It’s official! The State of Kansas has become the 8th state to pass the National Day of the Cowboy bill in perpetuity. Thanks to the ongoing efforts of the folks at the Dodge City Convention & Visitors Bureau, the NDOC bill actually passed in the Kansas Legislature in April. However, the date in the bill was inadvertently changed to the ‘last’ Saturday in July, rather than the 4th Saturday in July, and it did not get corrected before passage by the legislature, so we were waiting to hear how KS Governor Brownback would handle the signing. We’ve just learned that he will be riding in the Dodge City National Day of the Cowboy parade and signing the bill into law on July 26th during Dodge City Days. Governor Brownback will be signing the NDOC bill with a proviso that the legislature correct the date to be the 4th Saturday in July, before next year. Hats off to Kansas and to the Dodge City Convention & Visitors Bureau! With the help of our members and volunteers, we at the National Day of the Cowboy organization will continue to work on achieving permanent passage in the next 42 states.
2014 NDOC Hatch Poster Status
The historic Hatch Show Print Letterpress Shop is currently working on the draft layout for our 2014 National Day of the Cowboy poster commemorating the 10th Annual National Day of the Cowboy, coming up on July 26th, 2014. Hard to believe ten years have passed since we started this endeavor to permanently establish the National Day of the Cowboy, which at that time, I expected to take only three years!
This is the ninth poster in our series of NDOC Hatch Show Prints. The artwork was created by Oklahoma’s Tyler Crow, a gifted artist and lifelong cowboy. Tyler’s art is being carved into the plate for our poster, which is made from vintage hand-carved wood blocks and hand-cranked on a press. In celebration of this milestone date, the 2014 poster will be in three colors, instead of our traditional two-color poster. The theme is “Share the Past & Shape the Future.” Once the draft is finalized, we’ll be put in the print queue at Hatch, but since we’re going with three colors, the print process will take longer since each poster will have to dry completely after each of the three color applications.
As we’ve done each year since our 2009 poster, we’ll have a limited number hand-signed by the artist. If you’d like to reserve one signed by Tyler, the first ones with go to those who donate to our GoFundMe project which is helping defray the cost of the poster. Donate $45 through GoFundMe and you will receive a hand-signed poster. The $45 includes S&H. If you’d rather take your chances and simply reserve a signed poster through our website, they will be $35 plus $5.50 shipping and handling for up to two posters to the same address. You may, of course, also reserve and unsigned poster which will be $20 plus $5.50 shipping and handling for up to two posters to the same address (email@example.com).
We also still have posters from some, but not all, past years available for purchase. If you’d like to see the complete series, you’ll find images of all of the posters “Shop” section of our website. Although not all years are available any longer, we are offering to any one donor of $500 through our GoFundMe project, the entire series of posters, beginning with the 2005 and up to and including 2014 (There was never a 2011.)
The Governor’s of Idaho and Indiana, have both issued National Day of the Cowboy proclamations again this year. The legislatures of Washington and Tennessee both passed NDOC resolutions. Our high hopes for permanent passage in Kentucky did not come to fruition as our bill, after passing unanimously in the House, was not assigned to the Agriculture Committee in the Senate, and the committee to which it was assigned, never let it out of committee. These are hard lessons we learn along the trail of this process and they certainly add to the length of the process. Next fall, we’ll be talking again with legislators in KY, TN, IN and TX, working to have all of our ducks in a row, at least in those states, before the legislatures convene in 2015. As always, we need your help. If you live in a state where we’ve not yet achieved permanent passage, it always makes a difference if we have a constituent or a western/horse/agricultural related organization working with us in those states. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to volunteer to help achieve passage in your state.
On the Road
National Day of the Cowboy will once again have a table at Brian Lebel’s Old West Show & Auction in Denver, the weekend of June 27-29. We bring brochures, posters, prints, membership applications and pins, and miscellaneous items for sale that have been donated to us to help with fundraising. The National Day of the Cowboy flag which flew to the International Space Station aboard the Discovery Space Shuttle will be there on display. Hopefully we’ll have the 2014 NDOC Hatch Poster with us too. Please stop by and say “hello” and learn more about the work we’re doing for preservation. We always love to meet new folks!
