23rd Annual Tyler Cattle Barons’ Gala

Cattle Barons' GalaPickups and Pearlsnaps

I attended my first Cattle Barons’ Saturday night.  I’d planned a trip for the weekend to float the river, but the strong storms across East Texas last week severely flooded the Guadalupe to the extent that no river floating will be happening for awhile.  I’ve wanted to attend the gala ever since I had moved to Tyler nine years ago and this year I was finally able to go.

The event was held at The Park of East Texas between Hwy 31 and Hwy 64.  After making our way down the dusty trail we parked and entered the party.  It was set up much like a carnival.  I am not sure what I was expecting, but this wasn’t really it.  The Horseshoe Casino had a gaming tent with blackjack, roulette, a football throwing game and a wine toss.  Oh, and a mechanical bull.  Across from the Horseshoe tent was the auction tent which housed the numerous things up for silent auction and there was food and drinks a plenty.

A decent distance from the tents stood the stage where Lee Ann Womack would perform later in the evening.  After making our rounds and taking in the sights we got in line for some food.  The food turned out to be my favorite thing about the whole ordeal.  There were pork sliders, burger sliders, avocado halves, barbeque ribs, brisket, sausage, potato salad, fried mushrooms, sweet potato fries, enchiladas, tamales, ice cream, strawberry cobbler plus much more.  Everything I ate was fantastic.  The food was provided by Eddie Dean’s catering, and those guys did an amazing job.  I seriously went back for more food maybe four times.  Yikes, so much for my summer diet!

Once it was time for Lee Ann to take the stage many people began wandering over to that area.  She sounded incredible and put on a good show.  By the time she was done it was about time to wrap things up and head home.  I think it was around 11:30 at this point which is way past my bed time.  Overall my first Cattle Barons’ experience was a great one.  I saw lots of good friends, ate lots of good food, and finally got to see firsthand what all the fuss is about surrounding the event.

The Park of East Texas
2112 W. Front Street
Tyler, TX 75702
(903) 597-2501

3rd Annual Cause For The Paws

Miranda LambertI was not only beyond flattered but also super excited when Tony Boykin of That’s What I’ll Do (T.W.I.D.) invited the Tylerites to be his guests at Miranda Lambert’s Cause for the Paws concert at the Villa di Felicita.  Cause for the Paws is the major fundraiser for the Humane Society of East Texas.  Last year the event raised $125,000, and this year the goal was $150,000.  Since the HSOET relies so heavily on donations, the generosity of East Texans is what keeps this fantastic organization afloat. The HSOET has recently become a no kill animal sanctuary.  Therefore, they are no longer the recipient of animal sheltering contracts.  Unfortunately, the ethical decision to become a no kill facility was also a costly one, so every dollar, bag of food, carton of laundry detergent and gallon of bleach donated are vitally important to the employees, volunteers, and animals residing at the sanctuary.

Miranda LambertThough good food and plentiful wine are typically all it takes for me to have a good time, throw a few native East Texan celebrities in there and you’ve got a surefire recipe for a great evening.  Miranda Lambert deserves so much credit for all she does to help the HSOET.  She lends her name, her money, her time and her talent to the event, and it’s touching to know that despite her fame and success she is willing to come home and support this worthwhile cause.  Before Miranda took the stage, both the Whiskey Myers band and Kacey Musgraves put on great performances, then Mark Scirto traded his meteorologist’s hat for his auctioneer’s hat and engaged the entire audience while the dollars rolled in.   The food was provided by Villa Montez, and the wine was provided by Kiepersol Estates and Red 55 Winery.

Miranda LambertWhen the time for Miranda to come on stage rolled around, everyone had taken their seat or camped up front in the standing room only area, and all eyes were on her as she delivered a thoroughly awesome show.  As ending time neared, she warned those who were leaving early that they really should stick around…  Even though we should have seen it coming, it was such an exciting surprise when Miranda’s new fiance’, Blake Shelton, joined her on stage for a couple of songs.

Miranda Lambert and Blake SheltonIt was getting late, and though I was sad to see Miranda and Blake call it a night, I was more upset that this fabulous night was almost over.  We hiked back to the truck and headed for home.  I still smile when I think about what a fantastic time I had last weekend, and am excited about the wonderful friends I met while I was there.  Only 51 weeks to go until next year’s Cause for the Paws!


Only Prettier
Famous in a Small Town
Dead Flowers
Dry Town
More Like Her
Time to Get a Gun
Heart Like Mine
Guilty in Here
Maintain the Pain
You’re the Reason God Made Oklahoma (Rick Lambert)
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Love Letters
New Strings
Stay With Me
The House That Built Me
Sin for a Sin
Travelin’ Band
White Liar
That’s the Way the World Goes ‘Round
Gunpowder and Lead
Home  (Blake Shelton)
Hillbilly Bone (Blake Shelton)

videos credit: KNUE 101.5

Villa Di Felicita
7891 State Highway 110 N
Tyler, TX 75704-4927
(903) 597-0002

Country For Our Country

country1I was fortunate enough to be able to attend Country for Our Country this past weekend, and I had the most wonderful time.  What could be better than spending an evening in a beautiful venue with fabulous entertainment all while enjoying delicious food and drinks?  Oh, AND it was all for a great cause!  Country for Our Country was a benefit concert in honor of all the brave, wounded and disabled soldiers from East Texas who served to protect our freedom.  Funds raised will go to wounded warriors and their families to help pay for their educations at East Texas colleges and universities.  Just one of several special guests in attendance was United States Marine and Shadow of the Sword author Jeremiah Workman, who was also in Tyler on Friday night signing copies of his book at Barnes and Noble.

The event was held at the Villa di Felicita off Hwy 110 in Tyler.  Anyone who has ever attended a wedding or event here can vouch for how gorgeous this property is.  Upon pulling up the long driveway, attendees were greeted by the friendly valet service and asked to complete an application for a Unicard if you were intending on drinking.  Drinks and snacks were being served in the main room inside, but we were only there for a few minutes before they closed down all the indoor activities and moved everyone outside.  Royal Restrooms was also set up outside, and the lines for the bathrooms were always short, and the facilities themselves were nice and clean.  No porta potties here!

countryOutside there was a large stage set up in front of the alter area, and some large tents housed the silent auctions and the food and beverage centers.  We mingled for awhile then made our way over to the food line.  The food was catered by Villa Montez and Bernard’s Mediterranean Restaurant, and everything I ate was delicious, especially Bernard’s meatballs and the Yucatan sweet pork and rice served by Villa Montez.  After eating we made our way back to the stage where we enjoyed a very entertaining Johnny Cash rendition by the talented Derek Sholl.  Other musical performers that night included Heidi Newfield, Kacey Musgraves, and Joe Nichols.  All the music was incredibly enjoyable.

As the night progressed, the thing I kept noticing over and over was what a great time everyone appeared to be having.  It was like one big party, and everyone was having a blast.  Once Derek Sholl was done performing he even came out to take pictures and talk with the attendants.  The weather that evening became quite chilly, but there were heaters set up on the main patio area where people could gather to warm up.  I did not get a chance to see it, but David Yurman was auctioning off a one of a kind piece of diamond jewelry.  I’d love to know who the lucky person was who took it home.  Eventually, things wrapped up and it was time to head home.    Sadly, the word on the street is Country for Our Country will not be returning next year.  I think the people of Tyler and East Texas need to do whatever it takes to make sure this event sticks around for good.

Villa Di Felicita
7891 State Highway 110 N
Tyler, TX 75704-4927
(903) 597-0002