Skip to content

Applications are currently closed

Award Guidelines

Please read important information below for all categories to be considered:

  • Entries for the competition are accepted by digital copy.
  • If you are unable to provide a digital copy, please email
  • Digital copies by link should be submitted to the online portal.
  • All information provided must be accurate.
  • Items submitted for judging will not be returned.
  • There is no limitation on the number of creative works an individual can submit. An individual may submit multiple entries as long as the submissions are different creative works. However, the same title cannot be submitted for judging in multiple categories.

Please see entry payment information below:

  • A $50 entry fee is required for each individual entry in each category.
  • Payment is due upon submission of entry. Please fill out credit card information online.

Music Entry Guidelines
Any individual or organization may enter original Western compositions or traditional Western albums. The original album copyright date must be between January 1, 2023, and December 31, 2023, and postmarked by December 31, 2023, in the appropriate music category. The entry’s theme should relate to the American West and/or the Western experience in the traditional cowboy music genre, which is not necessarily synonymous with “country” music. Music videos are not eligible.

Category Definitions
Original Western Composition – Any recorded and released original musical composition never previously recorded in any other form or interpretation. Scores from film or television productions are also eligible. The lyrics/music must focus on Western ideals or the American cowboy and can be composed with any instrument(s). Wrangler Award recipients are the recording artist and the writer/ composer.

Traditional Western Music Album – A released recording of traditional Western and/or cowboy folk songs. An album must be submitted in its entirety as one entry. Copyright eligibility required.

Literary Entry Guidelines
Any individual or organization may enter Western-themed publications, originally copyrighted between December 1, 2022, and November 30, 2023, in the appropriate category and postmarked by November 30, 2023. The entry’s subject matter or theme in all literary categories should relate to the American West and/or the Western experience. Vanity press manuscripts are eligible in all book categories. Entries will be evaluated on scholarship, organization, interpretation, presentation, quality of writing, and illustration when applicable. Fiction, Juvenile, and Poetry entries will be evaluated on originality and creativity, and faithfulness to the facts, legends, and/or mythology of the West.

Definition of Categories
Western Novel – Includes genre and mainstream, historical, and contemporary fictional or fictionalized book-length works that could not have taken place in any part of the country but the West.

Nonfiction Book – Includes both scholarly and popular Western theme works, general or biographical, contemporary or historical, based upon research and/or personal experience. If 10 or more biographies should be entered in one year, a separate biographical category may be designated.

Photography or Art Book – Concerned primarily with artistic works pertaining to the West or the Western experience. Merchandise catalogs are not eligible for entry.

Juvenile Book – A book of fiction or non-fiction with a Western theme intended for young readers up to age 12.

Magazine or Journal Article – A nonfiction article or essay on a Western theme published in a commercial or literary North American publication. Articles published in a periodical must be submitted with five copies or digital copy of the entire issue. Tear sheets or photo copies will not be accepted.

Poetry Book – A book of at least 10 separate poems, rhymed or unrhymed, with a Western theme that reflects the cowboy, frontier life, and/or the Native American culture in the West. A compilation of poems must contain at least two originals and the book must meet copyright requirements.

Guidelines For Television and Film Entries
Any individual or organization may enter Western productions originally released or aired between January 1, 2023, and December 31, 2023, and postmarked by December 31, 2023, in the appropriate television or film category. The entry’s subject matter or theme should relate to the American West and/or the Western experience. The winner of each category will be required to supply a broadcast-quality DVD or digital copy by link of the winning entry (non-returnable). Clips from the winning entries, no longer than one minute in length, will be shown publicly during the Awards Ceremony on April 13, 2024, and may be included in subsequent televised broadcast of the 2023 Western Heritage Awards.

Definition of Categories
Theatrical Motion Picture – A feature-length film shown to the public on the big screen or released to the public on DVD. Film must have been released for public viewing. Premier showings qualify.

Television Feature Film – A feature-length production made for television. This includes made-for- television movies, miniseries (all parts as one entry) or other presentations more than one hour in length and considered to be a complete work, rather than episodic.

Fictional Drama – A dramatic film or television production, up to 60 minutes in length. This drama can be, but not necessarily, of an episodic nature.

Docudrama – A dramatization of actual historical events, factual or based on factual events. All lengths are acceptable for entries of film or television.

Documentary – Factual or based on factual events, it is a presentation of the realities of a historical event, people, and places. All lengths are acceptable for entries of film or television. This category includes Factual Narrative.

Western Lifestyle – A visual or audio production made for broadcasting or streaming that features a program focused on the evolving history and culture of the American West. The production may include news, reality, or educational content. All lengths are acceptable.

Applications are currently closed

Stay Connected

Sign up for our e-newsletter