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MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE RANCH

South Texas Charity Weekend Hosts 23rd Successful Event

By Dr. Fred Bryant  Photography by Marie Langmore

THE SCENE: Once called the Desierto de los Muertos (Desert of the Dead) by the early European settlers and travelers, the heart of the brush country hosted the very lively 23rd annual South Texas Charity Weekend. By all accounts, the event proved the early settlers wrong. In fact, guests who attended enjoyed all the festivities seemed very much vital and vivacious the entire weekend.

THE VIBE: Gorgeous weather provided an enjoyable outdoor experience for all. The activities included nature tours, shooting experiences, artist’s markets, and brunch on the King Ranch, as well as an exclusive Saturday evening banquet and auction at the spectacular Tio and Janell Kleberg Wildlife Research Park. Guests came from across Texas and as far away as Denver, and were hosted for two nights at nearby ranches, which is a special treat for an experienced cowhand or a city dweller.

THE CAUSE: The fields of health care, ranching heritage, and wildlife conservation benefited from the generous donors who offered their time and resources for these endeavors. The charities include Christus Spohn Hospital, Kleberg Halo Flight, the King Ranch Institute for Ranch Management, and the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute.

THE HONOREE: Cajun by birth, but with a deep love of Scotland, South Texas Charity Weekend honoree Cornelius Dupré enjoyed the title of 2016 South Texan of the Year. Along with the presentation of his Texas Birth Certificate painting at the Saturday evening banquet, two Scottish bagpipers made their grand entry, followed by an eloquent introduction by Cornelius’ dear friend, Scott Cone of Houston.

Named for his grandfather who came to Opelousas, Louisiana on the “Orphan Train” from the New York Foundling Hospital at the age of three, Dupré grew up in the Southeast Louisiana countryside where his love of the outdoors developed. A camp on Bayou Courtableau provided a wonderful opportunity for the young boy, who spent plenty of time around a campfire listening to stories about Louisiana politics. After obtaining his B.S., JD, and MBA, he returned to practice law in Eunice, Louisiana. On a duck hunting trip, his friends talked him into starting his own business in the oil and gas industry. He borrowed $5,000 from his father, and off he went. Seventeen years later, his international business was merged into what is today NOV.

After years of hunting four legged animals across North America, he “graduated” to bird hunting in South Texas through the guidance of Henry Hamman of Houston. He and his lovely wife of 26 years, Celia, a trained opera singer, share many passions including their Scottish-style home in Colorado appropriately named Invercauld. Cornelius’ passion for the outdoors is something he has also shared over his lifetime with his two children, Angele and Houston. Celia and Cornelius have given to numerous charities over the years. A few of their favorite charities include the Boy Scouts of America, Spindletop Charities, a wildlife conservancy in Tanzania, and they have been terrific supporters of South Texas Charity Weekend for more than a decade.

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