When the curtain rises on the 51st Anniversary Western Heritage Awards banquet at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, guests will take part in one of the Museum’s hallmark events. The schedule offers activities over two days with opportunities for the public to get excited about award-winning Western authors, musicians, television and film industry professionals.
First presented in 1961, the Western Heritage Awards were established to honor and encourage the legacy of those whose works in literature, music, film and television reflect the significant stories of the American West. Each Western Heritage Award winner receives the Wrangler, an impressive bronze sculpture of a cowboy on horseback.
Activities begin Friday evening, April 20 at 5:30 p.m. with the Jingle-Jangle Mingle, a kick-off event honoring the Western Heritage Award Winners and Hall of Fame inductees. The public is invited to take pleasure in the casual atmosphere, entertainment and hors d’oeuvres, meet honorees and enjoy a book and CD/DVD autograph session. Reservations are $30 for Museum members and $40 for nonmembers.
The pinnacle of the Western Heritage Awards weekend is the formal reception and black-tie banquet Saturday evening, April 21, beginning at 5 p.m. Invited co-hosts include actors Ernest Borgnine, Buck Taylor, Rex Linn and Brad Johnson. Also presenting will be John Wayne’s grandchildren Anita La Cava Swift and Brendan Wayne and musicians Red Steagall, Juni Fisher and Ty England.
In addition to honoring principal creators in 12 categories of music, literature, television and film, the Western Heritage Awards program recognizes inductees into the prestigious Hall of Great Westerners and the Hall of Great Western Performers as well as the recipient of the Chester A. Reynolds Memorial Award.
The Hall of Great Western Performers is designed primarily for actors with significant contributions to Western film, television, radio or theater. In 2012, inductees will include actors Bruce Boxleitner and the late Fess Parker. The Hall of Great Westerners is honoring Temple Grandin, PhD, who revolutionized the cattle industry, and the late Western historian Walter Prescott Webb, PhD. Texas spur maker Jerry Cates will posthumously receive the Chester A. Reynolds Memorial Award, named after the Museum’s founder.
Major sponsors for the 2012 Western Heritage Awards are ConocoPhillips and Wrangler, with additional support from Museum Partners Devon Energy Corporation, Chesapeake Energy Corporation and the E.L. and Thelma Gaylord Foundation in cooperation with Museum support from The Oklahoman.
Reservations are required for Jingle-Jangle Mingle and the Western Heritage Awards Banquet. Information and reservations are available at www.nationalcowboymuseum.org or by calling (405) 478-2250, Ext. 219.
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