The first Cattle Baron’s Ball was a full-fledged Texas barbecue under the chairmanship of Patti Hunt and Jacque Wynne, who founded the event to raise funds for cancer research through the American Cancer Society. More than 500 guests attended the western-themed event in 1974, which was held at Toddie Lee Wynne’s Star Brand Ranch. Through ticket sales and the auction, the inaugural event raised $56,000. Today the ball hosts more than 3,000 guests and raises millions each year.
Country music’s most revered performers have entertained at the ball throughout its 44-year history, including Tammy Wynette, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, George Strait, Waylon Jennings, Brooks & Dunn, Clint Black, Dwight Yoakam, Big & Rich, Toby Keith, Sugarland and Brad Paisley.
While some might be hand-wringing at the prospect of continuing a legacy of ensuring more cancer research dollars are spent in Dallas than anywhere else in the country, they probably aren’t familiar with the members of the Cattle Baron’s Ball. Fortunately, the Cattle Baron’s Ball Committee is not comprised of the faint-of-heart – as evidenced by the fact that the CBB is the largest single-night fundraiser in the nation for cancer research through the American Cancer Society. To date, the ball has generated over $81 million in only 45 years.