Alice’s note: This story first appeared in my blog The Bright Lights of Muleshoe on October 28, 2023. I was honored to accept an award for my book from the Will Rogers Medallion Awards organization, my fifteen minutes of fame in the publishing world!
I traveled to Fort Worth, Texas, last weekend to receive a Will Rogers Medallion for my second book, Adventures Down the Texas Rabbit Hole. I can now say I am an award-winning author. How cool is that!
It was suggested to me by Natalie Bright, a 2022 medallion winner, that I enter my second book, Adventures Down the Texas Rabbit Hole, in the Will Rogers Medallion Award competition because it has a variety of stories about Texas, certainly a part of the wild west in the United States. From the twenty-two categories in the contest, I entered in the Western Photographic Essay division and was a winner.
The Will Rogers Medallion Award is a respected book award program that, according to their press release, recognizes excellence in creative literature about the American West that focuses on the American values typical of the awards’ namesake, Will Rogers, who died in 1935 and captured the American people with his simple, down-home, common sense way of life. In the photographic essay division, i was awarded the bronze medal for outstanding non-fiction stories and photographs to illustrate those stories. I was surprised and excited when my name was announced.
I drove to Fort Worth on Friday, October 20, the day before the banquet, to the Aloft Hotel so I would be there in time for the Meet and Greet that night. I had a little time to kill before that would start, so I drove down to the Stockyards, just down the street, more or less, from the hotel. I only stayed about an hour, but checked out a few stores and wandered down the deserted lanes and pens where the animals would have been kept back in the day. Notice the bricks paving the floor; they were throughout the entire stockyards, even the streets running through the whole thing.
Back at the hotel, I went to the Meet and Greet. Lots of boots and cowboy hats, appropriately, since this is in the middle of Cow Town, and the awards celebrate Western literature.
The books being honored were set up on a table for display. I had on my boots and jeans, but didn’t look very much like a cowgirl.
I met Dani Nichols whose Western Non-Fiction/Young Readers/ Illustrated book was also up for an award.
Chris Enss, the Executive Director of the Will Rogers Medallion Awards, welcomed everyone to the event and then introduced Craig Johnson, the author of the Longmire stories which have been made into a television series, and who would receive the Golden Lariat Award this year, kept us well-entertained with a few stories and talking about Western literature in today’s world.
The next day Erin Liles, my editor, who happens to be my daughter-in-law, drove up for the day. The first event was the panel discussion with editors and representatives from publishing houses and magazines who talked about the current trends in the field and marketing of books. We both found it interesting and helpful.
The banquet was to be at Cooper’s Barbecue at the Stockyards-yes, the same Cooper’s from Llano, so Erin and I went on down to see more of the Stockyards since we would be going down there later anyway.
We managed to get there in time to see “the herd,” as they call it, mosey down the street for all the tourists to see. We know what longhorn cattle look like, but I suppose tourists visiting from elsewhere don’t, so that seems to be a popular attraction.
Later we walked by the longhorns getting a snack for their performance.
After a little shopping and dodging people, we walked back to Cooper’s for the banquet. Shane Clous sang country songs as we enjoyed the meal.
Then it was time for the awards. Each category was described and winners for the three medals were announced. Erin took this picture as I was receiving the award. It was appropriate for her to be there for the festivities since her editing always helps me be a better writer.
An official photographer was taking pictures all night, and I will get a link to those pictures, sometime soon, I hope. But for now, this is it.Whenever the link shows up, I will share some of those with you.
I was pleased that the book was recognized, was glad Erin was there to see that her work paid off, and enjoyed the night. The book cover will now come with an image of the medallion on it, and I am proud of that.
It was an eventful weekend.
Thanks to Erin for being there with me, and thanks to the judges that liked my book.
To red more about the Will Rogers Medallion organization and see all the categories and winners, go to:
To read the story with all the pictures, including some of the Stockyards, go to www.aliceliles.com .
Muleshoe Journal Columnist