Read ‘Em Cowboy©
We’re currently working on building our Read Em Cowboy program to expand it and establish more Read Em Cowboy Circles©. We’ve decided we need an official Foreman dedicated to growing this project and to helping it establish strong roots. Read ‘Em Cowboy© is a formal literacy project of the National Day of the Cowboy 501c3 organization, established with author J.R. Sanders, to encourage young people to read and write western literature and cowboy poetry. This project is a natural extension and expression of the NDOC mission. If you’d be interested in the Foreman’s position, or in that of a Circle Wrangler, or, you just want more information about it, please email email@example.com Subject: Read ‘Em Cowboy.
Just a reminder that we do have an events calendar and our calendar Wrangler, Cindy Longoria of Washington, is waiting to receive your event information and post it on our calendar. This is not just for NDOC events, but if you are doing anything special for the NDOC, we’d like to post that information for you. Getting legislation established is important, but the most important aspect of this effort is to in fact, CELEBRATE! If you’ll go to the calendar, you’ll see numerous events, both large and small, already published there. To get your events posted, send details to firstname.lastname@example.org
Cowboy Keeper Awards
The 2014 Cowboy Keeper Award recipients will be announced on Saturday, July 5th.
Options for supporting this effort continue to grow. We are now a charity recognized by Fry’s Food Stores Community sharing program. If you live in Arizona and shop at any Arizona Fry’s store, you can very easily link your Fry’s card to our nonprofit so that every time you buy groceries, Fry’s makes a donation to the NDOC. That’s right, Fry’s makes the donation, not you! If you buy or sell on EBay, you can also select the National Day of the Cowboy to receive a portion of your sales or to make a donation when you check out after a purchase. Your donation can be as little as $1. Just select the National Day of the Cowboy from their dropdown list of approved charities. Another option is our GoFundMe project which we set up to help us pay for the creation of the 2014 Hatch poster. We have several different reward levels set up including a retired membership pin going to anyone who donates $10. We encourage everyone to become a supporting member of the NDOC and receive a membership pin and card, plus a 10% to many of our products and to a selection of retailers. The membership pin changes every year and the 2014 membership pin features chaps. Volunteers are always needed and appreciated as well. We couldn’t have come this far if it weren’t for the volunteers. This is a 100% grassroots effort and we must have volunteers and members to keep it going and see it through.
Hat’s off to the cowboy and cowgirl. Don’t forget to celebrate and wear your hats and boots on July 26th 2014!
Arizona Residents – Fry’s Customers
Great news for the National Day of the Cowboy organization! We were recently accepted into Fry’s Food Stores Community Giving Program in Arizona. This means that if you live in Arizona and shop at any Arizona Fry’s Grocery Stores, you can help us stay in business with no out-of-pocket expense whatsoever on your part. All you need is few minutes, a Fry’s card and an email address! It takes five minutes or less to go to the Fry’s website and connect your Fry’s shopping card (aka V.I.P. Card) to the National Day of the Cowboy as your preferred charitable organization. Once you do that, Fry’s will donate to us every time you buy groceries in an Arizona Fry’s Store using your Fry’s shopping card. This could be a tremendous help in to us in meeting our monthly and annual operating expenses.
Calling all Cowboys at Heart! Please Join us at the world famous Bluebird Café in Nashville, Tennessee, on Valentine’s Day for a songwriter
round to benefit the National Day of the Cowboy non-profit organization. Our hit writing artists are Bryan Kennedy, Wynn Varble and Troy Jones.
Head wrangler for the round is Bryan Kennedy. Reading a description of Bryan’s prolific talents, you get the impression that he can’t possibly be just one person and must be an entire organization! He is a singer, a hit songwriter, musician, actor, producer, director, performer, playwright, novelist, author, blogger, and Spot coach, not to mention a former college football player for Ole Miss. This is not the first time Bryan has helped the National Day of the Cowboy out either. He very graciously autographed both of the guitars we had donated to us and he was kind enough to take a picture of our brick at the famed Luckenbach, Texas honky tonk, which is inscribed “National Day of the Cowboy.” Bryan is the co-writer of several of Garth Brooks’ biggest hits, including Good Ride Cowboy, American Honky Tonk Bar Association, and The Beaches of Cheyenne.
