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Winners Announced for 2017 Academy of Western Artists’

Academy of Western Artists

22nd Annual Academy of Western Artists “Will Rogers Awards”
March 15, 2018 Brown Lupton Ballroom, TCU University, Fort Worth, Texas
1-Artist-Teal Blake
2-Cartoonist-Jim Lisk
3-Engraver-Wes Griffin
4-Bit/Spurmaker-Jeremiah Watt
5-Braider-Clint Haverty
6-Bootmaker-Alan Bell
7-Saddlemaker-Jessie Smith
8-Master Leather Artisan-Jim Jackson
9-Don King Award-Eddie Brooks
10-Garnet Brooks Chuckwagon-Wilbur & Annette Wilson
11-Cowboy Poet-Andy Nelson
12-Cowgirl Poet-Carolyn Dufurrena
13-Radio Station-KSSL, Lubbock, TX
14-Disc Jockey-Ann Harwood Lucas
15-Book-Fiction “Dead Mans Boots” by Patrick Dearen
16-Book-Non Fiction “A Promise Fulfilled, The Kitty Anderson Diary and Civil War Texas, 1861″ by Nancy Draves
17-Lifetime Achievement-Bill Mack
18-Pure Country/Male-Bobby Marquez
19-Pure Country/Female-Lorraine Chavana
20-Pure Country Duo.Group-Will Banister & The Modern Day Ramblers
21-Pure Country Album “Fort Worth To Bakersfield-Steve Griggs
22-Pure Country Song-“Tell Me I’m Wrong-Dennis Ledbetter
23-Western Swing/Male-Bobby Flores
24-Western Swing/Female-Cheryl Deseree
25-Western Swing Duo.Group-Western Flyers
26-Western Swing Album-Somewhere Near Austin Bret Raper
27-Western Swing Song-Bucket List- Kim Blakey
28-Instrumentalist-Junior Knight
29-Western Music/Male-Bob Marshall
30-Western Music/Female-Carol Markstrom
31-Western Music Duo.Group-Hanson Family
32-Western Music Album-Montana Moon Dan McCorison
33-Western Music Song-A Cowboy Tune Dennis Jay
34-Young Artist-Wyatt Aleman


Mr. Bill Mack Slated for Lifetime Achievement Award From AWA

Mr. Bill Mack Lifetime Achievement Award 2017 Academy of Western Artists'
Mr. Bill Mack
Lifetime Achievement Award 2017
Academy of Western Artists’

26733690_10215689569374511_5542852980525639445_nNobody in broadcasting has a more recognizable voice than Bill Mack. He has been heard on radio – – – seen on television – – – heard on records and featured in various publications for years.

Bill has been closely associated with the truckers and millions of other listeners via his radio programs out of the Fort Worth-Dallas Metroplex since 1969, broadcasting during the wee hours of the morning and keeping the world company with his music and chit-chat that has allowed him to be featured in more publications and to win more awards than any other country music DJ.. in the world.

He has been honored as the “Country Music DJ.. Of-The-Year”, “Mr. DJ.. USA”, “Texas’ Number One Country DJ..” (for over 30 years) and the super honor: He is a member of the “Country Music DJ.. Hall-Of-Fame” in Nashville.

In 1999, Bill was placed in “The Texas Country Music Hall-of-Fame” and “The Texas Country Music Disk Jockey Hall-of-Fame”, both at the same awards banquet, and was in nomination for the prestigious “Marconi Award” in Orlando, Florida.

In 2000, Bill was given the “Media” award for broadcasting by his peers and the members of the world-famous “Grand Ole Opry” in Nashville, Tennessee.

Bill has been hosting “Country Crossroads” on radio (now heard on over 800 outlets) since it began in October, 1969 and has been hosting “Country Crossroads” on FamilyNet Cable TV since 1993, a real honor for him.

Bill is also recognized as one of the better songwriters in the nation. His compositions have been recorded by over 60 artists … including Dean Martin, Ray Price, Jerry Lee Lewis, George Jones and dozens of other top names in country music.

