Disco cowboys boogie down to raise big bucks for cancer at 2023 Cowtown Ball
On a perfect fall evening that beckoned for big outdoor events, hundreds of supporters of American Cancer Society gathered at the Fort Worth Zoo for the 30th anniversary Cowtown Ball.
Themed "Disco Cowboy," the beloved annual event - one of the most-anticipated galas of the season - promised a groovy-good night of fun and fundraising on Friday, October 20.
Co-chairs Ashlee Brenner and Cortney Pelley, along with honorary chair Kelly Hernandez, welcomed patrons decked out in their Western-chicest sequins, rhinestones, boots, and bling. (Sequin mini dresses were THE look of the night.)
Outdoors at a pre-dinner reception, guests fueled up at the premium cocktail bars, purchased tickets for fabulous raffle items, viewed the giraffes grazing nearby, mugged for a photo booth, participated in a $25 booze "bottle pull," and listened to Wesley Hanna entertain as a one-man acoustic band.
Under the tent in The Reserve, patrons sat down to a sumptuous Southern meal that included mojo marinated chicken breast with ancho cream sauce; smoked beef medallions peppercorn Cabernet sauce; jalapeno cheese grits; and chocolate mousse cake for dessert.
Mistress of ceremonies, CBS 11's Madison Sawyer, welcomed guests, and speakers such as Dr. Asad Dean of Texas Oncology - the event's presenting sponsor - underscored the importance of the American Cancer Society's mission in the community.
Guests showed their own enthusiasm and generosity during a rousing game of "Heads or Tails," through a live "paddle raise" that brought in more than $100,000, and with a spirited live auction for once-in-a-lifetime trips and experiences.
Among the coveted auction items were "Vacation Like a Royal" travel package to London and Paris; an Argentinian Dove Hunt; a South African Safari; a Bachendorf's diamond and white gold pendant; and a VIP experience to next year's Cowtown Ball (which ended up selling two, for $10,000 each).
Once the funds had been raised, it was time to boogie on the dance floor to the tunes of '90s tribute country band Straight Tequila Night.
Helping to pull the 30th anniversary gala event together - and enjoy it more than a little bit, too - were Cowtown Ball committee members, ACS staff, and countless volunteers, including Cyndi Bishop, Leah Vahrenkamp Brown, Melissa Howard, Joy Trigg, Christian Burton, Jordan Burton, Kristina Denapolis, Ruby Sellers, Virginia Durham Carter, Chris Ferrell, Jennifer Crossland, Beth Barber, Kathryn Gilpin, Andrew Ward, Blair Ward, Liz Vance, Emil Smith, Rachel Quisenberry, Merrill Rhynsburger, and many more.
David Hynson contributed to this report.