Wynn Varble is one of Bryan’s compadres in the round. Wynn co-wrote Waitin on a Woman, a # 1 hit for Brad Paisley, Have you Forgotten recorded by Daryl Worley, A Little More Country than That a #1 for Easton Corbin, and Cadillac Tears which he co-wrote with legendary songwriter, Leslie Satcher.
The third member of this amazing trio is Troy Jones (aka The Fork Lift Philosopher from 20 years in a paper mill). Troy’s cuts include People are Crazy,” a hit for Billy Currington, Pretty Good at Drinking Beer, another hit for Currington, and Shade for Joe Nichols
Bryan, Wynn and Troy co-starred in Bryan’s hilarious and heart warming musical play, The Toe Roaster, which offers an illuminating and transformational glimpse into the possibilities of achieving world peace around a campfire through the characters of Chuck, Big Daddy and Hamlet. I can verify, that taken Individually, these three wonderful cowboys are as talented as they come, but put them in a room together, and the fun and entertainment goes up exponentially. There will be door prizes too, with extra tickets going to those wearing pearl snap shirts and/or cowboy boots, so we encourage you to don your best western garb.
The western art world often ponders where its next generation of talented and committed artists might come from. One of those artists will certainly be from Apache, Oklahoma, and his name will be Tyler Crow, the young man who is contributing the artwork for the National Day of the Cowboy’s very special 10th Annual NDOC commemorative Hatch Poster. To commemorate this milestone event, this will be our first poster to be in three colors, rather than our traditional two-color poster.
Tyler, who has spent his life in the small town of Apache, Oklahoma, is always proud to mention, he’s, “pure Oklahoma cowboy clean to the bone.” Right up to the day he graduated from ApacheHigh School in 2007, Tyler always had paper and pencil with him; always for the purpose of drawing horses. Then, during his senior year he entered one of his pencil drawings in the Oklahoma Youth Expo at the prestigious NationalCowboy & WesternHeritageMuseum in Oklahoma City. His submission won him Reserve Best of Show and a scholarship to attend a week long summer painting workshop co-taught by Bruce Greene and Martin Grelle (both members of Cowboy Artists of America). Incredibly, this was the first time Tyler had ever held a paintbrush in his hand. Since their first meeting and that first workshop, Tyler has attended three more painting workshops co-taught by Greene and Grelle.
When you view the results of this young cowboy’s talent and effort, you see that Tyler Crow is an artist who paints from deep within his heart. His paintings are of things he knows and cares about…scenes from cow country; of horses and cattle and men and women, rendered from reality. Clearly, Tyler takes his art seriously. He is determined to improve upon his gift through study and hard work. His plans are to continue studying art and work toward a career as a Western artist. In two recent shows at which he submitted work, Bosque Arts Classic and Small Works Great Wonders, Tyler received the coveted People’s Choice Award.
As you’ll see for yourself when you view his art, words like ‘remarkable’ and ‘incredible’ don’t even begin to describe the images this young man creates with pencil and brush.
The National Day of the Cowboy is proud to have Oklahoma western artist, Tyler Crow, join the growing list of mega-talented national artists who have contributed to the NDOC commemorative Hatch Poster project. That illustrious list already includes Jennifer M. Ward of Arizona, Teal Blake from Texas, Zane Mead from New Mexico, Christina Holmes of California, Jim Harrison from Florida, Jim Clements of Kansas and Utah artist, Don Weller.
(To reserve your copy of the 2014 National Day of the Cowboy Hatch poster featuring the artwork of Tyler Crow commemorating the 10th Annual National Day of the Cowboy, please see our GoFuneMe project. http://www.gofundme.com/62mr30 )
When you watch our informative and highly entertaining poster fundraising video at GoFundMe, you’ll notice that our newest NDOC Spokesperson, Concho, (Lee Anderson’s talented and beautiful rescued race horse), easily steals the show from the rest of us amateurs. As one of four co-stars, including Lee, Johnny Hotshot and Bethany Braley, I think you will agree, Concho takes his role seriously and plays it with eminent grace and class.
