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Will Rogers Medallion Award Festivities

Oct. 20-21, Fort Worth


FORT WORTH—Ten editors and publishers will discuss trends in Western fiction and nonfiction during a panel open to the public as part of the Will Rogers Medallion Award (WRMA) festivities here Oct. 20-21. 


The panel is scheduled from 1-3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 21, in the Aloft Hotel, 334 W. Third St.  The presentation is free to the public, though seats are limited. 


Scheduled panel participants are:  Mike Bray, CEO, Wolfpack Publishing; Ronald Chrisman, director, University of North Texas Press; Casey Cowan of Roan & Weatherford Publishing Associates; Ben Gibson of The History Press; Kristine Hall, publisher, Lone Star Literary Life; Dana Joseph of Cowboys and Indians Magazine; David Lauterborn, editor, Wild West Magazine; Thomas Lemmons, editor-in-chief, Texas A&M University Press; Jessica Sharpe of Bethany House Publishing; and Nick Wale, chief publicist, Dusty Saddle Publishing. 


The panel will discuss the publishing industry as a whole and the popularity of the Western genre specifically, including trends and needs.  Additionally, the participants will cover what they look for in submissions and in successfully promoting a book once it is published.  The panel will be moderated by award-winning western author Preston Lewis and his award-winning editor wife Harriet, both WRMA board members.


The WRMA weekend will culminate at 6 p.m. Saturday evening with the banquet and award ceremony recognizing outstanding work in 22 literary and film categories in the banquet room of Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que, 301 Stockyards Blvd.  More than 50 authors, including a dozen from Texas, will be recognized during the ceremony.


In addition to the medallions, the WRMA board will present celebrated authors and westerners Larry J. Martin with its Lifetime Achievement Award and Craig Johnson with its Golden Lariat Award for support of WRMA in its mission to preserve the spirit of the American West through literature.


Named in honor of American humorist, social commentator and performer Will Rogers (1879–1935), the WRMA gold, silver, bronze and copper medallions annually recognize excellence in creative works on the American West in line with the American values displayed by the awards’ namesake. 






For Immediate Release


Will Rogers Medallion Finalists Named/Authors from 21 States Honored


FORT WORTH—Creative works by authors from four countries and 21 states have been named finalists for the 2023 Will Rogers Medallion Awards (WRMA) celebrating excellence in fiction, nonfiction, poetry and photography of the American West.


Named in honor of American humorist, social commentator and performer Will Rogers (1879–1935), the WRMA gold, silver, bronze and copper medallions will be presented to the finalists during the 2023 awards banquet Saturday, Oct. 21 in the Fort Worth Stockyards.  WRMA annually honors creative works in 20 categories.


In addition to the medallions, the organization at its October ceremony will honor celebrated authors and westerners Larry J. Martin with its Lifetime Achievement Award and Craig Johnson with its Golden Lariat Award for support of WRMA to convey the spirit of the American West through literature.


The 2023 WRMA finalists come from the United States, Germany, Canada and Australia.  The WRMA honorees represent the following states: 


In announcing the finalists, WRMA Executive Director Chris Enss said, “The books, screenplays, short stories, articles and poetry finalists in this year’s Will Rogers Medallion Award program represent the best in Western writing and proudly pays honor to the legacy of the cowboy performer for whom the award is named.” 


Recipients (with multiple awards in parentheses) by state or country are:


Australia:  James B. Mills.

Canada:  Carolyn McMaster, Calgary, Alberta.

Germany:  Manuela Schneider.

Arizona:  Darrell Arnold, Colorado City; and Carol Markstrom, Tucson.

Arkansas:  Clarissa Willis, Rogers.

California:  Chris Enss (3), Grass Valley; Walter Hill, Beverly Hills; Nik James, Laguna Niguel; Ann Parker, Livermore; Andrew Roth, Bakersfield; and Rob Word, Los Angeles.

Colorado:  Valerie Beard, Kim; Sandra Dallas, Denver; and Linda Wommack, Littleton.

