The first Cattle Baron's Gala began in Dallas in 1974 to raise money for cancer research through the American Cancer Society. The inaugural event raised $56,000 through ticket sales and an auction. Since then, similar Texas-style parties have sprouted up across the state, including in Tyler.
The annual event is one of East Texas' biggest fundraisers. It raises money for the research, patient services programs and education efforts of the ACS.
This year, local supporters of the well-received event will not only celebrate the community's engagement in a fight against cancer, but will also commemorate the 25 years it's been doing so.
The annual event evolves a little each year, adding new games, gifts and by gaining more supporters and sponsors.
“It's definitely grown,” said Holly Long Burke, a co-chairman for the 2012 Tyler Cattle Barons' Gala. “The community's amazing commitment has gone above and beyond.”
The 1988 entertainer for the Tyler Cattle Barons' Gala was Louise Mandrel. Organizers raised $121,660 and, the event, with the theme Yellow Rose of Texas, was held at a Lindale horse farm.
This year, the Tyler Cattle Barons will welcome the Bellamy Brothers and Eli Young Band. Its theme is Lone Star Legacy.
In 1988, there were about 100 sponsors and 150 volunteers. Today, there are about the same number of volunteers but hundreds of sponsors.
New this year, are pig races and the Cattleman's Club, where attendees receive the VIP treatment. In recent years, organizers added air conditioned tents, gaming and featured country stars who are native to East Texas.
IF YOU GO
When: This year's gala will be held from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. June 9
Where: Wilson Ranch, 22371 Farm-to-Market Road in Arp
Information: Call ACS at 903-597-1348
Entertainment: Tyler Cattle Barons will welcome the Bellamy Brothers and Eli Young Band; new this year, are pig races and the Cattleman's Club, where attendees receive the VIP treatment. In recent years, organizers added air conditioned tents, gaming and featured country stars who are native to East Texas.
Tickets: $175 and can be purchased at the ACS office, 1301 S. Broadway Ave., or online at cattlebaronsgala.net
The Barons Reception: Open only to sponsors; begins at 6 p.m. and other events begin at 7 p.m.; the Gala will feature cowboy cuisine by acclaimed caterer Don Strange
Tickets to the drawing for the necklace cost $10, three for $25 or 12 tickets for $100
A drawing will also be held for a Cattle Barons' limited edition 2012 GMC Sierra 1500 Crew Cab, donated by Hall Buick GMC
Tickets to the drawing for the truck cost $100 each. Organizers said only 500 tickets will be sold
Eli Young Band is a country music band based in Denton; the band is composed of Mike Eli (vocals, guitar), James Young (guitar), Jon Jones (bass guitar) and Chris Thompson (drums); they released their self-titled debut album in 2002, followed by the Carnival records release “Level” in 2005; their third album, “Jet Black & Jealous,” was released in 2008 by Universal South Records; a second major-label album, “Life at Best,” was released in 2011 by Republic Nashville; it includes their first #1 hit, “Crazy Girl”