Yes! Since July 26th is the milestone 10th Annual National Day of the Cowboy, we’re already working on its official commemorative NDOC Hatch poster. And, because it is such a special rung in our ladder of success, this poster will have a little surprise for you to set itself apart from the previous eight posters in our fabulous series.
As many of you know, all of our Hatch posters (with the exception of the 2005), feature original artwork from a different artist from a different state. Each piece has a unique color scheme and new theme which supports the artwork itself. They are all made by hand, from hand-carved wood blocks, just as Hatch has been doing since 1879. The poster art to recognize our 10th year of celebration and work, will be created by a young talented Oklahoma artist named Tyler Crow. Tyler adds his name to our growing list of illustrious contributing artists, including Jennifer Ward 2006 – AZ, Teal Blake 2007-TX, Zane Mead 2008-NM, Christina Holmes 2009-CA, Jim Harrison 2010-FL, Jim Clements 2012-KS and Don Weller 2013-UT.
You’ll notice I skipped 2011 in that list, and the reason is, unfortunately, we did not have the funding to create a poster that year. However, as the NDOC continues to grow and as more people become supporting members and donors, we hope to rectify that situation and someday create a 2011 to eliminate the gap. Our long term goal is to have 50 posters; one each by an artist from a different state. This is a national project that has ever been done before. Since creating our first poster however, paper, ink and printing costs have risen continually, making it a challenge to keep the series going, so we’ve launched a GoFundMe project to help offset the costs of creating and printing the 2014 poster.
Our GoFundMe campaign offers five different reward levels to potential donors. For example, the first $750 donor will receive a rare, full set of our posters (including a signed 2014), and, a newly released digitally remastered DVD of the entire first year’s episodes of The Rifleman. The DVD is thanks to Steve and Matt Gardner, who manage The Rifleman’s iconic legacy, as co-produced by Steve’s father, Arthur Gardner. This DVD of forty shows will also be hand-signed by Johnny Crawford, who played Lucas McCain’s son, Mark, in the series. And, it will be hand-signed by Jeff Connors, one of Chuck Connor’s sons in real life, who also played in three of the episodes as a child.
We’re offering four additional levels of rewards, including a retired 2008 National Day of the Cowboy membership pin for those who donate $10. Preview the video and more of the project details at http://www.gofundme.com/62mr30
Is it really possible that it’s the 10th Annual National Day of the Cowboy coming up July 26th? When we started this campaign, the thinking was it would probably take three years to secure permanent passage of the National Day of the Cowboy. Here we are into our tenth year though, and while seven states have passed it into permanent law, and we’re closer to making it a national reality, we’ve obviously got a ways to go. We need your financial help to keep the roots growing strong and steady. This is an all-volunteer effort, but there are many costs associated with it and selling these posters, all original works of art, helps us meet those financial obligations.
We’ve proven we’re serious about the NDOC campaign and you can be sure we will continue to work diligently to secure the 4th Saturday in July as the National Day of the Cowboy in more states. In fact, four more state legislators have confirmed they will work to pass it as a permanent bill in 2014. Also, three Texas legislators have agreed to sponsor it as a permanent bill in the Texas legislature when it next convenes in 2015. With enough states accepting the National Day of the Cowboy in perpetuity, or perhaps when all fifty are finally on board, Congress should be more than willing to recognize the National Day of the Cowboy permanently as well. We’re asking for your support to help ensure we can make that happen. Please donate today.
The 2013 National Day of the Cowboy Hatch posters have arrived and they are a stellar addition to our collectible series. World-renowned Utah artist, Don Weller’s western horse and rider graphic is dramatically displayed in Meadow Green, silhouetted inside a huge vintage Golden Yellow sunburst. We first began incorporating original art into our posters back in 2006, beginning with Jennifer M. Ward of Arizona. The following years included the artwork of Teal Blake of Texas, Zane Mead from New Mexico, Christina Holmes from California, Jim Harrison of Florida, and Jim Clements of Kansas. All of our posters are unique two-color combinations and all are on a vanilla toned paper.
Hatch Show Print of Nashville, Tennessee, has been making posters out of hand-carved wood blocks and hand-cranked on a press, since 1879! They are definitely an American tradition.
