Kevin Costner, Reba’s dad, Michael Martin Murphey, and Red Steagall are among the honorees at the 2019 Western Heritage Awards in Oklahoma City.
The evening of April 13 saw a star-studded record crowd of more than 1,200 people attending the 59th annual Western Heritage Awards in Oklahoma City.
The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum presents the bronze Wrangler annually to honor excellence in Western music, film, TV, and literature, as well as recognizing inductees into the Hall of Great Westerners, the Hall of Great Western Performers, and the recipient of the Chester A. Reynolds Memorial Award, named for the museum’s founder.
Kevin Costner accepted the award inducting him into the prestigious Hall of Great Western Performers from the evening’s emcee, actor Rex Linn, who co-starred with the two-time Oscar winner in three films, including Wyatt Earp.
During his almost four decades making films, the Dances with Wolves actor-director has made more than 50 movies. Costner is currently starring in the contemporary western series Yellowstone, which picked up a Wrangler in the film and television category and is set to return for a second season on June 19 on the Paramount Network.
“I love making Westerns,” Costner said. “I know who I am more than any other time in my life when I’m making ’em. I understand their importance to our culture and the emotional impact, when done correctly, on men, on women, on 7-year-olds. I feel deeply committed to our collective story and the importance of bringing it to the screen. Westerns are not simple, and the resourcefulness that it took for our ancestors to make it is not something to be taken for granted.”
Twelve-time Wrangler Award winner Red Steagall presented the Hall of Great Westerners induction of Clark Vincent McEntire, father of Reba McEntire. The McEntire family was on hand to bask in a standing ovation and accept the posthumous honor for the rancher, Pro Rodeo Hall of Famer, and three-time world champion steer roper, who died in 2014.
It wasn’t the only time Steagall was onstage: The actor, musician, poet, and stage performer also accepted his own award for Western Lifestyle Program for Red Steagall Is Somewhere West of Wall Street. He was joined by his team, including the show’s executive producer, Gregory L. Brown, publisher of Cowboys & Indians magazine.
For his nearly 50 years of creating Western music, Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Michael Martin Murphey received the Lifetime Achievement Award. “In the Old West, songs were shared by pioneers, cattlemen, ranchers, painted ladies, and even gunslingers as a way of keeping the West alive,” he said in a release before the ceremony. “I have always been drawn to songs about the love of the land, the strength of the prairie folks, the dusty trails, the mythic tales, and the legends of a bygone era. I have always admired Westerners for their stubborn determination and deep love of life. That’s what I celebrate in my music.”
Murphey spoke later to C&I about the honor: “The Wrangler Awards is the best managed, most authentic awards celebration in America,” he said. “It’s much more than celebrity and glamour; it’s about recognition of artistic commitment and excellence in telling the compelling story of the United States of America moving west — past, present, and future.”
Here’s the complete list of 2019’s Western Heritage Awards honorees.
Hall of Great Western Performers Inductees
Howard Keel (1919 – 2014)
Hall of Great Westerners Inductees
Clark McEntire (1927 – 2004)
George McJunkin (1851 – 1922)
Chester A. Reynolds Award Recipient
Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient
Michael Martin Murphey
Film & Television Awards
Fictional Drama: “A Monster Is Among Us,” Yellowstone, S1, E7, starring Kevin Costner, directed and written by Taylor Sheridan, produced by Paramount Network
Western Lifestyle Program: Red Steagall Is Somewhere West of Wall Street, starring Red Steagall, produced by West of Wall Street Film Co.
Theatrical Motion Picture: Ballad of Buster Scruggs, starring Tim Blake Nelson, directed and written by Ethan and Joel Coen, produced by Netflix
Documentary: UmoNhoN Iye the Omaha Speaking, directed and written by Brigitte Timmerman, produced by Range Films, LLC
Western Novel: The Hunger by Alma Katsu, published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Nonfiction Book: The Woolly West: Colorado’s Hidden History of Sheepscapes, by Andrew Gulliford, published by Texas A&M University Press
Art/Photography Book: Living Beneath the Colorado Peaks: The Story of Knapp Ranch, by Betsy Knapp, Bud Knapp, and Sarah Chase Shaw, illustrated by Todd Winslow Pierce, published by Knapp Press
Juvenile Book: Hardscrabble, by Sandra Dallas, published by Sleeping Bear Press
Magazine Article: “Long Live the King,” Western Horseman, by Christine Hamilton, Ross Hecox, and Susan Morrison, published by Ernie King
Poetry Book: Landscapes With Horses, by Mark Sanders, illustrated by Charles D. Jones, published by Stephen F. Austin State University Press
Original Western Composition: Frontier Symphony, recording artists Jeff Lippencott with the 46onier Festival Orchestra, composed by Jeff Lippencott
Traditional Western Album: Sunset on the Rio Grande Revisited, recording artist Syd Masters
New Horizon: “I’ll Ride Through It,” recording artist Deanna McCall, produced by Randy Huston and Jim Jones
Watch the Western Heritage Awards ceremony here.