An­schutz, Corbin, oth­ers hon­ored

The Oklahoman (Sunday) - - NEWS - Brandy McDon­nell bm­c­don­nell@ oklahoman. com

Di­a­monds twin­kled with turquoise, cow­boy boots matched with tuxe­dos — and ev­ery­thing else — and Western­ers from all walks of life gath­ered Satur­day night at the Na­tional Cow­boy & Western Her­itage Mu­seum.

The hon­orees at the 58th An­nual Western Her­itage Awards ranged from en­trepreneurs and a chart-top­ping mu­si­cian to a jour­ney­man far­rier and an Emmy-nom­i­nated screen icon.

“We want to honor and in­duct those folks that have made a vis­i­ble pres­ence to the preser­va­tion of the West and its val­ues and ideals,” said Wy­att McCrea, a mem­ber of the Na­tional Cow­boy Mu­seum’s board of di­rec­tors.

“At the same time … this is an op­por­tu­nity for people who have per­fected their craft and live it on a daily ba­sis to be re­warded as well. Where else is a sad­dle maker or a far­rier go­ing to be able to re­ceive an award of this cal­iber? It just doesn’t hap­pen, so it’s a pretty big deal for those folks, it re­ally is — and it’s a big deal for us. We’re happy to be able to rec­og­nize them as a way to help per­pet­u­ate this whole Western move­ment and keep that his­tory alive.”

Each in­ductee and award win­ner re­ceived a “Wran­gler,” a bronze sculp­ture of a cow­boy on horse­back cre­ated by Ok­la­homa artist Harold T. Holden.

Hus­band-and-wife ac­tors Sam Elliott and Katharine Ross, both mem­bers of the Hall of Great Western Per­form­ers, were the em­cees for the cer­e­mony. Elliott told

The Oklahoman he came to Ok­la­homa City to re­ceive his first Wran­gler Award back in 1976 for a TV movie called “I Will Fight No More For­ever.”

“I was there with Ben John­son and Slim Pick­ens and some of those guys from that day, so it’s been a long ex­po­sure,” said Elliott, who was fly­ing Sun­day morn­ing from OKC to Las Ve­gas to be a pre­sen­ter on Sun­day night’s Academy of Coun­try Mu­sic Awards. “I think it means so much to me per­son­ally be­cause I have a lot of her­itage from down Texas way, like for gen­er­a­tions back to the In­dian Wars.”

“I kind of came into work­ing in the ’60s and there were a lot of tele­vi­sion West­erns be­ing done at that time, and I was for­tu­nate enough to have parts in many of them,” added Ross, who went on to star­dom in films like “The Grad­u­ate,” “Butch Cas­sidy and the Sun­dance Kid” and “The Step­ford Wives.” “I’m a Western girl, and I’m very hon­ored to even be part of the people who have been in­ducted into the Great Western Per­form­ers.”

New award

Philip An­schutz, founder of The An­schutz Cor­po­ra­tion, one of the largest pri­vately held com­pa­nies in the United States, re­ceived the in­au­gu­ral Western Vi­sion­ary Award. The Den­ver-based en­treprenuer, whom Forbes named last year “one of the 100 great­est liv­ing busi­ness minds,” has been the owner of The Oklahoman Me­dia Com­pany since 2011.

The crowd of about 900 people gave An­schutz a stand­ing ova­tion.

“As a stu­dent in col­lege, I al­ways had a com­mit­ment to Western cul­ture, Western art and par­tic­u­larly Western his­tory. As an adult, I’ve spent my busi­ness ca­reer work­ing on com­pa­nies and in in­dus­tries that have al­ways been firmly rooted in the West, of­ten com­pa­nies that are quite his­toric in na­ture and have been in the West for many, many years. I tell you these things be­cause I be­lieve all of us in this room have a com­mon bond, and that is we’re fas­ci­nated by the lure and the love of the Amer­i­can West,” said An­schutz, who in­tro­duced his wife of 50 years, Nancy, while ac­cept­ing the award.

The Western Vi­sion­ary Award rec­og­nizes an in­di­vid­ual who has made a sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion and na­tional im­pact in pre­serv­ing and pro­tect­ing Western her­itage and its ideals. It isn’t meant to be an an­nual award but rather one given only when war­ranted.

“It’s meant to rec­og­nize some­body of na­tional sig­nif­i­cance that is put for­ward by the mu­seum board or the staff,” said McCrea, the Western Her­itage Com­mit­tee chair­man. “The Philip An­schutzes of the world ... and people of that promi­nence, they get a lot of awards, but noth­ing re­ally in their ef­forts to­wards what they’ve done to help pre­serve the West and the Western life­style. We felt like it was im­por­tant to be able to have the abil­ity to rec­og­nize those folks at that level, with some­thing a lit­tle more spe­cial than our nor­mal an­nual awards.”

Randy Cate, a far­rier renowned for his skill at treat­ing horses’ hooves, was hon­ored with the 2018 Chester A. Reynolds Me­mo­rial Award, named for the mu­seum’s founder.

“It goes to a per­son who kind of on a daily ba­sis epit­o­mizes the Western val­ues and in­tegrity ... and not nec­es­sar­ily through films or be­com­ing a prom­i­nent banker or some­thing of that na­ture,” McCrea said. “He’s made his liv­ing work­ing the West, so to speak.”

The Hall of Great Western­ers gained two new mem­bers with the in­duc­tion of Jim Odle, co-founder of Su­pe­rior Live­stock, a first-of-it­skind satel­lite video cat­tle auc­tion, and the late Wal­ter Vail (1852-1906), a prom­i­nent cat­tle­man in Ari­zona and Cal­i­for­nia.

