South Texas Charity Weekend Dazzles Supporters
By Jake Gaines
Photography by Marie Langmore and Doug Smith
THE SCENE: In spite of the ‘blue norther’ barreling down on South Texas and icy roads between Kingsville and everywhere else, almost 300 friends and supporters made their way to South Texas Charity Weekend. At least 75 supporters came from Houston alone.
THE VIBE: The event was magical, with its cowboy flair and Tejano music. The Friday evening reception was held in the home of Janell and Tio Kleberg on the King Ranch, as was the shooting event Saturday and the farewell brunch on Sunday morning. The Artist’s Market, banquet and auction were held Saturday at the Tio and Janell Kleberg Wildlife Research Park, in the conference center named for legendary conservationist, Caesar Kleberg. Auction items included a print from Janell Kleberg’s award-winning book Waiting for Daylight and a stunning scarf recently released from Hermès of Paris that depicted beautiful wildlife of South Texas, created by famed Texas artist Kermit Oliver.
THE CAUSE: This charity event held annually supports local health care, wildlife conservation, and the region’s ranching heritage. The event was made possible though generous donations and through the support of the King Ranch. This unique event honors a worthy couple or individual whose contributions to South Texas are “above and beyond.” This year Mike and Joann Cone of Houston were recognized for their achievements supporting South Texas, and especially their support of the 17 scientists whose inquisitive passion is rewarded at the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute. Active in the energy industry, the Cones and many of their guests understand the need for habitat restoration from basic soils to the native plants growing there. Landowners who attended know that South Texas is the Last Great Habitat for 650 wildlife species that live in or migrate through South Texas. Cone bought worn out farmland and, with the Institute’s help, is restoring it to a wildlife oasis. In fact, for their work in restoration, the Institute recently received the first-ever Environmental Stewardship Award from STEER, an association of the 11 largest energy companies working in the Eagle Ford Shale region.