It may be the 60th, but there are lots of new and exciting additions to the Annual Western Heritage Awards this year. Held at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, the awards honor individuals who have made significant contributions to Western heritage or share the great stories of the American West through creative works in literature, music, television and film. After being postponed in 2020, the event is returning in-person on September 17-18, 2021, recognizing honorees and inductees from both 2020 and 2021. Among the inductees being honored this year are Academy Award winner Robert Duvall and country music singer George Strait.
About Robert Duvall
Veteran actor and director Robert Duvall will receive the 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award for his significant career portraying strong characters, many of which promoted the image of the American West. Perhaps his most notable Western role was his triumphant characterization of grizzled Texas Ranger Gus McCrae in the TV mini-series Lonesome Dove in 1989, for which he received an Emmy nomination.
About George Strait
Singer and songwriter George Strait will receive the 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award. Strait has sold more than 84 million albums and counting while earning more than 60 major entertainment industry awards as well as countless nominations. Strait is the only act in history to have a Top 10 hit every year for over three decades. With 33 different Platinum or multi-Platinum albums, he’s earned the third-most certifications of any artist in any genre, following only The Beatles and Elvis Presley. Strait has more No. 1 songs than any other artist in history (including Elvis), with a total of 60.
Each award winner and inductee will receive a Wrangler, an impressive bronze sculpture of a cowboy on horseback created by Oklahoma artist Harold T. Holden, a 2017 Hall of Great Westerners inductee. New this year, both Lifetime Achievement Award honorees will also receive a commemorative three-piece Western buckle set created by Traditional Cowboy Arts Association silversmiths Scott Hardy and Beau Compton.
New Awards Luncheon
Also new this year, awards for individuals in the literature and music categories will be recognized at the Western Heritage Awards luncheon on Friday, September 17 at 11:30 a.m., with actors Rachel Cannon and Rex Linn as emcees. Linn will also emcee the Saturday evening award ceremony.
Panel Discussion and Workshop Open to the public as part of the weekend’s festivities, the Museum will host a panel discussion and workshop on Saturday, September 18, both of which are open to the public and free to Museum members or with Museum admission. The panel discussion will begin at 11 a.m. in front of the famed End of the Trail sculpture and will offer visitors a chance to interact with the honorees.
The workshop will take place from 12:30-1:30 p.m. and will feature members of the Chickasaw Nation discussing the differences in producing a feature film verses a documentary. This workshop will show clips from two films, Montford: The Chickasaw Rancher and Montford Johnson: An Original Brand. Montford T. Johnson is a 2020 Hall of Great Westerners inductee.
Due to the overwhelming support of our Inductees, Honorees, their families and sponsors, tickets to the 2021 Western Heritage Awards Induction Ceremony are sold out, but tickets for a special livestream remote dinner held in the Museum’s Annie Oakley Center are available for purchase and include access to the cocktail reception preceding the induction ceremony, Saturday, September 18. Tickets are also available for the Awards Luncheon Friday, September 17.
The Museum will close to the general public at 4 p.m. on both Friday, September 17 and Saturday, September 18.
The full list of Western Heritage Honorees and Inductees for 2020 and 2021 are listed below. For more information about the 2021 Western Heritage Awards, ticket purchases or events open to Museum visitors, visit nationalcowboymuseum.org/western-heritage-awards.
The 60th Annual Western Heritage Awards supporting sponsors are Arvest Bank, The Chickasaw Nation, Cresap Family Foundation, Wrangler and Mr. and Mrs. Lenny Sadler. Promoting sponsors are Hall Capital, Fred Jones Family Foundation and Greg and Bekki Kowalski.