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GRASS VALLEY, CA, UNITED STATES, June 7, 2022 / — Creative works by authors from two countries and 24 states have been named finalists for the 2022 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 2022 awards banquet Oct. 29 in the Fort Worth Stockyards. WRMA annually honors creative works in 18 categories.

In addition to the medallions, the organization at its October ceremony will honor Wolfpack Publishing’s bestselling author Robert Vaughan with WRMA’s Lifetime Achievement Award for outstanding contributions to the literature, history, culture and traditions of the American West and its peoples. Vaughan has published more than 500 works in multiple genres, but primarily westerns, under his own name and various pseudonyms in a writing career spanning six decades. In addition to his own writing, the Gulf Shores, Alabama, resident over the years has given generously of his time to help scores of other writers sharpen their skills and fulfill their publishing dreams.

“It’s wonderful to see such enthusiasm for writing about the American West. This year’s list of finalist represent a love for the genre from Tel Aviv, Israel, to Memphis, Tennessee”

chris enss – executive director of the will rogers medallion award

The 2022 WRMA finalists come from the United States and Israel. The WRMA honorees represent the following states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming,.

In announcing the finalists, WRMA Executive Director Chris Enss said, “It’s wonderful to see such enthusiasm for writing about the American West. This year’s list of finalists represents a love for the genre from Tel Aviv, Israel, to Memphis, Tennessee. Will Rogers once said, ‘Ability is all right, but if it is not backed up by honest and public confidence you will never be a successful person. The best man can do is to arrive at the top of his chosen profession.’ The 2022 WRMA finalists represent those who are at the top in the profession of Western writing.”

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

Arizona: Sally Harper Bates (2), Chino Valley; Jan Cleere, Oro Valley; and Heidi M. Thomas, Chino Valley.
California: Chris Enss (3), Grass Valley; Harlan Hague, Stockton; Peter Hiller, Carmel; and Howard Kazanjian, San Marino.
Colorado: J.v.L. Bell, Louisville; James Bailey Blackshear and Glen Sample Ely, Grand Junction; John Hafnor, Fort Collins; Charlotte Hinger, Fort Collins; E.S. Jameson, Durango; Darby Karchut with illustrations by Wes Karchut, Colorado Springs; Nancy Oswald, Cotopaxi; and Randi Samuelson-Brown, Denver.
Delaware: Susanna Lane, Lewes.
Florida: G. Wayne Tilman, Ellenton.
Georgia: Mark Warren (2), Dahlonega.
Idaho: Julie Weston, Hailey.
Indiana: Larry Sweazy (2), Noblesville.
Israel: D. László Conhaim, Tel Aviv.
Kansas: Ron Schwab, Manhattan.
Kentucky: Susan Page Davis, Dexter.
Minnesota: Candace Simar, Pequot Lakes.
Missouri: Betty Lynne McCarthy, Buffalo; and Richard Prosch, Jefferson City.
Montana: Emily Crawford Wilson with illustrations by Jeanne Bowman, Great Falls; Steph Lehmann, Helena; John L. Moore, Miles City; Tom Petrie and Brian Dippie, Great Falls; and John Phillips, Darby.
Nevada: CJ Hadley and Carolyn Dufurrena, Carson City.
New Jersey: Nancy Plain, Short Hills.
New Mexico: Deanna Dickinson McCall, Timberon; Pamela Nowak, Albuquerque; and David G. Thomas, Las Cruces.
Oklahoma: John J. Dwyer, Waukomis; and Dove Morgan Schmidt (2) with illustrations by Sabra Arnold, Depew.
Oregon: Debra Whiting Alexander, Eugene; Shanna Hatfield (2), Freewater; Jane Kirkpatrick, Bend; and Anne Schroeder, Grants Pass.
South Dakota: Bill Markley, Pierre; Bruce Roseland, Seneca; and David Wolff, Spearfish.
Tennessee: Greg Hunt, Cordova.
Texas: Will Brandon, Spur; Natalie Bright, Canyon; S.J. Dahlstrom, Lubbock; Patrick Dearen, Midland; Preston Lewis, San Angelo; Carol A. Lipscomb, Fort Worth; Max McNabb, Ropesville; Phil Mills, Jr., Hudson Oaks; Charles Williams, Rowlett; Reavis Z. Wortham, Prosper; and Lori Bates Wright, Waxahachie.
Utah: Marleen Bussma (2), Dammeron Valley; and Rocky Gibbons, Central.
Washington: Blaine Harden, Seattle; and K.B. Taylor, Lacy.
Wyoming: Mary Fichtner with illustrations by Roslan Fichtner, Cheyenne; Craig Johnson, Clearmont; and John D. Nesbitt, Torrington.

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

The 2022 WRMA medallions will be presented in October in the following Western categories: Biographies/Memoirs; Nonfiction; Traditional Fiction; Modern Fiction; Romance; Mystery; Inspirational Fiction; Short Stories; Young Readers Fiction, Young Readers Illustrated Fiction; Young Readers Nonfiction; Young Readers Illustrated Nonfiction; Cookbooks; Maverick; Written Cowboy Poetry; Recorded Cowboy Poetry; Photographic Essays; and Humor.

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 2023 WRMA competition will open November 1.

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