The Cattlemen’s Ball of Nebraska is one of the largest, if not the largest, charitable fund-raising events in the state.
It is not associated with the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Association. It is associated with the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center.
As Crystal Kluge, promotions chairwoman for the Cattlemen’s Ball of Nebraska Volunteers, explains: The three main goals of the Cattlemen’s Ball is (first and foremost) to fundraise for cancer research, while also encouraging a healthy diet which includes beef and promoting the Nebraska beef industry and showcasing its diversity.
“Cancer touches so many people,” Kluge said. “Everyone knows someone affected by cancer.”
Over the last 20 years, the ball has raised about $15 million, she said. The majority of that money – 90% – goes directly to cancer research. Nothing goes to administration fees, she said. It is specifically earmarked for research. The other 10% goes to local area health initiatives.
Kluge said the goal this year is to gather $2.5 million. So far, about $2 million has been collected, she said.
Each year the ball is hosted by a different city. This allows the event to benefit as many Nebraskans as possible. The 2021 ball is being held at the Scott & Pat Mueller farm, north of Columbus. They were set to host last year when the event was canceled due to COVID-19.
The Cattlemen’s Ball attracts thousands of people each year. In fact, tickets sell out annually, Kluge said. There have been about 4,500 tickets sold already. It does this by providing entertainment, dining, shopping, art and demonstrations.
The kick-off event on Friday, June 4, is a golf tournament held at the Elks Country Club Golf Course beginning at 8 a.m. Capping that day’s activities is a concert by country music star Tracy Byrd.
Saturday, there is a wine tasting, a style show and two more concerts. Country artist Easton Corbin hits the stage at 8:30 p.m., followed by the local Side Step Band at 10:15 p.m.
Those attending Saturday events will have a chance to win raffle prizes at 6 p.m. There are also two silent auctions and four live auctions over the two-day event. One silent and one live auction will be on Friday between 4-8:15 p.m.; the rest – including a farm & ranch auction – are spread out between 9 a.m. and 8:15 p.m., on Saturday.
Even those not actually at the auction will be able to bid on the silent auction items, Kluge said. There is a link on the Cattlemen’s Ball of Nebraska website for those wishing to do so. According to Kluge there are “tons of silent auction items.”
Of course, the best bet is to actually attend the event.
“Everyone should attend at least one ball,” Kluge said.
Jon Burleson can be reached at email@example.com.