Order your NDOC Hatch today and “Become the Legend.” We still have a few hand-signed by Don. Email orders@nationaldayofthecowboy.
Six recipients honored with 2013 Cowboy Keeper Award®
In 2006, the National Day of the Cowboy nonprofit began a tradition of formally recognizing individuals, organizations, and projects that contribute significantly to the preservation of pioneer heritage and cowboy culture. The six 2013 Cowboy Keeper Award honorees are Phil Spangenberger, R.J. Vandygriff, American Chuck Wagon Association, New Mexico History Museum, Bob Fox, and the late Mary Ann Goodnight.
Phil Spangenberger is not only a western history expert and meticulous re-enactor, but a man who embodies the ethos and persona of the cowboy in his everyday life. He is internationally recognized for his expertise and knowledge of the world of the “Old West.” Fellow Spirit of the West Rider, Brent Slutsky, declares, “If you’re making a documentary, writing a story, or need to know how it was in the older days of the cowboy, Phil is the man to see as a reliable source of accurate information, be it guns, ammo, tack, clothing or the feel of the cowboy lifestyle.” Indeed, as Marshall of the “Spirit of the West Riders,” 20-plus years in the Tournament of Roses Parade, Phil’s charge is to bring to the world a group of riders accurately and colorfully depicting our Old West, by ensuring every horse and rider displays authentic period dress and tack.
Another riding pal, Larry Brady, says of Spangenberger, “I have known, worked, and ridden with Phil for over 20 years and I’m here to tell you if you want it done right, you call on Phil Spangenberger as your technical advisor.” As a man who has coached A-list actors on wardrobe, deportment, and gun skills, he also produces American Adventure Wild West Shows, known to excite crowds worldwide with horsemanship, gun handling, and Californio lancing, while he wows ‘em, riding and shooting, guns in both hands and the reins between his teeth. On the History Channel Old West re-enactments, he works his magic, both on screen and behind cameras. He has unlimited knowledge of firearms, period clothing, horses and tack; from the time man first used a gun to today’s modern Old West clones. He has devoted his life to the lore, legend and reality of the American Cowboy past and present. He is an award winning horseman and a prominent consultant on authenticity and gun coaching in the movie industry, recognized with the prestigious Golden Boot Award in 2005. Phil has helped immortalize the Cowboy as a professional writer in books and magazines, serving as Black Powder Editor for Guns and Ammo magazine and currently serving as Executive Editor for the Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association’s™ Rundown. He provided the inspiration for the sport of Cowboy Mounted Shooting™ with his Wild West Show mounted shooting demonstrations, has been inducted into the Cowboy Mounted Shooters Hall of Fame, and has served as a member of their Board of Directors since its inception in 1994. These are but a few of Phil Spangenberger’s accomplishments that have contributed significantly to the immortalization of the Cowboy.
Award winning singer, songwriter, poet, actor, playwright, and genuine real-deal cowboy, R.J. Vandygriff, hails from Lipscomb, Texas. He grew up riding horses and strumming a guitar and includes bareback and saddlebronc riding on his resume, as well as rodeo clown and bullfighter stints. As an actor, R.J. had a recurring role as Ranger Mike for seven years in the hit series ”Walker, Texas Ranger,” and has appeared in movies and numerous regional and national commercials. He’s performed his songs and poetry for Americans from shore to shore, and in Canada and Europe. His tour offerings include a highly acclaimed, one-man, one-act musical comedy, ”The Cowboy Ain’t Dead Yet!” which has taken on legendary status in its own time. In it, R.J. plays one of the most fascinating character to ride through history; the American Cowboy. As cowboy Joe Texas, R.J. tells the true story of the cowboy from the 1860s to present time, through songs, poems, and stories. Renowned cowboy poet and author, Baxter Black, declares the play, “The best one man show since Churchill swam the English Channel.” R.J. also offers Cowboy 101, a concert/lecture on the life of the cowboy. He frequently performs concerts featuring cowboy songs, poems, and stories. R.J. was the winner of a 2004 Will Rogers Award, and the 2012 Wrangler Award for Outstanding Original Composition. He’s been described as both a soulful balladeer and a comedian of impeccable timing. R.J. has been selected for the Texas Commission of the Arts 2014 Touring Roster, where he’ll be showcasing The Cowboy Ain’t Dead Yet!, as well as another of his entertaining programs, Cowboy ABCs.
