Candy Moulton: Reading the West 3-26-12 |

Candy Moulton: Reading the West 3-26-12

Candy Moulton
Encampment, Wyo.

Santa Fe author Johnny D. Boggs won Spur Awards for his long and short novels, while Salt Lake City poet and fiction writer Rod Miller also won two Spurs this year for poetry and a short story.

Colorado Songwriter Jon Chandler claimed his third Spur award for his Song, “Morning Star Moon.” He had previously won Spur awards for Best First Novel and Western Song.

Winners in 17 categories were announced this week by Spur Awards Chair Eli Paul.

Boggs will carry home Spurs for his novels “Legacy of a Lawman” (Five Star Publishing) and “West Texas Kill” (Pinnacle/Kensington). He has previously won four Spur Awards for adult and juvenile novels and a short story. This year’s wins put him up with Richard S. Wheeler of Livingston, Mont., as the two living authors with the most Spur Awards. They both have six.

Miller’s poem “Tabula Rasa” published by Port Yonder Press earned him a Spur, and he picks up the second one for his short fiction story “The Death of Delgado” (Western Fictioneers). The competition in both categories was particularly strong this year and a second Spur Award in the Short Fiction Story category will be awarded to Texas writer Clay Reynolds for “The Deacon’s Horse.” 

The Nickelodeon Movies film, “Rango” earned a Spur for screenwriter John Logan, while Director Cindy Meehl and Producer Julie Goldman (Cedar Creek Productions) will receive the Spur in the Documentary Script category for “Buck,” a film about the legendary horseman Buck Brannaman.

Since 1953, Western Writers of America ( has promoted and honored the best in Western literature with the annual Spur Awards, selected by panels of judges. Awards, for material published last year, are given for works whose inspiration, image and literary excellence best represent the reality and spirit of the American West. Previous winners include Thomas Powers, Lucia St. Clair Robson and Nancy Plain.

Winners and finalists will be honored June 12-16 at the WWA Convention in Albuquerque, N.M.

Stephen Harrigan of Austin, Texas, won for Best Western Long Novel with “Remember Ben Clayton” (Alfred A. Knopf). This is his third Spur having previously won for a novel and a drama script.

In the nonfiction categories David L. Bigler of Roseville, Calif., and Will Bagley of Salt Lake City, Utah won the Spur for Best Historical Nonfiction with “Mormon Rebellion: America’s First Civil War 1857-1858.” Paul Andrew Hutton of Albuquerque, N.M., takes home his fifth Spur Award for his Short Nonfiction Article, “The Alamo, Well Remembered” published by Wild West Magazine. His prior Spurs were for his biography of Philip Sheridan and three documentary film scripts.


Stephen Harrigan. Remember Ben Clayton, Alfred A. Knopf


Thomas Fox Averill, Rode, University of New Mexico Press

James Lee Burke, Feast Day of Fools, Simon & Schuster



Johnny D. Boggs, Legacy of a Lawman, Five Star Publishing


Joe Henry. Lime Creek, Random House

Alan C. Huffines, Killed by Indians 1871, Texas Wesleyan University Press


Johnny D. Boggs, West Texas Kill, Pinnacle Books/Kensington


Cameron Judd, The Long Hunt, Signet/Penguin

Dusty Richards, Between Hell and Texas, Pinnacle Books/Kensington


Meg Mims, Double Crossing, Astraea Press


Tammy Hinton, Unbridled, Roots & Branches/AWOC Publishing

Stephen B. Smart, Whispers of the Greybull, High Mule Publishing


David L. Bigler and Will Bagley, The Mormon Rebellion, University of Oklahoma Press


Paul L. Hedren, After Custer, University of Oklahoma Press

Richard White, Railroaded, W.W. Norton & Company


Frederick H. Swanson, The Bitterroot and Mr. Brandborg, University of Utah Press


Jim Kristofic, Navajos Wear Nikes, University of New Mexico Press

Rachel St. John, Line in the Sand, Princeton University Press


Paul Magid, George Crook, University of Oklahoma Press


Louis Kraft, Ned Wynkoop and the Lonely Road from Sand Creek, University of Oklahoma Pres

Richard D. White, Jr. Will Rogers: A Political Life, Texas Tech University Press

Winner: (TIE)

Rod Miller, “The Death of Delgado,” Western Fictioneers

Clay Reynolds, “The Deacon’s Horse,” Ink Brush Press


Shann Ray, “The Great Divide,” Graywolf Press


Paul Andrew Hutton, “The Alamo, Well Remembered,” Wild West Magazine


John R. Wunder, “That No Thorn Will Pierce Our Friendship,” Western Historical Quarterly

Mark Dworkin, “The Wild West’s Premier Mythmaker,” Wild West Magazine


Candace Simar, Birdie, North Star Press of St. Cloud


Johnny D. Boggs, South by Southwest, Five Star Publishing/Gale

Nancy Oswald, Rescue in Poverty Gulch, Filter Press


Don Nardo, Migrant Mother, Compass Point Books/Capstone


Jean A. Lukesh, Wolves in Blue, Field Mouse Productions

Linda L. Osmundson, How the West Was Drawn, Pelican Publishing


John Logan, Rango, Nickelodeon Movies


Jonathan Raymond, Meek’s Cut-Off

Miguel Barros, Blackthorn, Rogue Pictures


Cindy Meehl, Director, and Julie Goldman, Producer, Buck, Cedar Creek Productions

No finalists


Bryan Langdo, Tornado Slim and the Magic Cowboy Hat, Marshall Cavendish


Mary Casanova. The Day Dirk Yeller Came to Town, Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Mary Dodson Wade, Henrietta King, Bright Sky Press


Rod Miller, “Tabula Rasa,” Port Yonder Press


Floyd Collins, “What Harvest: Poems on the Siege & Battle of the Alamo,” Somondoco Press

Larry D. Thomas, “The Red, Candle-lit Darkness,” El Grito del Lobo Press

No Award Given


Jon Chandler. “Morning Star Moon,” Western Dog Publishing


Wylie Gustafson, “Raven on the Wind,” Two Medicine Music

Bob Thomas, “The Cowboy,” Easy Bob Music

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