Cattle Barons’ Ball benefits fight against cancer in grand style

Cattle Barons’ Ball benefits fight against cancer in grand style

The American Cancer Society is calling out to local cowboys and cowgirls to “saddle up” for the much-anticipated annual Southeast Texas Cattle Barons’ Ball, an event that not only features fine cuisine and Grammy Award-winning entertainment, but does so while at the same time investing in the battle against cancer.

In its 25th year of offering the Cattle Barons’ Ball, ACS promises a gala to remember as guests are once again encouraged to dust off their cowboy boots and spurs and get ready for a night of entertainment kicking off at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 8, at the Ford Park Stockyard Pavilion.

This year’s Cattle Barons’ Ball will feature cuisine crafted by the famous Chef Chuck Harris, silent and live auctions, midway games and gaming tables, musical guests including Jimmy Kaiser and Grammy Award-winning artist John Anderson, and so much more. Additionally, says Cattle Barons’ Ball chair Jennifer Lyons, proceeds from the event continue to support groundbreaking research and patient programs and services to help fight cancer.

Themed under the banner of “Cowboys and Angels,” Lyons says this Cattle Barons’ Ball, “perfectly characterizes all those who have cancer, those who have survived it and those we remember who fought a brave battle.”

“Cancer,” Lyons laments, “is a disease that we all know does not discriminate. Everyone has a personal story to share about how they have been affected by it, and I’m no different. I’ve had several family members who have battled cancer. It is for these reasons that I am so passionate about making the 2014 Southeast Texas Cattle Barons’ Ball a huge success.”

Success in this instance can be weighted by the services provided to those who need them. Since the inception of the Cattle Barons’ Ball fundraisers 25 years ago, roughly $1.5 million has been raised and put to use in research, treatments options, education, and prevention efforts – “but our fight is not over,” Lyons says.

ACS initiatives supported by the funds raised from events like the Cattle Barons’ Ball include a toll-free information hotline manned 24/7, clinical trial matching services, patient navigation guidance, transportation for cancer patients, wigs, hats, comfort pillows, insurance assistance, lodging for out-of-town medical visits, and emotional support personnel. More than a million persons used the ACS hotline last year, and the organization spent roughly $27 million in lodging costs since last year, servicing nearly 50,000 patients and caregivers. More than 16,500 rides were given to patients last year thanks to the efforts of ACS and the support of those who give to the cause, and an additional 200,000 round-trip doctor office visits were paid for by ACS support dollars. To date, efforts by ACS and supporters have been instrumental in the 50 percent drop in smoking since the 1960s and a 20 percent decrease in cancer-related death rates since 1991.

And while the hard numbers are awe-inspiring, Lyons says support for the continued success of the mission is critical: “Every dollar raised by the American Cancer Society helps finish the fight against cancer by helping people stay well and get well, by finding cures, and by fighting back against a disease that has taken far too many.

“When you donate to the American Cancer Society, you are donating to life-saving research, patient services in our community, advocacy and preventative education. In one sentence: You are saving lives!”

A family with a history of supporting the life-saving initiatives of ACS is the Doguet family, who will be honored at this year’s Cattle Barons’ Ball for their group efforts. Doguet is a name synonymous with rice farming, and the business has been a staple in this community since 1979, when Doguet’s (in operation in Louisiana since the 1920s) purchased a rice dryer in Beaumont. By 1981, the business had expanded by adding a mill to create what is today known as Doguet’s Rice Milling Company. Mike Doguet and Debbie (Doguet) Robbins purchased the rice mill from their father in 1997. Debbie purchased the rice mill from her brother in 2010 and heads the enterprise as company president. Mike runs the day-to-day operations as general manager.

Together, the family runs a thriving business and gives back to the community at every opportunity.

“They do so much for this area, and they are such a giving family – the whole family,” ACS community events specialist Kathy Chessher says of the honorees. “We’re honoring the whole family, since what they do really is a family thing.”

Mike Doguet says that cancer has impacted his family just as it has many other households in Southeast Texas.

“We consider our contributions to the American Cancer Society to be seed money that will have a lasting effect and hopefully contribute to one day finding a cure,” said Mike, a veteran farmer who knows a few things about planting seeds.

Debbie (Doguet) Robbins, who runs things at the family business as head of the company, says she, too, hopes to see a day when cancer is a curable disease.