Star-stud­ded evening

The Hall of Great Western Per­form­ers also added two new mem­bers. The late Lynn An­der­son, a coun­try mu­sic star and eques­trian cham­pion who died in 2015 at age 67, was re­mem­bered for her “Coun­try­poli­tan” sound and cross­over hits like “(I Never Promised You a) Rose Gar­den,” which held the ti­tle of the big­gest-sell­ing record­ing by a fe­male coun­try artist

for 27 years.

Best known for his work on the TV se­ries “North­ern Ex­po­sure,” “Dal­las” and “Lone­some Dove,” as well as his film roles in “No Coun­try for Old Men,” “Ur­ban Cow­boy” and “War Games,” Barry Corbin, 77, was en­thu­si­as­ti­cally ush­ered into the hall by his friends Ross and Elliott. Ross told The Oklahoman, “I al­ways en­joy his work and en­joy him as a hu­man be­ing.”

“Be­ing in­ducted into the hall is the ul­ti­mate honor ... for some­body that’s spent a ca­reer kind of pro­fess­ing the cow­boy way, and I think Barry is cer­tainly that way,” added Elliott, who co-stars with Corbin, Ash­ton Kutcher and De­bra Winger on the Net­flix se­ries “The Ranch.” “That doesn’t mean that ev­ery­thing he’s ever done is a Western . ... Barry has done more work than ei­ther one of us put to­gether in terms of the sheer num­bers of jobs. But Barry has that cow­boy ethic thing. He has an in­nate good­ness in his heart ... and he’s a straight-shooter.” Corbin told The Oklahoman he con­sid­ered Satur­day’s in­duc­tion the great­est honor of his four-decade act­ing ca­reer.

“I mix it up, I some­times play a busi­ness­man or some other kind of a deal. But if I could just do West­erns I’d be happy. ... I’m a Western am­bas­sador — and I’m proud of it,” he said.

“There’s a lot of cow­boys still around, but you don’t see ‘em from the high­way. They’re off in the brush do­ing work . ... I’ve made friends at this din­ner that I never would have met oth­er­wise, like the people from the Parker Ranch in Hawaii. They hon­ored them one year. I met the fore­man and a whole bunch of the Pan­iolo (Cat­tle Co.) cow­boys, and it was just de­light­ful.”

Sights and sounds

The Western Her­itage Awards an­nu­ally cel­e­brate works in lit­er­a­ture, mu­sic, film and tele­vi­sion that add to the Western genre.

The crime drama “Wind River,” writ­ten and di­rected by Academy Award nom­i­nee Tay­lor Sheri­dan and star­ring Jeremy Ren­ner, El­iz­a­beth Olsen and Gra­ham Greene, won the 2018 Wran­gler for best the­atri­cal mo­tion pic­ture, while the “Home­com­ing” episode of the Net­flix se­ries “God­less,” writ­ten and di­rected by Os­car nom­i­nee Scott Frank, earned the tele­vi­sion award for best fic­tional drama.

Texas cow­boy singer-song­writ­ers K.R. Wood and Michael Martin Mur­phey’s song and spo­ken-word his­tory les­son “A Nickel a Head,” which Wood penned, was named the top orig­i­nal Western com­po­si­tion. It is from the al­bum “Songs and Tales of the Old Chisholm Trail,” which Wood recorded with friends like Mur­phey, Red Stea­gall and Ray Ben­son to com­mem­o­rate last year the 150th an­niver­sary of the open­ing of the Chisholm Trail.

“The his­tory of the Chisholm Trail is al­most unimag­in­ably im­por­tant . ... It is ac­tu­ally the thing that cre­ated the great Amer­i­can cow­boy and the whole myth be­hind it be­cause it was such a suc­cess­ful con­cept to round up cat­tle out on the open range and drive them to mar­kets and put them on the rail­road,” Mur­phey, a two-time Grammy nom­i­nee who has won sev­eral Wran­gler Awards, told The Oklahoman.

“It’s right down the trail of the Na­tional Cow­boy & Western Her­itage Mu­seum and what they cel­e­brate and what they do. There’s a rea­son why I come ev­ery year ... as a pre­sen­ter be­cause I love that stuff also.”


En­tre­pre­neur Philip An­schutz ac­cepts the in­au­gu­ral Western Vi­sion­ary Award on Satur­day from Gary Pier­son, pres­i­dent and CEO of The Ok­la­homa Pub­lish­ing Com­pany, and Miss Rodeo Ok­la­homa Tay­lor Spears.

Ac­tor Barry Corbin is in­ducted Satur­day into the Hall of Great Western Per­form­ers dur­ing the Na­tional Cow­boy & Western Her­itage Mu­seum’s Western Her­itage Awards.


Sam El­liot and Katharine Ross take the stage Satur­day.


From left, ac­tors Sam Elliott, Barry Corbin and Rex Linn par­tic­i­pate in a Western Her­itage Awards panel dis­cus­sion Satur­day at the Na­tional Cow­boy and Western Her­itage Mu­seum.


K.R. Wood, right, and Michael Martin Mur­phey talk on stage while re­ceiv­ing the Out­stand­ing Orig­i­nal Western Mu­sic Com­po­si­tion award.


Matthew P. Mayo ac­cepts the Western Her­itage Award Satur­day for Out­stand­ing Western Novel, for “Stranded: A Story of Sur­vival.”


Wy­att McCrea, right, and Bruce Boxleit­ner take the stage Satur­day dur­ing the Na­tional Cow­boy & Western Her­itage Mu­seum’s Western Her­itage Awards.

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