CowParade to auction fake bulls for charity

Lydia Herrera

Jay Leno will make a guest appearance Nov. 13 when the painted cows that have made their home in downtown Austin are auctioned off for charity.

Proceeds from the auction, which will be held at ACL-Live Moody Theatre, will benefit Dell Children’s Medical Center’s Superhero Kids program, a foundation offering financial assistance to families of children fighting cancer and blood disorders, said U.S. Money Reserve CEO Dean Leipsner. The founder of U.S. Money Reserve is a sponsor of CowParade Austin.

“This is what happens with CowParade,” Leipsner said. “The money goes to the charity and the cows go home.”

The 40 to 45 cows are expected to be auctioned for anywhere between $500 and $10,000 each, Leipsner said. He said their monetary goal from invitations to the auction and bids is to raise half a million to a million dollars for the Superhero Kids program.

“Every cow has been and continues to be a major piece of artwork,” Leipsner said. “These are not just ceramic cows that have had paint slapped on them and thrown around the city. We are one of 71 CowParades that have taken place all across the U.S. and around the world.”

Leipsner said CowParade Austin was made possible by a $75,000 donation from U.S. Money Reserve founder Milton Verret. The auction, which will be hosted by renowned auctioneer Spanky Assiter, will allow winning bidders to keep the cows and take a picture with Jay Leno.

The cow auction will be an invitation-only event limited to 2,000 seats, Leipsner said. He said the public can receive an invitation by making a minimum donation of $25, or a minimum of $500 for a VIP invitation.

CowParade surveyed needs of the Austin community and decided the Superhero Kids program was a natural fit for their outreach, said Ray Blue, senior development director for the foundation.

“I think more than the money we’re going to generate, the awareness we’re going to raise about the center and the fund is going to be so much more valuable long term,” Blue said.

The money raised will directly assist families with children going through treatment, said John Joseph, co-founder of the Superhero Kids program. He said it will help pay for things such as bills, transportation and clothing because oftentimes a parent has to quit work in order to attend medical appointments and care for the child who can’t continue school.