Photography by Jamison Mosley | Shot on location at Iron Horse Farm, Perryville
“It all started in 1974,” the two women recall with a familiar glance and laugh. That’s the year Mandy Stanage Shoptaw and Ari Stanage Crum became cousins and forged a friendship that would last a lifetime. Now they’re part of the committee that is reimagining the American Cancer Society Cattle Baron‘s Ball. Mandy is serving as event chair and Ari as logistics and decor chair. Transforming this western-themed event designed to “give cancer the boot” has been a labor of love for the duo and a team of devoted volunteers as well as the dedicated staff of the American Cancer Society of Arkansas.
“I think one of the reasons we were so interested in taking part in this event is that everyone has a link to cancer, including our family,” explains Mandy. Ari continues, “Our dads are twins and they have both been diagnosed with kidney cancer. One dad only required surgery to remove the cancer and the other lost a kidney. So it’s important to us to make sure all Arkansans have access to care and that’s one of the missions of Cattle Baron’s.”
Proceeds from Cattle Baron’s Ball support the American Cancer Society and its Access to Care Program, which provides grants throughout the state that help cancer patients receive life- saving treatments.“
“The Access to Care grants are amazing and make a difference,” elaborates Mandy. “This allows hospitals or providers to help with lodging or give out gas cards so more people get the treatment they need. Last year the American Cancer Society in Arkansas granted more than $75,000 to six hospitals across the state resulting in 673 patients having better access to treatment.”
Cattle Baron’s Ball is nationally renowned for its legendary chic sophistication and “boots + bling” appeal. Jeans, denim shirts, prairie dresses, cowboy hats, and definitely boots are the evening’s apparel. Hosted at the historic Barton Coliseum, home to the Arkansas State Fair and regional rodeos, these ladies guarantee a boot-scootin’ good time. “The committee has been working hard to rebuild and rebrand Cattle Baron’s,” says Mandy. “You can expect elements from the past, but amped up. Get ready for fun photo opportunities, games, live and silent auctions, a mechanical bull, great food and drink, and the music this year is so impressive.”
Local band St. Juke’s Revival Featuring the Immaculate Horns will provide Texas swing before The Garth Guy, Dean Simmons, takes the stage with his Las Vegas house band. “The ticket price alone is worth it just to see The Garth Guy!” Ari notes.
An opportunity to pre-purchase tribute cards along with tickets honors cancer patients and highlights the purpose of the evening. “As part of the decor, I wanted to add something people could enjoy reading while walking into the arena,” explains Ari. “These tributes are for survivors or those who lost their fight. It’s a beautiful way to remember why we’re at such a wonderful event.”
Other key committee members include Daniel Frazier, Skye Martin, Jeff Watson, along with 2023 Chairs Dr. Jamie Burton and Dr. Brian Burton. “We are so excited to have Jamie and Brian on board,” Mandy says. “They add a tremendous energy and we hope folks will come out and experience this new Cattle Baron’s and help all of us give cancer the boot.”