“Every family has been adversely affected in some way by cancer,” Debbie says of cancer’s far reach. “I want to be involved with the Cattle Barron’s Ball because I believe we need to do everything in our power to help support the fight of cancer.

“Someday, if we keep fighting, we will find a cure.”

Debbie says that those who support ACS and the Cattle Barons’ Ball will not only be helping in the fight against cancer, but will also be securing a night of excitement as attendees of the event are in for an evening of music, delicious decadence and revelry.

Starting at 6 p.m. for those who hold reserved tickets, “Cowboys and Angels” begins with a VIP Private Barons’ Reception underwritten by MillerCoors where guests will get the opportunity to enjoy craft beer and cuisine pairings while they’re serenaded by local artist Jimmy Kaiser. Ticketholders for the VIP reception will also get the opportunity to rub elbows with headliner John Anderson, and take photos with the guest star.

Also on stage will be The Classics Recovered, who will begin performing at 6:15 p.m. to get the crowd ready with some rockabilly and classic rock that will also be showcased in headliner John Anderson’s featured country music presentation.

Saloon doors open for the main event starting at 7 p.m. where attendees donned in their favorite “cowboy chic” attire will enjoy cowboy cuisine by Chef Chuck Harris that will include an avocado bar, Southwest salad bar, Southwest seafood bar, tamale and Southwest pork carving station, chuck wagon smoke house station, and a dessert station filled with whiskey bent creme brulee and triple chocolate brownies with warm ganache, just to name a few selections, not to mention the culinary delicacies served at the “late night station,” including breakfast croissant rolls and warm mini bags of beignets and cookies.

As attendees get their fill of Chef Harris’ offerings, they can mingle with their cohorts or get a closer look at items up for bid at the silent and live auctions. Welcome sentiments, announcements and introductions begin at 8:30 p.m., with the Spirit of Hope Lighting sparking off in quick succession.

At 9, the live auction will begin with a host of packages up for grabs including a crawfish boil for 40 sponsored by Doguet’s Crawfish Farm, MillerCoors, and The Classics Recovered Band; Houston Texans football tickets for a group of 10 with two parking passes; an onstage serenade by Grammy winner John Anderson; seven-day use of a three-bedroom Rayburn Country lake house adjacent to an 18-hole golf course and fishing bank at Lake Sam Rayburn that comes with amenities such as a round of golf for four, use of a golf cart, a $100 gift card to Timbers on the Green restaurant, a day with professional fishing guide Ray Beck, and a golf goodie bag filled with all the amenities one needs for a day on the green courtesy of MillerCoors; a skiing trip for two to Sun Valley ski resort; and a trip for two to New York City for a Broadway experience of a lifetime.

Other items up for grabs in the silent auction and on the bid board include a romantic weekend getaway for two at the Book Nook Inn bed and breakfast; Matthew Denman art; Kendra Scott jewelry; a signed baseball by Boston Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz; a wine tasting for 20 at the Messina Hof Winery; a “wedding in a box” valued at more than $5,000; sideline passes to Lamar football game and signed helmet; three-hour tour for six from Pleasure Island aboard a private cruise boat with wine and hor d’oeuvres; John Anderson signed guitar; four night Galveston getaway at a two-bedroom condo on the island with VIP passes to Moody Gardens; a Haak Vineyards and Winery private tour and tasting for up to 25 people; and a various assortments of goods and services from businesses and retailers such as the Ya Ya Club, World Gym, Olympic Dreams, James Avery, Bronze Body, and Gator Country.

While deciding which amazing auction item to bring home, guests will have gaming tables and midway games to keep their hearts pumping and boots scootin’, along with live entertainment starting at 9:45.

Tables at the Cattle Barons’ Ball start at $1,500 and include a variety of amenities and benefits, while ticket prices are $150 for general admission and $200 for Baron’s reserved admission, which includes a VIP parking pass for one vehicle and a reserved seat. The Baron’s reserve ticket also includes admission to the private reception from 6-7 p.m. where VIP guests will enjoy an upgraded menu provided by Chef Harris, premium liquors, entertainment by Texas Music Award winner and Beaumont’s own Jimmy Kaiser, and a meet-and-greet with Grammy award winner John Anderson.

For more information about the “Cowboys and Angels” Cattle Barons’ Ball, check out the event’s website at

For more information about the American Cancer Society, visit or call their toll-free hotline at (800) 227-2345 anytime, day or night.