The Academy of Western Artists' Seventh Annual Will Rogers Awards for Outstanding Achievement of Contemporary Cowboy Skills in Fort Worth, July 9, 2002,were a great success. The show was flawlessly produced, and included top entertainment and an impressive display of Cowboy artists' work, from spur makers to saddle makers.
Among the highlights:
Male poet - Joel Nelson
Female poet - Debra C. Hill
Humorist/storyteller - Kent Rollins
Poetry Book of the Year - Margo Metegrano, The Big Roundup
Cowboy Poetry Album of the Year - Chris Isaacs, Out With the Crew
Female vocalist - Eli Barsi
Male vocalist - R.W. Hampton
Duo or group - Lone Star Chorale
Yodeler - Kacey Musgraves
Song of the Year - Joni Harms, Every Cowgirl's Dream
Album of the Year - Jean Prescott, Tapestry of the West
Female vocalist - Robin Deeter
Male vocalist - Curtis Potter
Instrumentalist - Floyd Domino
Duo or Group - Time Jumpers
Song of the Year - Dugg Collins, Each Time I Hear That Song
Album of the Year - Tom Morrell, Jugglin' Cats
Entertainer of the Year - Joni Harms
Rising Star - Jake Hooker
Radio station - KNTX in Bowie
Disc jockey - Orin Friesen, KFDI in Wichita, Kan.
The first Don King Award for Artist Recognition - Don King
Chuckwagon - Jerry Slaton
Hitching and braiding - Toni Schutte
Bits and spurs - Bill Adamson
Engraver - Johny Wyerts
Western artist - Bill Owen
Cartoonist - Bonnie Shields
Saddlemaker - Bill Maloy
The Academy of Western Artists
The Academy of Western Artists is "A dedicated group formed to recognize and honor outstanding individuals who, through their accomplishments, preserve and perpetuate the traditions, values, and heritage of the American Cowboy."
Three of the people who make things happen at the AWA are the Executive Director, Publisher of Rope Burns, and man-who-knows-everyone Bobby Newton; Charles Williams, Executive Vice President, poet, scholar, and the force behind many programs; and Sandra Herl, who maintains the AWA web site, manages members, recruits talent and advertising for the Awards Show and annual convention, and gets the word out. There are many more people behind the scenes, but these three are the heart of the organization.
Bobby Newton, AWA Director
Photo by Lloyd Shelby
Visit the web site and consider becoming a member. Even non-members can subscribe to Rope Burns, the source for the Cowboy Entertainment and Trade Industry (and home to a regular Cowboy Poetry column from CowboyPoetry.com.
More About the Show and More Photos
The Awards Show show is always great showcasing the best in Western talent. The 2002 program book is equally impressive, with a cover drawing of Will Rogers by notable Western artist, Tim Cox, winner of the 2001 Will Rogers Award for fine art.
The program is illustrated throughout by some of the top Western artists and cartoonists, and pages are devoted to each category and include a description a list of the top ten nominees for each award.
Stars among the exciting musical entertainment throughout the evening were Ginny Mac, Jake Hooker, Jill Jones, Kevin Davis, Cowjazz, and Dave Alexander & Legends of Western Swing. Hilarious Cowboy Poet Les Buffham brought down the house with his performance.
A video of the show is available for $20 postpaid from: American Community Cable, 401 W. 2nd, Fort Worth, TX 76102
Thanks to three Best Book nominees for the photos below and for those forthcoming. Honored Guest Mike Puhallo, Lariat Laureate runner up Linda Kirkpatrick (and her friend Kathy Suttle), and Lariat Laureate runner up Lloyd Shelby (and his friend Judy Hadaway) shared the photos below. Mike Puhallo has more to come, and there are more from Lloyd Shelby.
Mike Puhallo at the music conference. Photo by Lloyd Shelby
Debra Coppinger Hill at the music conference. Photo by Lloyd Shelby
Devon Dawson and the Texas Trailhands at the music conference (with Hoot Al, Rodeo Kate, Chuckwagon Chuck, and Roncho Ron). Photo by Lloyd Shelby
Lloyd Shelby, Buck Taylor, and Chuck Beggs at the music conference. Photo by Judy Hadaway
Lloyd Shelby and Red Steagall at the music conference the day before the Awards Show, Photo by Judy Hadaway
Lloyd Shelby, Jo Hargave, and Jay Snider before the Awards show. Photo by Judy Hadaway
Ann Sochat before the show. Photo by Lloyd Shelby
Margo Metegrano, Linda Kirkpatrick, and Lloyd Shelby before the show. Photo by Kathy Suttle
Ginny Mac opened the show.
Photo by Lloyd Shelby
Charles Williams, AWA Executive Vice President, poet, and more, is the force behind the show. Photo by Lloyd Shelby
Trudy Fair was a presenter, and she received a special award in for having been the show's emcee for the past five years. Photo by Lloyd Shelby
Mike Puhallo accepted the Best Female Western Musician award for friend Eli Barsi. Photo by Lloyd Shelby
Debra Coppinger Hill accepted the Best Female Poet award (Joel Nelson, presenter, in background). Photo by Lloyd Shelby
Dennis Gaines made an unscheduled appearance. Photo by Lloyd Shelby
He made a romantic marriage proposal from the stage to the lovely Karen Chesky. Photo by Lloyd Shelby
Photo by Lloyd Shelby
Joel Nelson received the Best Male Poet Award. Photo by Lloyd Shelby
Buck Taylor presented Bill Owen with the Best Western Artist Award. Photo by Lloyd Shelby
Jill Jones and the Lone Star Chorale were the winners of the Best Western Music Group. Photo by Lloyd Shelby
Jake Hooker received the Rising Star Award. Photo by Lloyd Shelby
Popular DJ Jo Hargave was presented the Entertainer of the Year award. Photo by Lloyd Shelby
Joni Harms accepted the Entertainer of the Year Award.
Cowboy Poet Les Buffham brought down the house with his performance. Photo by Lloyd Shelby
The image in the background behind Les Buffham is of the Will Rogers Award statue, designed by celebrated sculptor J. B. Taylor. Photo by Mike Puhallo
Larry McWhorter was the evening's most humorous presenter. Photo by Lloyd Shelby
Bonnie Shields accepted the award for Best Cartoonist. Photo by Lloyd Shelby
Actor Dean Smith was a presenter. Photo by Lloyd Shelby
J. J. Bleu of KNTX in Bowie accepted the Best Radio Station award. Photo by Lloyd Shelby
R. W. Hampton had some help when he picked up the award for Best Western Music Male Vocalist. Photo by Lloyd Shelby
Curtis Potter accepted the best Male vocalist award. Photo by Lloyd Shelby
Margo Metegrano presented the Best Humorist/Storyteller Award; Kent Rollins was the winner. Photo by Lloyd Shelby
Debra Evans Price, editor of Billboard Magazine, was a presenter. Photo by Lloyd Shelby
Don King received the The first Don King Award for Artist Recognition. Photo by Lloyd Shelby
Jean Prescott's Tapesty of the West was awarded the Best Album of the Year award. Photo by Lloyd Shelby
Orin Freisen accepted the best Disk Jockey award. Photo by Lloyd Shelby
After the show, Debra Coppinger Hill and Linda Kirkpatrick. Photo by Kathy Suttle
At the Big Balls of Cowtown party, Lloyd Shelby, Joe Wells, and Linda Kirkpatrick. Joe and Linda perform together in Cowboy Sunset Serenade. Photo by Kathy Suttle
Honored Guest Debra Coppinger Hill, winner of the Best Female Poet Award, shared her great award photo:
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