Georgia:  Mark Warren, Dahlonega.

Kansas:  Ron Schwab, Manhattan; and Clyde W. Toland, Iola.

Missouri:  Ruth M. Sherwood, Springfield.

Montana:  John Hansen, Hamilton.

Nevada:  Ella Cara Deloria, McDermitt; CJ Hadley, Carson City; Gail Heath, Henderson; Victoria Jackson, Elko; Robert Lee Murphy, Henderson; and Sharon Sala, Las Vegas.

New Mexico:  Thomas D. Clagett, Santa Fe; Joy K. Gallegos, Anthony; and Melody Groves, Albuquerque.

Montana:  Larry J. Martin, Clinton.

North Carolina:  Sherry Monahan, Fuquay-Varina.

Ohio:  Mary Kay Carson, Cincinnati; and David Hohn, Cincinnati.

Oklahoma:  John Mort, Coweta; Timothy Lange, Broken Arrow; Zachary Pullen, Broken Arrow; and Casey Rislov, Broken Arrow.

Oregon:  Carole T. Beers, Grants Pass; Curtis W. Condon, Forest Grove; B.K. Froman, Beavercreek; Shanna Hatfield, Freewater; Robin Betty Johnson, Portland; Kristin McNess Moran, Bend; Dani Nichols, Bend; Jill Charlotte Stanford, Sisters; and Helen F. Wand, Gresham.

South Carolina:  Laurie Loewenstein, Pawleys Island.

South Dakota:  Sherl Cederburg, Hot Springs; Yvonne Hollenbeck, Clearfield; and Bill Markley (2), Pierre.

Texas:  Bob Adams, El Paso; Michael Barr, Fredericksburg; Barbara Brannon, Spur; Lynn Dean, San Antonio; Patrick Dearen, Midland; K.S. Jones, Kerrville; Gail Kittleson, San Antonio; Preston Lewis (3), San Angelo; Alice Liles, Muleshoe; Gina Lister New Braunfels; Shannon McFarland, Universal City; Chris Mullen, Richmond; Karen Witemeyer, Abilene; and Reavis Z. Wortham, Prosper.

Utah:  Michael Norman, Salt Lake City.

Washington:  Carol Crigger, Spokane Valley; and P.A. O’Neil, Olympia.

Wyoming:  Mary Fichtner, Cheyenne; Roslan Fichtner, Cheyenne; Kathleen O’Neal Gear, Cody; Candy Moulton, Encampment; John D. Nesbitt, Torrington; and Robert E Noll Jr., Encampment.


For a complete list of the winners with their qualifying works and publishers, please visit the WRMA website at


The 2023 WRMA medallions will be presented in October in the following Western categories: Cowboy Poetry-Recorded; Cowboy Poetry-Written; Western Fiction-Traditional; Western Fiction-Modern (Post-1900); Western Mystery; Western Fiction-Short Story; Western Non-Fiction; Western Biography/Memoir; Western Fiction-Young Readers; Western Fiction–Young Readers-Illustrated; Inspirational Western Fiction; Western Non-Fiction-Young Readers; Western Non-Fiction-Young Readers Illustrated; Western Photographic Essays; Western Cookbooks; Western Graphic Novels/Illustrations, Visual Humor & Iconic Images; Western Humor-Written; Western Fiction Romance; Western Film-Drama; Western Film-Documentary; and Western Short Non-fiction


The awards were established in 2003 to honor the legacy of Indian Territory and Oklahoma native Will Rogers who began his career as a cowboy and trick roper who gradually evolved into a nationally beloved humorist, social commentator, syndicated newspaper columnist and Hollywood actor.  Through its awards program, WRMA seeks to encourage, enhance and expand creative works devoted to the deep legacy of the American West and its peoples.  Since its creation, the WRMA honors have become among the most prestigious in the field. 


Entries for the 2024 WRMA competition will open Nov. 1 at



WRMA 2023

Golden Lariat Recipient

Craig Johnson

WRMA 2023

Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

Larry J. Martin

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