’s-who of local A-listers. American Cancer Society CEO Karen Knudson and ACS Texas executive vice president Jeff Fehlis were also in attendance.
Emcees Derrick Shore and Courtney Zavala welcomed the crowd and kept the energy moving. Speaking of moving, Julie Cole’s rendition of the National Anthem was positively stirring, as was the sight of the Marine Corp Color Guard as they presented the colors.
Texas-themed fun included a presentation by the famed Kilgore Rangerettes and a grinning Big Tex who strutted the grounds on stilts. A charming herd — one longhorn, two cows, and two calves – were up for auction, while pig races elicited hoots and hollers from the crowd.
More fun came courtesy of a Champagne aerialist, a palm reader, and casino games with a Texas twist. Houston star restaurateur Ben Berg put a Houston spin on the evening’s menu, with Houston and Texas-themed stations. Items ranged from Tex-Mex to beefy filets, with booth themes ranging from old-timey Texas gas stations to spaceports.
Capping the night, headliner Lady A brought their country hits to the main stage, with the famously familiar “I Need You Know” providing a singalong anthem.
Bravo, then, to co-chairs Sara Parr and Disney Harris, who cowboyed up for an event that netted a baron’s-sized haul for a truly worthy cause.