He is now a member of the most cherished “Million-Air Club”. No, that doesn’t indicate he’s a millionaire financially. It represents the fact his composition, “DRINKING CHAMPAGNE”, has been played over a million times on-the-air (radio & television). George Strait’s recording of the song won Bill a Platinum Album … because the Texan sold over a million copies of the tune.

His biggest moment in music came in 1997 when his song, “BLUE”, made LeAnn Rimes a star and he won a Grammy when it was voted “The Country Song Of The Year in 1996”, the highest honor that can be bestowed on a songwriter.

Adding to the honor, Bill received the American Flag that was flown over The United States Capitol representing him on the day he received his Grammy.

The Honorable Kay Granger, Member of Congress, presented it to him.

“BLUE” was also responsible for Bill winning statuettes and trophies as Song-Of-The-Year at The Academy Of Country Music in L.A. and “Country-Weekly’s Golden Pick Award”. The album, “BLUE”, by LeAnn Rimes, has broken all records … remaining in the Top 10 best-seller charts for over 90 weeks. It has sold over 10 million copies and is still selling hot. A Multi-Platinum record hangs on his wall for “BLUE”.

On June 4, 2003, Bill received a tremendous birthday gift when “BLUE” was selected as one of the TOP 100 COUNTRY SONGS of-all-time by CMT!

Another of Bill’s songs recorded by LeAnn Rimes, “CLINGING TO A SAVING HAND”, is in her “Inspirational Songs” album, which has also sold several millions. This gospel favorite has also been recorded by Connie Smith, Conway Twitty, Bill Monroe and dozens of other great artists.

One of his most cherished gifts: A Lunar Bible from the Apollo XIV, the first lunar module to land on the moon on February 5, 1971.

Also of great importance is the fact the “Wives of the Truckers” presented him with a special award saying they had voted him “their favorite ‘radio personality’.”

He has received keys to various cities, there have been two “Bill Mack Days” in his city of Fort Worth, The Governor of Kentucky proclaimed him a Kentucky Colonel and, now, there is “Bill Mack Street” in his hometown, Shamrock, Texas.

Bill was heard nationwide on SiriusXM Satellite Radio for a decade beginning with the its inaugural day in 2001. He resigned from SiriusXM in 2011 and is busily involved in several lucrative media ventures.

Academy of Western Artists Top Five Music Nominees 2017

…Wyatt Aleman
…Hailee Nixon
…Abby Payne
…Jack Phillips
…Leah Sawyer
…Gary Ash
…Chuck Cusimano
…Bobby Marquez
…Jake Penrod
…Jeff Woolsey
…Leddy Bragg
…Loraine Chavana
…Janice Maynard
…Myra Rolen
…Cathy Whitten
…Rocky King Band
…Brady Honeycutt Band
…Landon Dodd/Dancehall Drifters
…Jeff Woolsey/Dancehall Kings
…Will Banister/Modern Day Ramblers
…Teea Goans-Swing, Shuffle And Sway
…Steve Griggs-Fort Worth To Bakersfield
…Richard Lynch-Mending Fences
…Leslie Tom-Leslie Tom
…Justin Trevino-A Salute To Ray Price And The Cherokee Cowboys
…Will Banister-What A Way To Live
…Brad Howard-Girls From The Liquor Store
…Dennis Ledbetter-Tell Me I’m Wrong
…Jay Parr-Coming Soon
…Cathy Whitten-Please Blue Moon
…Doug Boggs
…Bobby Flores
…Billy Mata
…Leon Rausch
…Paul Schlesinger
…Susie Blue
…Leddy Bragg
…Cheryl Deseree
…Stacey Lee Guse
…Kristyn Harris
…Rocky King Band
…Bobby Flores/Yellow Rose Band
…Brady Bowen/Swing Country
…Western Flyers
…Rick & The All Star Ramblers
…Hot Texas Swing Band-Off The Beaten Path
…Kim Blakey-Dancin On Daddy’s Boots
…Rick & All Star Ramblers-Welcome To Our Vermont
…Bret Raper-Somewhere Near Austin
…Leon Rausch-Time Changes Everything
…Garry Ash-Swing Me Back Home
…Hot Texas Swing Band-Ain’t Dead Yet
…Kim Blakey-Bucket List
…Susie Blue/Lonesome Fellas-A Thousand Good Nights
…Cherokee Maidens/Sycamore Swing-Longing For Tulsa And You
…Jake Hooker
…Junior Knight
…Joey McKenzie
…Rose Sinclair
…Hank Singer
…Rex Allen Jr
…Dennis Jay
…Bob Marshall
…Rick Pickren
…Matt Robertson
…Almeda Bradshaw
…Mikki Daniel
…Kristyn Harris
…Carol Markstrom
…Jeneve Rose Mitchell
…Junction 5-12
…High Country Cowboys
…Hanson Family
…Sisters Of The Silver Sage
…The Cowboy Way
…High Country Cowboys-Cowboy
…Dan McCorison-Montana Moon
…Donnie Poindexter-Cowboy Life
…Matt Robertson-Makin’ History
…Cowboy Way-Cowboy Way
…Panhandle Cowboys-Coyote Swing
…Dennis Jay-A Cowboy Tune
…Dan McCorison-Montana Moon
…Gary/Jean Prescott-He Always Rode Good Horses
…3 Trails West-Silent Trails

