It is with great pride that I announce my article "Texas Jack Takes an Encore" has been awarded the 2023 Spur Award from the Western Writers of America (WWA) for Best Western Short Nonfiction. This is a tremendous honor and a validation of the interest Texas Jack still commands when presented to western audiences.
On February 22, the same article was announced as the winner of this year’s Western Heritage Award for Outstanding Magazine Article by the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Museum. I was amazed to learn that this marks the first time that an individual has won both prestigious awards for short nonfiction since 1983.
"Texas Jack Takes an Encore," explores the fascinating life of John B. Omohundro, better known as Texas Jack, a legendary figure in Western history and the man at the foundation of our cowboy mythology. His unique place in both Western and pop culture history makes him a fascinating subject to research and write about, and I am glad that my work contributes in a meaningful way to some renewed interest in his story.
I am incredibly humbled to have the WWA include my article alongside Patrick H. Hoehne's "Apostles of Disorder: Montana Merchants, Vigilantes, and the Interconnectivity of Extralegal Violence" in Montana The Magazine of Western History and W.K. Stratton's "A Sacred Refuge" in Texas Highways magazine. To be included in such esteemed company is a great honor and further proof of the vibrancy and quality of Western writing.
As someone who has long been passionate about the American West and its rich history, this award is truly meaningful to me. It is a recognition of the importance of preserving and sharing the stories that make up our cultural heritage and a reminder of the power of good storytelling.
I am grateful to the Western Writers of America for this honor and for the support of Wild West magazine in publishing my work. I hope this award will inspire others to continue exploring and celebrating the unique and fascinating world of the American West.
In addition to Texas Jack Takes an Encore, Spur Award winners this year include:
Biography: Before Billy the Kid: The Boy Behind the Legendary Outlaw by Melody Groves (TwoDot).
Children’s Picture Book: The Rowdy Randy Wild West Show: The Legend Behind the Legend by author Casey Day Rislov and illustrator Zachary Pullen (Mountain Stars Press).
Contemporary Nonfiction Book: A Place of Thin Veil: Life and Death in Gallup, New Mexico by Bob Rosebrough (Rio Nuevo Publishers).
Contemporary Novel: Beasts of the Earth by James Wade (Blackstone Publishing).
Documentary Script: The Battle of Red Buttes by Candy Moulton and Bob Noll (Boston Productions Inc./National Historic Trails Interpretive Center).
First Nonfiction Book: American Hero, Kansas Heritage: Frederick Funston’s Early Years, 1865-1890 by Clyde W. Toland (Flint Hills Publishing).
Historical Novel: Properties of Thirst by Marianne Wiggins (Simon & Schuster).
Juvenile Nonfiction Book: American Ace: Joe Foss, Fighter Pilot by Hector Curriel (South Dakota Historical Society Press).
Juvenile Fiction: Wish Upon a Crawdad by Curtis W. Condon (Heart of Oak Books for Young Readers).
Original Mass-Market Paperback Novel: Dead Man’s Trail by Nate Morgan (Pinnacle/Kensington).
Poem: “New Mexico Bootheel: A Triptych” by Larry D. Thomas (San Pedro River Review).
Short Nonfiction: “Texas Jack Takes an Encore” by Matthew Ross Kerns (Wild West).
Traditional Novel: The Secret in the Wall: A Silver Rush Mystery by Ann Parker (Poisoned Pen Press).