Colorado Public Radio’s Western Belle, Barb Richhart, said it this way, “Consider R.J. Vandygriff for the Cowboy Keeper Award! His one-man play is a delightful and positive portrayal of cowboy way of life. As evidenced in his music and stories, R.J. is an extraordinary example of the Cowboy Code he lives by. The quality and tone of his writing, singing and teaching make him a guiding light to old and young alike.” RJ is proof positive of the good news we always love to hear, “The Cowboy indeed, Ain’t Dead!”
In 1996, at an Amarillo, Texas, chuck wagon competition, a group of Old West enthusiasts and wagon masters talked about an association whose mission would be to preserve the heritage of the chuck wagon and the story of its use in the short, but significant, era of the cattle drives. In 1997, by-laws and articles were adopted and the American Chuck Wagon Association was born. It has since expanded to a world-wide organization preserving the American past through competitions, demonstrations, charity and school events, and participating at variety of other venues. Today, there are members in 31 states, as well as in Canada, Germany and Switzerland. Current President, Wayne Calk, proudly describes the ACWA this way, “We hold the spirit of western heritage in high esteem and want others to experience that same feeling, so we banded together with a common goal to preserve and share a heritage that the pioneers helped create.”
The chuck wagon is the central element used by the chuck wagon cook to focus on preserving the spirit of the Old West.” Chuck wagon cook-offs are by no means the only way enthusiasts portray the cowboy spirit. Members gather at locations around the country, cooking the chuck wagon way for service men and women and their families. There are also ACWA individuals who provide wagons and fare for the Wounded Warriors Program. Others take wagons or Dutch ovens to schools and provide school children with a living history demonstration. Members participate in various museum functions, parades and cowboy days. Association members recognize that youth are our future and support numerous activities directly involving young people, even including them in their cooking crews at cook offs. Another way they involve and educate youth is with demonstrations where host wagons share their camps with students, telling them the history of the chuck wagon and trail drives. The ACWA offers a scholarship to selected individuals each year and they honor a young cook with the Rookie of the Year award.
On Memorial Day weekend 2009, thousands of people lined the streets of Santa Fe, New Mexico, waiting for a first glimpse of its New Mexico History Museum. A 96,000 square-foot building, the museum significantly expanded New Mexico’s ability to share stories that made the American West. The museum’s main exhibit, Telling New Mexico: Stories from Then and Now, attempts to do that by sweeping across five centuries, telling tales that include a rich cache of information about cowboys, trail riders, and outlaws.
On April 14, 2013, a new exhibit, Cowboys Real and Imagined, opened. The exhibit impresses upon visitors the myriad details of what was (and is) a dangerous and often low-paying job. It begins with the Spanish Vaqueros and the introduction of horse culture to the American Southwest, and carries them through the role cowboys played in healing our divided nation after the Civil War. Cowboys Real and Imagined includes rare archival footage, oral histories, musical performances, and a programming series that includes screenings of classic western movies filmed in New Mexico. The exhibit anchors the cowboy story in the Land of Enchantment, a place that helped give birth to the real thing. The goal is to capture and convey the many images of the cowboy—from itinerant hired hand to outlaw, movie star, rodeo athlete and radio yodeler. It includes cowgirls and cowboys who are Spanish, Mexican, African American, Native American, and Anglo, and in the end, emphasizes that true blue cowboys and cowgirls still ride the open range.
California PRCA legislative consultant, Bob Fox, works closely and continuously with the California Cattlemen’s Association, the Farm Bureau, the California Veterinary Medical Association, the American Quarter Horse Association, the Friends of Rodeo, and other western and rodeo related organizations, to diffuse legislation that would restrict the use of livestock in rodeo, and to provide accurate information that addresses and dispels some of the myths advanced by animal rights activists. He works tirelessly to educate legislators and the public about the welfare of rodeo animals in an effort to promote and protect the sport of rodeo.
