I’m back from the Western Heritage Awards Ceremony at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City this past weekend and I’m still savoring the event. The museum is a first class outfit in every way. The exhibits are breath-taking and really do cover the entire Western experience, far beyond just cowboy history, although they’ve got plenty of that, too! The ceremony was pretty amazing, with Jumbotrons and such. I got to perform our award-winning song and managed to get through it without forgetting anything or choking. I didn’t realize that Taylor Sheridan and Kurt Russell were both at the front table right at my feet. Probably just as well, I might have let that distract me. Taylor and Kurt…that’s what I call them- they call me “and who are you again?”…both gave really gracious and respectful acceptance speeches.

It was quite the experience to be amongst a number of famous folks but beyond that, it was just amazing to be in the presence of the many talented recipients. The documentary winner, Home From School: The Children of Carlisle, was incredibly impressive as were multiple other winners too numerous to mention. It’s a humbling experience to be among all those talented folks.

This is my third Wrangler Award but the first time I’ve been able to attend. I have to say that actually being there changed my feelings and perceptions about it. It’s hard to accept the fact that you are there along with other folks who are the cream of the crop in the Western Arts and that’s because the powers that be believe you are part of that “crop.” I’m really proud of our song and it’s a privilege and an honor to work with Deanna and Dave McCall. It takes some getting used to, though, to wrap my head around being part of that crowd.

These are the things I know…my take-aways from the experience. First, however good my artistic works are, there are SO many that are better. That helps keep me humble. Second, whatever talent I might have, it is a combination of a fluke of genetics along with whatever blessing from a higher power there might be. I get no credit for that. What I am proud of is the fact that whatever successes I’ve had, they’re a reflection of the hard work I put in. I do get credit for that although I share it with my parents, who taught me the value of hard work. I’m not in competition with all those other amazing artists; I’m in competition with myself. My challenge is to be better today than I was yesterday and to be better tomorrow than I am today. Talent gets you in the game, hard work gets you down the road towards success, however the heck you define it.

I’ve enjoyed the glow, now it’s time to get back to work. If you’d like to watch the Award Ceremony, you can do it at the link below.


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