The countdown has begun for the Buffalo Bill Center of the West’s annual benefit gala, Patrons Ball on September 20. Touted as the “premier social event of the Northern Rockies,” the Ball has all the trappings of an extraordinary evening: food, fun, and friends—and all for a worthy cause.
The black-tie affair began in 1977. A short paragraph in the March 1977 Buffalo Bill Historical Center (now Buffalo Bill Center of the West) newsletter was short and not the least bit prophetic. It said simply, “Mrs. William D. Weiss has been named general chairman for a festive event set for Saturday night, September 24. This Patrons Dinner Dance will celebrate the Buffalo Bill Museum’s 50th season [opened in 1927] and also the progress on the new Plains Indian Museum fund drive.”
Nothing in those few words hinted that, with this year’s 38th Annual Patrons Ball set for September 20, the Buffalo Bill Memorial Association would still be celebrating the Center’s “season”—this time, not one museum but five, and not fifty seasons, but 87! The Center’s Patrons Ball is now its biggest fundraiser with all proceeds benefiting the programs and public activities of the Center.
“Patronship and getting to know each other will be given top priority,” Mrs. Weiss added in June 1977. “All persons, from pioneers of the State to newcomers, who are interested in the culture and preservation of this great achievement [specifically, the successful fundraising for the Plains Indian Museum] should plan now to take part in the festive, historical celebration.”
Support the work of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West as it carries on the tradition of the American West. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “Be an opener of doors for such as come after thee, and do not try to make the universe a blind alley.”
Open some doors at this year’s Patrons Ball!