Most Amazing Bandana Ball Success Ever!

by Jan Gunter

Volunteer and Friends of the House member, David Rabke, with staff members Paula Duke and Derrick Lesnau.

Volunteer and Friends of the House member, David Rabke, with staff members Paula Duke and Derrick Lesnau. Photo by Stacey Harrell, 501(c)andids.

We’ve done this 24 times – this Bandana Ball – and I’ve been around for the last seven of them, but I am here to tell you this morning that we outdid ourselves on Saturday night. And when I say “we” that includes a whole lot of people starting with Kim and Tom Hibler who chaired this year’s event, and Kim’s challenge last year that we could raise $500,000. That, my friends, was a big challenge. Half a million dollars. The most we’d every raised before was last year at $412,000 – and that was no small accomplishment.

Kim, of Dell fame, set the bar high, and the staff, committee and board embraced the challenge. Then our development department, led by Ann Jerome and Missy Strittmatter, went to work with the committee a year ago to make it happen.

We not only made the $500,000 goal Saturday night, but we surpassed it – by at least $50,000!! Here’s Ann’s note to the board of directors on Sunday following the Ball:

What an AMAZING night at The Wild Onion! Bandana Ball 2013 was a super success and I wanted to make sure that each of you knew how appreciative we are for your leadership and support each step of the way. The Committee and Staff worked really hard to live up to our fearless leader, Kim Hibler’s, big audacious goal of $500K and I am THRILLED with all of the hard work, determination, stewardship and planning that went into what was nearly a flawless event.

All of the work has paid off and RMHC-Austin has a lot of new partners and some very inspired longtime ones! The night was electric and the numbers are beyond belief – we’ll keep tallying this week but right now we know that we raised more than $550,000 (and, that’s conservative I think!) – I really can’t think of new adjectives to describe how awesome this year’s Bandana Ball really was on many levels.  –Ann

We could never say enough thanks to the Edgerton family for their generosity in sharing their home, The Wild Onion Ranch, with us for this amazing event. This photo of the entrance and the check-in table gives you an idea of the beauty and mood of this spectacular property.

The beautiful Wild Onion Ranch.

The beautiful Wild Onion Ranch.
Photo by Stacey Harrell, 501(c)andids.

They not only make this beautiful venue available to us, but they are part of the “we” involved in planning this event each year from the beginning. This year they made the centerpieces and built the darling Ronald McDonald House, complete with real longhorns.

That “we” included our amazing auctioneer, Gayle Stallings, who paused to have her picture made with J’Marcus Webb, Chicago Bears offensive tackle. J’Marcus was part of a Chicago Bears auction package that sold for $3,500, and I’m sure a lot of folks had their photo made with him throughout the evening. I hear he posed in the Photobooth with a twirly-gig hat on. Can’t wait to see that photo!

Auctioneer, Gayle Stallings, poses with Chicago Bears offensive tackle, J'Marcus Web at the Bandana Ball.

Auctioneer, Gayle Stallings, poses with Chicago Bears offensive tackle, J’Marcus Web at the Bandana Ball.

Gayle, of Fun Auctions, led us to new auction success with almost $200,000 raised under the tent through Sponsor a Family donations and the Live Auction. That “we” included hundreds of incredibly generous donors who bid on auction items and who donated more than $150,000 in Sponsor a Family donations alone!

Ann Jerome posted this cute photo on her Instagram with our guest of honor, Brooke Hester, who has stayed at our Ronald McDonald House several times when she has been in Austin for treatments. Brooke is holding the Ronald McDonald doll that Ann had just given her. Brooke and her family are part of the “we” that made our event an amazing success on Saturday, and Brooke and J’Marcus were definitely the stars of the night!

Ann Jerome posted this on her Instagram page.

Ann Jerome posted this on her Instagram page.

You can see the video of Brooke that we shared on Saturday night at the Ball, and you can follow her progress on her Caring Bridge page as she continues to valiantly fight her battle.

Our media friends were there, including The Austinot, Michael Barnes and many others:

Tweets from the Austinot and Michael Barnes.

Tweets from the Austinot and Michael Barnes.

