Dr. Marcelo Hochman is a genuinely nice guy. Sure, that reads cliche, but consider his impact on children with vascular birthmarks and hemangiomas. To date, Hochman has performed more than 130 life-changing surgeries and laser treatments on children who could not afford treatment without the assistance of his Hemangioma Treatment Foundation. On Thursday night, a few hundred well-heeled people helped raise funds for future operations by attending the fifth annual Cowboy Couture Gala, a rollicking affair held at Memminger Auditorium.
The cocktail hour took place in the garden, where wandering waiters tempted guests with fried catfish bites and bacon-wrapped quail eggs. At sundown, attendees moved inside for "Cowboy Chow," a seated three-course meal courtesy of James Burns Catering. The visual impact of the room was stunning: Hundreds of candles illuminated the room with a warm glow, which counterbalanced cavernous feel of the auditorium, while a soothing palette of blue, cream, and yellow softened the industrial nature of the performance space. Event designer Lisa Thomas (ooh! events) had cleverly suspended shelves from the ceiling on which she placed vases of sunflowers, all of which floated some 20 feet above the guests' heads.
This party was no one trick pony. A fleet of volunteers, including Dr. Hochman's staff, had pulled out all the stops—live music, good grub, exciting giveaways, and even a world class trick roper. What's a trick roper? Well, he's a rootin', tootin', whip-totin' cowboy named Charlie Keyes who can lasso a gal from 100 feet. Keyes holds the 2006 Guinness Book of Records title for throwing the world's largest rope (107+ feet), and he wowed the crowd with his showmanship during dinner. Although the auction seemed to outlast many guests' attention spans, the band cranked the energy level back up and the dance floor was a mob scene within 30 seconds. By the time the band played a Michael Jackson song—the third song of the set—practically everyone was up and dancing.