Unlike in the old days, Saturday night's Cattle Baron's Ball was not dependent on oil-rich guests. Texas oil is in a down cycle, but the live auction prices were gushers. On Monday morning, the rough count was that it netted $1 million and the whole event raised about $ 4 million -- all for the American Cancer Society.
The auction's vineyard excursion to Napa? $58,000. A day of shooting 20 machine guns with instruction from a Navy SEAL, an Army Ranger, a Green Beret and a Dallas SWAT officer? $82,000.
But the Barbecue Boys topped them all with a last-minute surprise.
For the 25th year, Dallas celebrity chefs Nick Barclay, Richard Chamberlain, Dean Fearing, Kevin Garvin, David Holben, Kent Rathbun and Jim Severson -- the self-proclaimed Barbecue Boys -- offered a one-day package. They come to your house, ranch, wherever and prepare a fabulous meal complete with cases of champagne.
"We've raised over $2 million in 25 years of doing this gig," said Rathbun.
Saturday, as two bidders fought it out, the price stalled at $72,000.
"We wanna raise 100 grand tonight," said Rathbun. The auctioneer smiled and tried to disguise a pessimistic gulp.
But then the Barbecue Boys gathered for an on-stage huddle. After lots of internal mumbling and nodding, they offered themselves to both bidders -- if each would pay $75,000.
The two bidders, Dallas heavy hitters Amy Turner and Hal Brierley nodded their assents. A total of $150,000 was paid for the chefs.
Previous Cattle Baron's headliner Dwight Yoakam had early evening guests dancing to "Pocket of a Clown." On the main stage, Toby Keith belted out hits to the crowd of 3,000 guests.