2017 Academy of Western Artists Western Trappings

Western Artist of the Year—Teal Blake, Benbrook, TX
Bit and Spurmaker – Jeremiah Watt, Coalinga, Ca.
Engraver- Wes Griffin, Katy, TX
Braider – Clint Haverty, Krum, TX
Bootmaker-Alan Bell, Abilene, Tx
Saddlemaker – Jesse Smith, Pritchett, Colorado
Don King Memorial Saddlemaker- Eddie Brooks, Spring Creek, NV
Garnet Brooks Chuckwagon- Breakaway Chuckwagon, Stamford, TX, Wilbur & Annette Wilson
Master Leather Artisan – Jim Jackson, Sheridan, WY
Buck Ramsey Cowgirl Poet-Carolyn Dufurrena, Winnemucca, NV
Buck Ramsey Cowboy Poet-Andy Nelson, Pinedale, WY
Radio Station- KSSL Lubbock, Tx
Disc Jockey-Ann Harwood Lucas of KCWM
Lifetime Achievement-Bill Mack
Elmer Kelton Book

21st Will Rogers Award Winners


This is a link to some of the photos Melissa Arnold took at the 21st Annual Awards.  If you want to use one, there is also a link to her email and website.  Thank you Melissa. As we get other photos, we will put them up along with the links.

Texas Red Photography


Steven Jeffers Photography:


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1-Mary Kaye 2-Kenny Sears 3-Rex Allen, Jr.

The Academy of Western Artists is proud to announce the following selections for 2016
Radio Station-KOOP, Austin, TX
Disc Jockey-Woody Adkins, KOPN, Columbia, MO
Buck Ramsey Cowboy Poet-Gary Robertson
Buck Ramsey Cowgirl Poet-Sandy Seaton Sallee
Elmer Kelton Book-Glen Sample Ely “The Texas Frontier And The Butterfield Overland Mail, 1858-1861
Engraver-John Mincer
Spur/Bitmaker-Gary Wiggins
Master Leather Artisan- Bill Gomer
Bootmaker-Lee Miller
Cartoonist- Lex Graham
Artist-Carrie Ballantyne
Saddlemaker-Bob Klenda
Braider-Billy Albin
Garnet Brooks Chuckwagon-Homer Robertson
Don King Saddlemaker Award-Chuck Stormes
Lifetime Achievement-Ray Odom
Memorial Tribute-Larry Scott
Pure Country Male-Artie Rodriguez
Pure Country Female-Lisa Layne
Pure Country Duo/Group-Jeff Woolsey and the Dancehall Kings
Pure Country-Album-Tommy Hooker “It Should Be Easier Now”
Pure Country-Song-Lorraine Chavana “Texas Honky Tonk
Western Swing Male-Greg Gibbs
Western Swing-Female-Katie Glassman
Western Swing Duo/Group-Jason Roberts Band
Western Swing Album-Timejumpers “Kid Sister
Western Swing Song-Paul Schlesinger “You Were Meant To Ruin My Dreams”
Western Music Male-Rex Allen Jr.
Western Music Female-Mikki Daniel
Western Music Duo/Group-Munsick Boys
Western Music Album-Ron Christopher “Into The West”
Western Music Song-Mary Kaye “Grit Grace And Bailin’ Twine
Young Artist- Leddy Bragg
Instrumentalist-Mike Sweeney
Appreciation Award-JB Taylor
Distinguished Service Award-Don Reeves
Living Legend Award-Roy Clark



