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Western Heritage Awards

Friday, October 9, 2020 @ 8:00 am - Thursday, December 31, 2020 @ 5:00 pm MST

The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is among the nation’s most prestigious museums of Western heritage and art. Set atop historic the Persimmon Hill district overlooking Oklahoma City, the Museum is surrounded by beautiful gardens, fountains, and a flagstone esplanade representing the 17 Western states.

Believing the Museum should have a national influence beyond that of solely exhibitions, the Board of Directors established the Western Heritage Awards in 1960. The purpose was to encourage others to tell the great stories of the West, both past and present, with accuracy and artistic quality. The developing West is one of history’s most exciting eras, when people of all nationalities, from all walks of life, sought their futures on America’s Western frontier.

Standing more than a foot in height, the Wrangler, an impressive bronze sculpture, is awarded to principal creators of the winning entries in specified categories of Western literature, music, film, and television. The Museum also may award Wranglers to organizations or individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the nation’s Western heritage during a period of years, or whose contributions lie outside established categories.

Past recipients include distinguished writers, musicians, actors, and directors such as John Wayne, C.J. Box, Robert Knott, Lynn Anderson, Red Steagall, Clint Eastwood, Sam Elliott, Kevin Costner, and John Ford.

The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum invites your entries in this nationally recognized awards program.

For more information about the Museum or the Western Heritage Awards, visit

Guidelines for All Entries

Qualified professionals from outside the Museum Board of Directors are selected as judges for the various categories in literature, film, television, and music. Judges are granted the right to step outside category restrictions if a meritorious work deserves unique recognition, or to withhold an award in any category where the quality or number of entries does not meet the standards set by previous winners. The Museum reserves the right to confer an award in each category each year. The subject matter or theme of each entry should relate to the American West and/or the Western experience.

Please read important information below for all categories to be considered:

• Entries for the competition are accepted as a hard copy or digital copy by link.
• If providing hard copies, applicants must provide five copies of both the creative work and completed entry form.
• Digital copies by link should be submitted to the online portal.
• All information must be typed or legibly printed.
• Items submitted for judging will not be returned.
• There is no limitation on the number of creative works an individual can submit. An individual may submit multiple entries as long as the submissions are different creative works. However, the same title cannot be submitted for judging in multiple categories.

Please see entry payment information below:

• A $50 entry fee is required for each individual entry in each category.
• Payment is due upon submission of entry. Please fill out credit card information online or on page 11. Checks can be mailed to the address below.
• Make checks payable to National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
with WHA and the entry’s name printed on the memo line.

• Mail five copies of your entry forms with payment to: Kaylia McCracken, Western Heritage Awards National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum 1700 Northeast 63rd Street • Oklahoma City, OK 73111-7997 [email protected]”>[email protected] • (405) 478-2250 ext. 218

Western Heritage Awards

The Announcement of Winners

All participants will receive written notification of the results once judging is final. A public announcement is made only of the winners and the Museum will not disclose names of entries in the various categories.

Important: The Wrangler sculpture will be presented to one of the principal creators for each winning entry. The principal creator eligible to accept the Award is designated in the entry guidelines for each category. Winners must attend the awards ceremonies to be held April 10, 2021, to receive the Wrangler sculpture. The Museum will not ship the Wrangler to absentee winners, and a representative may not accept the Award on the winners behalf. As an entrant, if you know at the time of entry you are unable to attend the Awards Ceremony, please reconsider your entry. Category winners who have not submitted a hard copy will be asked to do so before the Awards Ceremony in April.

The Wrangler sculpture, presented as an award to each Western Heritage Award winner, has evolved through the years. The earliest Wrangler award was inspired by Charles Russell’s bronze, The Horse Wrangler. Since the first Wrangler sculpture, several other versions were made by talented individuals such as the Museums art director, Richard Muno, and Native American artist John Free. To commemorate the Awards 50th anniversary, Hall of Great Westerners Inductee Harold T. Holden sculpted the current Wrangler depicting a contemporary horseman with the inspiration from the original sculpture still apparent.

Music Entry Guidelines


Any individual or organization may enter original Western compositions or traditional Western albums. The original album copyright date must be between January 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020, and postmarked by December 31, 2020, in the appropriate music category. The entry’s theme should relate to the American West and/or the Western experience in the traditional cowboy music genre, which is not necessarily synonymous with “country” music. Music videos are not eligible.

Category Definitions

New Horizons – Given to a recording artist or band that is in the first five years of their career or has shown the most significant creative growth. The lyrics/music must focus on Western ideals or the American cowboy and can be comprised with any instrument(s). In this category, only the artist(s) are eligible to receive the Wrangler sculpture. The entry for an album or an individual song cannot have previously received a Wrangler in any music category. Copyright eligibility required.

Original Western Composition – Any recorded and released original musical composition never previously recorded in any other form or interpretation. Scores from film or television productions are also eligible. The lyrics/music must focus on Western ideals or the American cowboy and can be composed with any instrument(s). Wrangler Award recipients are the recording artist and the writer/ composer.

Traditional Western Music Album – A released recording of traditional Western and/or cowboy folk songs. An album must be submitted in its entirety as one entry. Copyright eligibility required.

Important Reminders

• If not submitted online, five copies (non-returnable) of each entry must be furnished on a CD for judging, along with a completed entry form for each copy or digital copy by link of the creative work and entry form.
• Each category entered must include a $50 non-refundable fee.
• Print legibly and complete all detailed contact information.
• The Museum will award only one complimentary Wrangler sculpture for each music category; however, additional sculptures may be purchased. The eligible recipients are identified as the recording artist(s), album producer, and writer/composer.
• See Guidelines for All Entries (page 3) for submission instructions.


Friday, October 9, 2020 @ 8:00 am MST
Thursday, December 31, 2020 @ 5:00 pm MST
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National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

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