Givin' cancer the boot

Steve Wariner

Cattle Barons’ Ball, in asso­ciation with the American Cancer Society, is celebrating its 24th year of givin’ cancer the boot at the “Boomtown Bash” on Saturday, Nov. 9, in the stockyard barns of Ford Park in Beaumont.

Tables 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 a private reception from 6-7 p.m. where VIP guests will enjoy an upgraded menu, pre­mium liquors, entertainment by Texas Music Award winner and Beaumont’s own Jimmy Kaiser, and a meet and greet with Steve Wariner.

A musical performance by The Classics Recovered Band will kick the Cattle Barons’ Ball off at 7 p.m. with live and silent auctions to follow as well as other fun activities, includ­ing a chance to cowboy up on a mechanical bull or try your hand at a little calf roping.

Other attractions include:

• Mystery Box – purchase a ticket for $25 for a chance to win the grand prize, a $1,000 gift card from Howell Furni­ture. One box contains the grand prize, and each box has a guaranteed value of $25.

• Mathews Jewelers Red­neck Roadie – commemora­tive glass with a chance to win a $3,000 Slane jewelry ensem­ble from Mathews Jewelers.

• Bid Board

• Midway games

• Many other games and prizes

Patrons will also enjoy a mouth-watering menu (includ­ing dinner at 7 p.m. and a midnight breakfast) prepared by renowned San Antonio caterer Don Strange, who has been preparing meals for cattle barons since the 1970s Texas oil boom.

“It’s open bar and all you can eat,” said Kathy Chessher, community manager of distin­guished events for ACS. “Cat­tle Barons’ is known for deli­cious food, and over the years, our guests have enjoyed that aspect of the event. Don is coming back this year to put together an amazing array of all kinds of different foods for our guests to enjoy.”

Good food and good music go hand-in-hand, and Cattle Barons’ has you covered. Dance the night away under the stars with a performance by CMA, AMC and Grammy Award-winning artist Steve Wariner and late-night enter­tainment by Allen Duhon.

Also special to this year’s Cattle Barons’ Ball is the hon­oring of County judges Jeff Branick (Jefferson), Carl Thibodeaux (Orange), Billy Caraway (Hardin) and Jim Sylvia (Chambers).

“The judges have demon­strated support to the Ameri­can Cancer Society over the years,” Chessher said, adding that Thibodeaux’s daughter had just completed treatment for cancer and that Caraway was a cancer survivor as well. “We’re just saying thank you to them.”

Cattle Barons’ Ball celebrates survivors

As ACS celebrates its 100th birthday this year, nearly 14 million people in the U.S. who have had cancer can them­selves celebrate more birth­days after fighting off the deadly disease. Luke LaPray, 12, of Vidor is one of the 14 million. Luke, who is a former catcher and first baseman for the Vidor River Rats select baseball team, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in June of 2012. The cancer was discov­ered after Luke, who also played soccer and basketball, had been complaining about pain in his leg when sliding into second base.

“It’s a fairly rare condition,” said Hal LaPray, Luke’s dad. “There are a few hundred cas­es in the United States on an annual basis.”

Luke had a tumor that origi­nated in his tibia and fibula in his right leg.

“By the time they found it, it was a massive tumor,” Hal said. But the tumor itself was not the immediate concern, he said.

“The doctors were much more concerned about the can­cer that they could not see,” he said. “Osteosarcoma is not detectable through any scan­ning technologies that we have today.”

Oct. 1, 2012, Luke had rota­tionplasty surgery — a type of autograft wherein a portion of a limb is removed, while the remaining limb below the involved portion is rotated and reattached to allow a function­ing knee joint. The nerves in the foot continue to provide information to the brain to help with balance.

“Cosmetically it is the most grotesque of all surgeries that he could have gone through, but should give him the most func­tionality long term,” Hal said.

Since the initial surgery, Luke has undergone six rounds of global chemotherapy, 18 rounds overall and due to a series of infections, has had to have several surgeries.

Luke continues to progress, his father said.

“He continues to battle.” Hal said. “The fusion between the two bones in his rotationplas­ty has not taken yet. Unfortunately his leg is not weight baring yet, and he continues to ambulate in a wheel­chair.”

H a l said the family is hopeful, however, that over the next few months Luke’s leg will continue to fuse and he will be able to utilize a prosthetic leg, adding that funds raised for ACS through events like Cattle Barons’ Ball indirectly benefit cancer patients like Luke through cancer research and programs.

“Outside of leukemia, we just don’t know much about child cancers,” Hal said. “These kinds of organizations are the only organizations that are going to fund that research to help these kids. We’ve got to figure out more about it.”

Hal said Luke was able to attend the Little Wrangler’s Party on July 13 at Sports Connection in Beaumont, where he met around 20 other children who were fighting or had fought battles with cancer. Sports Connection, Classic Chevrolet and the Junior League of Beaumont under­wrote the cost for the party.

