2003 Make a Wish Fundraiser

Article about The Deacons of Deadwood Harley Make-a-Wish Fundraiser - Houston Chronicle Sept 14, 2003

Galagoers live out their biker fantasies

Copyright 2003 Houston Chronicle Society Columnist

It was not your mother's charity gala. But no one really expected Saturday night's Deacons of Deadwood Harley Make-a-Wish Ball to be too typical.

Sure, there were the traditional silent auction, live auction and goodie bag components. But there was also an abundance of cleavage, tattoos (both permanent and play), black leather and skullcaps. And then there were the motorcycles.

A gang of 50 or so Deacons, biker babes and friends, most arriving on Harleys, started the party early at Sam's Boat on Richmond. At 7:30 sharp, they mounted their road monsters, gunned their roaring, grumbling engines and headed to Rockefeller Hall for the real deal. Motorcycle police, their sirens screaming, escorted the parade.

Despite their tough looks and tattoos, these veterans of Sturgis walk a straight and narrow path during the week. Sam Allen, a securities lawyer with Porter & Hedges, was the benefit honcho.
Among his leather-clad cronies were Sam Douglass, president of Equus; Al Arfsten, CEO of Dome Energy Partners; Jeff Roberts of Mercedes-Benz; and Ben Thompson, president of Sunland Engineering.

You get the picture. Bad-boy fantasies fulfilled in off hours by guys of enviable net worth. On this night, they were living the fantasy while raising $50,000 net for the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

Novelist Judith McNaught, a celebrity guest, was a bit out of her element in the biker crowd. "I arrived (at Sam's Boat) in a Bentley, and I'm leaving on a Harley," she said. "Actually, it's my first time on a motorbike."

McNaught was lured to the benefit by her financial adviser Steve Lamb, first vice president with Merrill Lynch and a Deacon of Deadwood. A session with McNaught and an intro to her publisher was one of the auction items.

The crowd filled Rockefeller's, where the timeline was much like any other fund-raiser, though the visuals were obviously not. Brian Black and his band performed. Guests grazed along heavily laden buffet tables. The bar drinks flowed.

Among the 350 crowding the club were Paula Douglass, Rusty Drake, Lynnie Mattison, Carla Thompson, Steve Sloat, Preston Douglass, and Gregory Patrick of Tours of Enchantment, provider of the single live-auction item -- a super Super Bowl package.

"We have only one live-auction deal," explained benefit veteran and biker Randy Hale."We don't want to ruin the party."



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