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Polo on the Prairie Reaches $2 Million Mark in Fund Raising

Polo on the Prairie Reaches $2 Million Mark in Fund Raising
M. D. Anderson Benefit Celebrates 15th Stellar Year
M. D. Anderson News Release 05/14/01

 Thanks to the willingness of youth — along with their good-spirited family members — Polo on the Prairie, the annual West Texas fund raiser benefiting The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, marked its 15th year with rave results.

Aside from the traditional energized polo play and warm guest camaraderie, the April 21 event at the Musselman Brothers Lazy 3 Ranch in Albany, Texas, was highlighted by the generosity of Eastland Middle School's sixth graders and the Phi Delta Theta fraternity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. From baked goods to phone calls, everyone pitched in.

To generate the sixth graders' record $1,238.40 donation, students emptied their piggy banks, forfeited their allowances and solicited family members. Moms and the sixth grade teaching team braved their kitchens before sunrise several mornings to assemble breakfast burritos and bake brownies and doughnuts for the kids to sell.

Meanwhile, the Phi Delts' $30,000 gift was collected by fraternity members who spent "forever" planning their annual Casino Night to benefit Polo on the Prairie.  The event, a 30-year tradition, drew about 800 guests who gambled with play money for prizes.  Fraternity members also worked the phones to secure substantial donations.

"We called friends, family members and just random people," says Chico Parker, Phi Delt member and chaplain who suggested that M. D. Anderson be this year's beneficiary of Casino Night proceeds. "We collected the money because of a lot of phone calls and a lot of nice people. I'm just ecstatic that the money has gone to such a good cause.It's made everybody feel really good."

Before the championship polo match, Parker and Phi Delt Casino Chair Don Miller presented the check to M. D. Anderson President Dr. John Mendelsohn and Polo event co-chairs Mary Anne McCloud and Melinda and Henry Musselman.

Although foreboding skies released a brief, light drizzle, about 1,100 guests attended Polo on the Prairie, which has raised $2 million for cancer research and patient programs since 1987.

Game competition culminated with Red Rock Ranch as the winning team, comprised of players Harley Stimmel of Midland, Texas; Jake Schanklin of Rock Springs, Texas; Ben Krueger of Dallas and Miguel Silvestre of Argentina.

Singer/song writer Walt Wilkins brought the crowd to their toe-tapping feet later that evening. And for the third consecutive year, fireworks closed out the affair, thanks to underwriting by Tom Sikes and Mr. and Mrs. Richard Donnelly.

This year's Polo on the Prairie proceeds will benefit five M. D. Anderson initiatives, including construction of the Basic Sciences Research Building, research into the basic mechanisms of cancer, research into breast cancer metastasis to the bone, the Anderson Network Hospitality Room and Science Park Research Division Library.

For information on Polo on the Prairie, please contact 800/525-5841 or 713/792-3450.

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center