OKLAHOMA CITY -- America's premier Western museum, the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum is celebrating its 51st anniversary with the announcement of the Western Heritage Award winners in literature, music, film and television. The awards reflect the significant stories of the American West. Each honoree will receive a "Wrangler," an impressive bronze sculpture of a cowboy on horseback. Awards are for works completed in 2011.
Topeka's Tom Averill is one of the 2011 honorees for his outstanding book, "rode," which fills in stories based on the ballad "Tennessee Stud," by Jimmy Driftwood. Averill also detailed his book to fans at last year's Kansas Book Festival at the History Museum in Topeka.
Averill's honor is for Outstanding Western Novel. Published by University of New Mexico Press, Averill began by imagining the story behind the lyrics of the ballad. He set out to research the song's history while telling the story of Robert Johnson, a man who holds love in his heart even though adventure rules his time. Pursued by a bounty hunger, Indians, and his conscience, he and his horse are tested as readers wait to see if they will emerge in triumph.
Other Cowboy and Western Museum Literature winners include:
"After Custer: Loss and Transformation in Sioux Country" by Paul L. Hedren; "Milagro of the Spanish Bean Pot" as the Outstanding Juvenile book, written by Emerita Romero-Anderson; and
"The Eugene B. Adkins collection: Selected Works" was chosen as the Outstanding Art Book.
The awards will be handed out in Oklahoma City April 21st.
Other categories include Western Music, and Film and Television.