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Western Heritage Awards presented in Oklahoma City

First presented in 1961, the Western Heritage Awards are given in Oklahoma City at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum to honor and encourage the legacy of those whose works represent the significant stories of the American West.
BY STACEY ALLEN, For The Oklahoman Published: April 13, 2014

Canadian recording artist Eli Barsi won Outstanding Original Western Composition entitled “Portrait of a Cowgirl.”

Don Edwards won Traditional Western Album for “Just Me and My Guitar.”

Film and television

The six categories for film and television are theatrical motion picture, television feature film, docudrama, documentary, television news feature and fictional drama. Only theatrical motion picture, documentary and fictional drama were awarded this year.

The Outstanding Theatrical Motion Picture award went to “The Cherokee Word for Water,” inspired by the true story of a rural Cherokee community trying to bring running water to their families. The feature-length film was produced by Paul Heller, Laurene Powell, Kristina Kiehl and Charlie Soap, directed by Charlie Soap and Tim Kelly, and written by Louis Rubacky, Tim Kelly and Garry Miranda.

An examination of the horse racing industry took the Outstanding Documentary Award with “Behind the Gate.” This film was produced by Mark and Daryle Ann Lindley Giardino, directed by Mark Giardino and Jack Lucarelli, and narrated by Joe Pesci. In appreciation, Daryle Ann Lindley Giardino said, “You can never take the cowgirl out of the girl.”

The Outstanding Fictional Drama award honored “Hell on Wheels — One Less Mule,” an American Western television series on AMC telling the story of the Union Pacific Railroad and its mobile encampment as it moved across the Great Plains. This drama was produced by John Wirth, Mark Richard, Chad Oakes and Mike Frislev.

Chester A. Reynolds Memorial Award

Linda Davis, ranch owner and board member presented the Chester A. Reynolds Memorial Award. Named in honor of the museum’s founder with the criteria for dedication to the ideals of individualism, honesty, humility and integrity, the award went to B. Byron Price. Price, who holds the Charles Marion Russell Memorial Chair, is Director of the University of Oklahoma Press and is the Director of the Charles M. Russell Center for the Study of Art of the American West at the University of Oklahoma.


Hall of Great Western Performers inducted included Katharine Ross, an actress best known for her roles in “The Graduate” and “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”

“It’s an incredible honor to be included. I’m the ninth woman to be inducted to the Hall of Great Western Performers,” Ross said. Her marriage to Sam Elliott makes them the only married couple to both be inducted to the Hall of Great Western Performers.

Doug McClure was also inducted to the Hall of Great Western Performers as the “cowboy” in the NBC Western television series, “The Virginian,” as was Jean Arthur, a major film actress in the 1930s and ’40s.

Lt. General Charles W. Brown, dubbed the “cowboy general,” Robert C. Norris, the original “Marlboro Man” and long-time museum board member, and John Goodman were inducted into The Hall of Great Westerners, a unique and enduring national memorial that recognizes the heart and spirit of our Western heritage.

Dedicated to the ideals of individualism, honesty, humility and integrity, the awards bear witness to an evolving American West.