Along with other supporters, Fox also represented the National Day of the Cowboy bill in the California Legislature and protected it from unwanted modifications when it went to committee to be considered for permanent passage. After working with other NDOC volunteers to successfully guide California into becoming the second state to pass the NDOC in perpetuity, Fox continues to support the national crusade by promoting display of the NDOC flag at an untold number of rodeos and western related events in California and Nevada, including the California State Fair Rodeo. He often arranges to have rodeo royalty carry the NDOC flag at major rodeos and he provides NDOC details to rodeo announcers around the country in the form of scripts to be shared with the public. Fox also enlisted a campaign volunteer in Nevada, providing him with pertinent NDOC information, in order to secure a proclamation from the Governor of Nevada in 2012. Bob Fox goes out of his way to ensure the NDOC receives photos of the flag flying or being presented at these rodeos and that the NDOC organization receives positive publicity in quality publications such as Pro Rodeo Sports News, thus helping others to learn about the campaign and furthering the NDOC mission to preserve pioneer heritage and promote cowboy culture.
The late Mary Ann Dyer Goodnight, was fourteen when her family left Madison County, Tennessee, and moved to Texas. After her parents died, she worked as a schoolteacher and raised her five brothers. In 1870, at age 31, she married legendary Texas rancher, Charles Goodnight. In 1876 the Goodnights and another couple established the vast JA Ranch in the Texas Panhandle, still the oldest ranch enterprise in the Panhandle. When the other couple left the area, Mary Goodnight (Molly) became the only woman on the ranch, which occupied the entire Palo Duro Canyon (1,500 feet deep, 10 miles across, and nearly 100 miles long).
As surrogate mother, sister, friend, homemaker, and nurse to the area’s cowboys, Mary Ann Goodnight soon became known as “Mother of the Panhandle.” Experiencing long periods with little companionship, Molly’s life centered on the traditional chores of ranch life, however, her interests quickly extended to protecting baby buffalo left to die after commercial hunters ravaged the Plains herd. Through rescuing and raising orphaned buffalo, Mrs. Goodnight helped establish the Goodnight buffalo herd, which became well known throughout the world. Goodnight devoted herself to saving baby buffalo of the southern herd of bison. She is credited with saving the herd from extinction and her orphaned buffalo produced the Goodnight buffalo herd. Today, the State of Texas owns the descendants of the Goodnight’s rescued animals and cares for them at CaprockCanyonState Park. In September 2011, 80 descendants of that great southern plains bison herd were released to roam an initial 700 acres of grasslands in the park, where from a safe distance, visitors can see these indigenous animals in their native habitat. These bison are the only vestige of a herd that once numbered an incredible 3.5 – 4 million strong. Now, as the official Texas State Bison Herd, they are being restored to their native habitat, fulfilling Mary Ann and Charles Goodnight’s vision of saving this herd of pure Southern Plains bison from certain extinction.
The artist image chosen for the 2013 Cowboy Keeper Award is “Weathered Wheels,” the work of gifted watercolor and acrylic Canadian artist and author, Val Moker. Phil Spangenberger, R.J. Vandygriff, Bob Fox, the American Chuck Wagon Association, the New Mexico History Museum, and the late Mary Ann Goodnight, are the outstanding recipients of the National Day of the Cowboy’s 2013 Cowboy Keeper Award. All six honorees have demonstrated a heartfelt, effective commitment to the preservation of pioneer heritage and cowboy culture. The National Day of the Cowboy tips its hat to each of these highly deserving recipients.
It’s OFFICIAL! On Friday afternoon, June 28, 2013, Mississippi joined the growing list of states that have awarded permanent status to the 4th Saturday in July as the National Day of the Cowboy! With its passage of HCR #3, Mississippi has become the seventh state in the country to formally recognize the importance of protecting our pioneer heritage and promoting our cowboy culture through this concurrent action of both houses of their legislature. Thanks to our awesome volunteer, Rip Copeland of Batesville, Mississippi, and to his enthusiastic sponsor of the NDOC bill, Representative Nolan Mettetal, we have seven states where the National Day of the Cowboy has been deemed to be of such import that the legislature has passed it as a permanent bill. And, guess what! This makes Mississippi the first state EAST of the Mississippi to pass the National Day of the Cowboy in perpetuity.
Thank you Rip Copeland. Thank you Representative Mettetal and Thank you Mississippi. Don’t forget to celebrate!
