Black Tie & Boots Gala Brings in Thousands

Date: October 14th, 2023

Location: Austin Ranch of Grapevine, Texas

DFW Hilton’s Austin Grapevine played host to an enchanting evening of elegance and philanthropy on October 14th, as the Ashton Johnson Memorial CloudDancer Scholarship held it’s esteemed Black Tie & Boots Gala. The event, organized to raise awareness and support for veteran aspirations of achieving a career in professional flying, managed to raise an impressive $170,000.

Attended by a diverse group distinguished individuals, veterans, aviation enthusiasts, and community members, the gala offered a unique blend of sophistication and country charm. The organizers ensured that there was no shortage of entertainment with live music filling the air throughout the night. The USAF Honor Guard from Wichita Falls presented the colors while Texas Country Music Hall of Fame’s Sonny Burgess and Jolie Holliday sang the national anthem. Afterwards, USMC Corp. Don Graves last remaining survivor of the battle of Iwo Jima started the night off singing “God Bless America”

Guests were greeted by a valet service, ensuring a seamless and convenient arrival experience. A magnificent Clydesdale horse stood regally on display, symbolizing strength, resilience, and the unwavering determination of the veterans being supported. The Fort Worth mounted police added a touch of grandeur to the event, showcasing their impressive equestrian skills and reinforcing the gala’s commitment to supporting those who have served their country.

Attendees were treated to a host of engaging activities, including a boot shining station where guests had their footwear meticulously polished, adding a touch of sophistication to their attire. For those seeking a more personalized touch, a hat making station allowed individuals to create their own one-of-a-kind western hat, reflecting their style and individuality while adding to the country theme of the night.

One of the many highlights of the event was the silent auction, which featured a wide range of exclusive items up for bid. From luxurious getaways to one-of-a-kind experiences, attendees had the opportunity to contribute to the cause while taking home some extraordinary memorabilia.

The live auction added an exhilarating element to the evening, as enthusiastic bidders competed for unique aviation-themed items and experiences. The funds raised from both auctions went directly towards supporting veterans on their journey to becoming professional pilots.

Capturing the essence of the evening, photographers were scattered throughout the venue, as well as a 360 photobooth, providing the opportunity to create lasting memories with friends and loved ones.

The Black Tie & Boots Gala proved to be a resounding success. With a perfect blend of elegance and entertainment, attendees reveled in an unforgettable night, all while contributing to a noble cause and honoring this year’s scholarship recipients Brett Bowser, McKinley Ritchie, James Halepaska, Tyler Webb, Michael Neeley and Alex Foster.

The event’s impressive fundraising efforts will provide invaluable support to veterans pursuing their dreams of becoming professional pilots. As the night drew to a close, it was evident that the Black Tie & Boots Gala had left a memorable mark on the hearts of attendees. The event’s success serves as a reminder of the unwavering commitment to honoring and supporting our veterans, ensuring that their dreams take flight.