The Making of the 57th Annual Cattle Auction

The Making of the 57th Annual Cattle Auction
October 12, 2022 Camille Simpson
The Making of the 57th Annual Cattle Auction

The Making of the 57th Annual Cattle Auction


For 57 years, Children’s Home has proudly hosted our annual Cattle Auction event that raises funds to support our mission of helping the youth and families who need it most. This year, our community busted out their cowboy boots and turned up in a big way at our southwestern-chic event back in September.
Cattle Auction Cheering

Hold on: where are the cows?

Spoiler alert: there aren’t any! At its genesis, Cattle Auction was a fundraiser for Youth Farm Inc., a nonprofit in Central Illinois that provided residential placement for youth with conduct disorders and offered healing on a farmstead environment. Historically, the event did feature a livestock auction.

When Children’s Home Association of Illinois acquired Youth Farm Inc. in 2007, Cattle Auction came with it – keeping the event close to the hearts of staff, supporters, and our community. Now, Youth Farm is our residential treatment facility, offering temporary placement for youth in care (in protective custody of the state) in Illinois. And, the auction of livestock no longer served the event model, but the western theme stayed so we can continue to pay homage to the unique roots of this fundraiser.

Cattle Auction Table Decor

Southwestern meets chic

We took a typical western event and turned up the dial! We drew inspiration from cacti and desert flowers with hints of gold and terracotta to create a warm, welcoming, and themed evening. And, we paired it all with a signature Prickly Pear Margarita!

We partnered with local artist Andrè Petty, dined on delicious Mission BBQ, welcomed Charity Auctioneer Jim Miller to lead our live auction of truly one-of-a-kind experiences (featuring a farm-to-table dinner and glamping at Scott’s Prairie, our therapeutic farm; a trip for four to Chicago to stay in a million-dollar condo downtown with dinner at dine|namic hospitality, and the winner’s choice to tickets to Carrie Underwood, Bears vs. Packers, or Wicked; VIP Keith Urban tickets with custom western hats; and more), and music from entertainer DJ DU out of Tucson, Arizona – who kept the dance floor packed all night long!
Cattle Auction Dance Floor
Sprinkled throughout the night were touching mission moments – with welcoming remarks from our Interim President & CEO Stephanie AlKhafaji and a mission spotlight on one of our incredible youths and his success story, Aubrey. Our 400 guests were on their feet at the end, cheering and supporting Aubrey and his remarkable journey at Children’s Home.

The results are in!

Each year, we are blown away by the support we receive from our sponsors, donors, vendors, and the generosity of our community. This year, Cattle Auction raised $286,000 to support our at-risk youth and families, our second-highest numbers in all 57 years. With an inspirational evening like that, who wouldn’t already start scheming for next year’s event? We’ll see you there!

Author: Camille Simpson, Chief of External Affairs