“It’s an opportu­nity for the kids to get together and see other people who have been through that battle as well,” Hal said, “and just have a day where they don’t have to worry about cancer.”

Chessher said repre­sentatives from the Golden Triangle Quilt Guild had swatches of fabric precut and every child survivor made a handprint on the fabric.

“The guild took the swatch­es and made it into a beautiful, one-of-a-kind quilt with all those children’s’ handprints and they’ve embroidered their names next to each handprint for the different kids,” she said.

Chessher said the quilt would be available for auction at the Cattle Barons’ Ball.

The impact

The Cattle Barons’ Ball has raised more than $2 million for cancer research and ser­vices since its inception. Last year alone, the Beaumont ACS office served more than 1,500 patients with a myriad of free services including:

• 855 Road to Recovery Trips (transportation to and from treatment appointments)

• 714 Personal Health Man­ager Kits

• 90 Reach to Recovery Program visits (volunteers offer support and up-to-date information for breast cancer patients)

• 57 Look Good Feel Better Makeovers

• 389 gift items (turbans, hats, etc.)

• 215 wigs

• 44 I Can Cope Support Group Meetings

Additionally, ACS’s High Plains Division (which includes Southeast Texas) funded $43.8 million in cancer research grants last year and is the only cancer organization that provides round-the-clock help whenever patients or caregivers need it by calling (800) 227-2345.

Nationwide, ACS has awarded:

• More than $3.8 billion in research grants since 1946

• More than 1 million free transportation services

• Support for 90,000 patients

• Free lodging for more than 40,000 patients in 31 locations

Cattle Barons’ Ball sponsors and volunteers

This year’s event is spon­sored by the Southeast Texas Area Ford Dealers — David Self Ford in Orange, Energy Country Ford in Port Arthur, Silsbee Ford, Kinsel Ford in Beaumont, Philpott Ford in Nederland, Sour Lake Ford and Jasper Ford.

“The Southeast Texas Ford Dealers are proud to be the presenting sponsor of the Southeast Texas Cattle Bar­ons’ Ball, contributing to the important work of the Ameri­can Cancer Society,” said David Self, owner of David Self Ford in Orange. “Ford Park makes the ideal host for the Bash as we celebrate its 10-year anniversary.”

In addition to approximately 50 committee members, chairs and co-chairs, hundreds of vol­unteers help make Cattle Bar­ons’ Ball possible, said Charlie Holder, chair of the event.

“We’re working really, real­ly hard to try to figure out a way to get cancer out of the vocabulary of our culture,” Holder said. “The American Cancer Society is actively spending money trying to find a cure. All the money (from Cattle Barons’ Ball) goes directly into American Cancer Society’s pockets.”

According to ACS litera­ture, about 580,350 Americans are expected to die of cancer in 2013 — almost 1,600 people per day. Exceeded only by heart disease, cancer is the second most common cause of death in the U.S., accounting for nearly one of every four deaths.

For more information on Cattle Barons’ Ball or to pur­chase tickets, call (409) 835- 2139 or visit www.cattlebar­ For more information on the American Cancer Society, call (409) 835-2138 or visit www.cancer. org.

Steve Wariner — country music hit writing machine — headlines Cattle Barons' Ball

Four-time Grammy Award winner Steve Wari­ner was born with music in his blood. From Indiana, Wariner was introduced to music at an early age as he began playing in his father’s band, and it wasn’t long before he was playing clubs as a teenager.

He then toured with per­formers like Dottie West, Glen Campbell and Chet Atkins as a bass player and was then signed to RCA Records by Atkins in 1976. It took a few years but Wariner released Down in Tennessee in 1980 with the first single being “I’m Already Taken,” which was later recorded by the late Conway Twitty.

It took six songs before Wariner cracked the Top 10 as “Your Memory” in 1982 peaked at No. 7 from his second self-titled album. Then came his first of 14 No. 1 singles — “All Roads Lead to You.”

Chart toppers include “Some Fools Never Learn,” “You Can Dream of Me,” “Life’s Highway,” “Small Town Girl,” “The Weekend,” “Lynda,” “I Should Be with You,” “I Got Dreams,” “Where Did I Go Wrong,” “The Domino Theory,” “Tips of My Fingers,” “What If I Said” and “Holes in the Floor of Heaven.”

Other notable tunes are “By Now,” “Midnight Fire,” “Lonely Women Make Good Lovers,” “What I Didn’t Do,” and “Two Teardrops” plus he wrote the theme song for the ABC television hit series Who’s The Boss?

His last studio record came earlier this year with It Ain’t All Bad, which was released on his own label SelecTone Records.

Wariner, now 58, became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1996.