22nd Annual Awards

FT WORTH, TX-The 22nd Annual Will Rogers Awards was held, Thursday,  March 15, 2018 in the Brown Lupton Ballroom on the campus of Texas Christian University. 2901 Stadium Drive, Ft. Worth, TX 76129. The AWA is a non profit 501 c 3 organization.  For sponsorship and program ads, please contact


We are proud to announce that Penny Gilley, star of RFD Television’s Penny Gilley Show will be the Mistress of Ceremonies for the 22nd Annual Academy of Western Artists “Will Rogers” Awards.


brown lupton ballroomBrownLupton_sml

The  Brown-Lupton Ballroom located on the third floor of the Student Union Building at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas.   The Student Union is directly east of the TCU Football stadium and parking is just west of the Student Union.  There is a drive around in case you want to let people out and park.  There are elevators inside the Student Union to take you to the third floor and the ballroom.  Please consult your GPS and computer for exact directions to the Student Union. If you are interested in performing on the Awards or during the dinner, please contact the AWA at No decisions will be made until the first of the year.

*TCU is located in the southwest cultural part of Ft. Worth, with many museums close by including the Ft. Worth Zoo, National Cowgirl Hall of Fame, Texas and Southwest Cattleraisers,  Amon Carter and other interesting things to see.


*The Ft. Worth Stockyard is also an interesting tourist site with many things to see and do. It is located north of downtown Ft. Worth

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LOCATION: HOST HOTEL: The Host Hotel is the Radisson Fort Worth North Fossil Creek Hotel. It is located at 2540 Meacham Boulevard, Ft. Worth, TX 76106. It is a couple of miles north of the Stockyards area on Interstate 35 W. RoomTheir phone number is 800-333-3333. Please mention the Academy of Western Artists to receive the discounted rate.  They do have a limited number of rooms set aside for us, after that it is the full rate.  Please book your rooms early for discounted rate.


Wednesday night jam will be held at the Lil Red’s Longhorn Saloon in the Stockyard area of Ft. Worth and hosted by Billy Bowles.

western swing monthly logo

Welcome to the Academy of Western Artists

24th Academy of Western Artists Awards

April 9, 2020


The Academy of Western Artists is a 501 (c) (3) organization whose mission is to promote and preserve, not only our western past, but also our contemporary western future. We are in our 24th year of the Will Rogers Western Awards recognizing the best in western artists in three disciplines: Trappings, entertainment and media.

The Academy of Western Artists is well aware that it will never be the top entertainment event of the world, but is aware that it continues to recognize those individuals and groups who do have that possibility.  We encourage the youth of America and those unknown voices and talents out there to strive to do their best to improve their art and craft and to leave the world a better place than when they found it.  It almost appears that the “pop” music is striving to see how low it can go, and the AWA hopes, that through what it does, we continue to have morals and values, seemingly going against the norm.  If that is what you are looking for to promote your art, then you definitely are in the wrong place.

The Academy of Western Artists is a small group of folks whose agenda is to recognize and promote those western artists who do excellent work. In the 23 years of its existence, over 800 well deserving individuals and groups have received a “Willie” statue. The award, in many fields, is the most recognized and prized recognition of their work. Since its inception, there have been numerous other award type shows and we welcome each and every one of them. It is nice to be rewarded, by others, for what you do, which is the reason for this type of show. Please send in your sumissions of  those folks whom you want to recognize as doing good for others and the promotion of the western heritage.  Go to the page for submissions to send in your choice.  You do not have to be a member to nominate or to win an award.

For more information: email Facebook Academy of Western Artists.