Even as a boy in Washington, renowned American illustrator and painter, Don Weller, was already drawing
horses and cowboys.
When he was out, exploring on his horse, he rode along the banks of the Palouse River or over the rolling hills that surrounded his home near Pullman. He roped calves in high school rodeos and sold cartoons to Western Horseman magazine. His passions have always been horses and art. In college, he continued to rope in college and amateur rodeos in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.
When Don Weller graduated from Washington State University with his Fine Art degree, he sold his horses and moved to Los Angeles, where he spent decades working in the field of graphic design and illustration. His work appeared on album covers, on posters, in advertisements, and on hundreds of magazine pages. His art graced the covers of Time Magazine, and TV Guide. He illustrated stories in Readers’ Digest, Sports Illustrated, Boys’ Life, and many others. Don created posters for the Hollywood Bowl, The National Football League, The National Cutting Horse Association, The Rose Bowl, and the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. He has illustrated three children’s books and published a coffee table book about cutting horses, Pride in the Dust, which he both illustrated and photographed. To date, he has created five stamps for the United States Post Office.
Along with working in illustration and graphic design, Don Weller taught school, part-time, for three years at UCLA (where he met his wife, Cha Cha), and eleven years at the Art Center School in Pasadena. Eventually, Cha Cha and Don moved to Utah, near ParkCity, where a book project for the National Cutting Horse Association introduced him to a neighbor who trained cutting horses, and the west of Don’s childhood came flooding back to him. The cutting horse book project took him to Texas, California, Arizona, and Montana, where he was frequently in arenas and on ranches and soon began to wonder what it would be like to ride those cutting horses. It wasn’t long before he found out, and he’s been addicted ever since.
Nowadays Don and Cha Cha Weller live in rural Oakley, Utah, with Buster the border collie, and five horses who are bred to cut. This is where Don creates his cowboy and western watercolor and acrylic paintings and rides and competes on his cutting horses. In the summers their animal menagerie grows to include an occasional buffalo, and cattle for practice and for training younger horses.
Over the years, Don Weller has received numerous prestigious art awards, including most recently:
2011 Bosque Conservatory: First Place Watercolor, Patron’s Award
2011 American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame and Museum: Steel Dust Award
2011 American Plains Artists: Golden Spur Award (APA Member’s Choice),
Arrowhead Award (Director’s Choice), Second Place (Overall) Award
2011 Western Artists of America: Artists’ Choice Award, Editor’s Choice Award, Third place watercolor
2011 Western Artists Association, National Western Art Show: Best of Show Water Media
2010 American Plains Artists: Exhibition Award
2010 Art of the Horse: Best of Show
Don’s work has of course, been featured in many of the highest caliber western arts shows around the country, including exhibitions at Cheyenne Frontier Days – Old West Museum, Cheyenne, Wyoming, the Mountain Oysters Show, Tucson, Arizona, the Pearce Museum, Corsicana, Texas, and the C.M. Russell Museum, Great Falls, Montana.
Don Weller is currently exhibiting his cowboy action watercolors featuring working ranch and desert scenes, at Desert Caballeros Western Museum in Wickenburg, Arizona, where he will be a guest on the National Day of the Cowboy July 27, 2013. The Don Weller exhibit runs to October 6, 2013.
When the National Day of the Cowboy approached Don about contributing a piece of original artwork to their limited edition National Day of the Cowboy Hatch poster series project, not only was he willing to contribute the art for the 2013 commemorative poster, but he was elated to participate in the project. As a former graphics artist, he was already very familiar with Hatch’s historic letterpress work and he is also friends with Jim Sherraden, the previous owner of Hatch and co-author of the Hatch coffee table book, “Hatch Show Print – The History of a Great American Poster Shop.”
The National Day of the Cowboy organization is extremely proud to have one of America’s premier Western artists, Don Weller of Utah, join the six cowboy and cowgirl artists who have previously contributed their original art to the National Day of the Cowboy Hatch Show Print collectible poster series. Those artists include Jennifer Ward – AZ, Teal Blake – TX, Zane Mead – NM, Christina Holmes – CA, Jim Harrison – FL, and Jim Clements – KS.