For the first time in its history, the Cattlemen's Ball of Nebraska has surpassed $2 million in proceeds.
Officials for the 2013 Cattlemen's Ball said the net proceeds from this year's event the Hanging H Ranch between Sutherland and Paxton were $2.12 million, exceeding the previous record by some $600,000.
The money stays in Nebraska to support cancer research and local health and wellness programs, organizers say.
During the Ball, it was announced that an anonymous donor offered $250,000 to local area food banks, if the $2 million goal was met. The food bank donation is above and beyond the $2.12 million raised, organizers said.
Ninety percent of the proceeds — some $1.9 million — will go to support cancer research at the Eppley Cancer Center in Omaha.
Ten percent of the proceeds — around $200,000 — will be distributed as grants to health and wellness organizations in the Paxton-Sutherland area.
Local organizations wishing to apply for grant funds must do so no later than July 31. An application form and additional details are available at www.cattlemensball.com.
More than $1 million of the $2.12 million total was raised during the event through silent and live auctions. Additional big ticket items for auction or raffle pushed that total higher.
These items included a John Deere tractor donated by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, a pivot irrigation system from Lindsay Manufacturing, a 60th anniversary Corvette donated by Harchelroad Motors, Inc. and a Ford F150 pickup donated by Woodhouse Auto Family.
Other items generating large sums included a trip to an Argentine winery and a barrel of wine, an African safari, and several original works of art.
Approximately 4,400 people attended the 2013 event, which was held June 7-8. The Ralph and Beverly Holzfaster family and the Neal Hanson family (on whose ranch the event was held) served as hosts. "On the Trail to a Cure" was the theme for this year's event.
"Exceeding our $2 million goal is a credit to the generosity of the people who joined us, and to the hundreds of volunteers who worked tirelessly to put on an incredible event," said Ralph Holzfaster. "We're very proud and humbled by the show of support, and are deeply gratified that this year's event has raised a record amount to help find a cure for cancer."
The Cattlemen’s Ball is hosted annually by a different Nebraska family involved in the beef industry. Its mission is to raise money for cancer research at the UNMC Eppley Cancer Center, while showcasing rural Nebraska and promoting beef as part of a healthy diet. Since its inception, the Cattlemen’s Ball has raised more than $8.4 million.
Next year, the Cattlemen's Ball will be held on the Hoot Owl Ranch in Banner County.