Watch for stories to follow from these writers and more.

Next year’s ball will be our 25th, and we already have the date: March 22, 2014. Save the Date, and we’ll see you out at the Wild Onion Ranch with your cowboy boots on!

Were you part of the “we” that made Bandana Ball 2013 an over-the-top success either by being there or by being part of the planning and preparation?

How many Bandana Balls have you attended?

This entry was posted in Events, Jan, Ronald McDonald House Charities and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Most Amazing Bandana Ball Success Ever!

  1. Pingback: Guest Blog: “Most Amazing Bandana Ball Success Ever!” | FUNauctions

  2. Denny Meyer says:

    This was my 24th Bandana Ball , Yes I was at the 1st Ball and our goal was the same to raise money and that goal was $40,000.00 , I don’t think, in our wildest dreams we would have ever dreamed our how this has grown. What a wonderful Ronald House Staff we have in place, great venue, which ties in to the setting of the Bandana Ball, and of course the countless volunteers, and a community which has always had a place in there heart for the mission of our Ronald McDonald House. I am so proud to be a part of this spirit.

    • rmhcaustin says:

      Denny – thank you so much for taking time to add this piece of history. Wow – you’ve been to all 24 Bandana Balls – that is amazing and wonderful! What support. What commitment. What generosity. We are so proud to have you as part of the foundation of this amazing charity, carrying on this mission faithfully for so many years.

      Part of the “we” of which I spoke includes all those like you who have built this foundation without which we could not have had this success. Thank you for being there 24 years ago and for being there every step of the way since.


  3. Paula Duke says:

    The “we” that Jan speaks of, is in fact hundreds of people – most of which are volunteers!! THAT’S the amazing part to me. Sure, we have an outstanding staff. But part of what defines us, are the people that give their time, not to mention their heart and soul to our organization. Piece by piece this event came together over 12 months. From the burlap wrapped water bottles to the photo booth to the registration people to the numerous committees working out every last detail. For what you have all collectively done for our organization – for the familes we serve – we cannot thank you enough!

    • rmhcaustin says:

      Indeed, Paula, the volunteers are the “we” of which I spoke. Countless volunteers who work year-round to ensure that it all comes together on our one big night. Thank you for being one of those volunteers who turned into a staff member!!

  4. The mood was “electric” and the Edgerton’s Wild Onion Ranch is the PERFECT setting for this annual event. The Wild Onion feels like “home” as does the “Ronald McDonald House” so it’s a perfect match. Of all the “galas” in Austin, the Bandana Ball always feels like a night with good friends – some you already know, and some you meet for the first time that night – all of whom share our love of the work that is done every day in “The House That Love Built”! Watch out 2014 … here we come!

    • rmhcaustin says:

      Agreed on all counts, Karen. Thank you and Rob for being part of what makes this place – and this event – feel like “home”, not just on one night but every day of the year.

  5. Claire Mathias says:

    There are so many inspiring aspects to this event, but one of the most inspiring to me is to witness a group of donors of all levels accomplish so much together. One example is the Sponsor a Family live auction. We were in the check-in tent, and even from there we could hear and feel an incredibly energy. I just love the fellowship that comes out of this Bandana Ball, and knowing that families like Brooke’s will get the home away from home that they need.

    • rmhcaustin says:

      How cool that you could feel the Sponsor a Family energy from the check-in tent, Claire! It was a magical moment, and all the people under the big tent lifted their bid cards to raise a stunning amount of money for Sponsor a Family.

      I love that you used the word “fellowship” to describe the connections and the sharing of a common goal and hard work together toward that goal. All of the hard work side by side certainly does lead to new connections and forging of old ones.

  6. Jane Rose says:

    It was an AWESOME night! My second BBall to attend, and it was great to see everyone having such a good time, including everyone who volunteered at the event and worked their boots off! Thanks to all of them for spending their time with us, working hard to make it such a success! Our Longhorn Band volunteers, among many others, were absolutely fabulous!!!

    • rmhcaustin says:

      Jane, thanks for doing an amazing job organizing all of the volunteers for this year’s Ball. That certainly made everything flow more smoothly than ever!

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