Kirkpatrick, Bell Named Recipients of 2024 WRMA Honors

Will Rogers Gold Medallion

The Will Rogers Medallion Award program is proud to recognize Kirkpatrick and Bell’s generous contribution to the Western genre. Their work is inspired and worthy of celebration.”

— Chris Enss, Executive Director of the Will Rogers Medallion Award

GRASS VALLEY, CA, UNITED STATES, January 29, 2024 / — New York Times best-selling and award-winning author Jane Kirkpatrick and western author, artist and editor Bob Boze Bell of True West magazine will be honored this fall by the Will Rogers Medallion Award (WRMA) with the organization’s Lifetime Achievement and Golden Lariat awards, respectively.

Named in honor of Oklahoma native and American humorist, social commentator and performer Will Rogers (1879–1935), the WRMA annually recognizes outstanding creative works and authors devoted to chronicling the legacy of the American West and its peoples. The Lifetime Achievement Award honors the exemplary careers of creators whose works embody the western spirit. The Golden Lariat is given to individuals for support of WRMA and its goals.

Kirkpatrick’s 40-plus books have sold more than two million copies and have earned prestigious national writing awards, including the Wrangler Award from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, the WILLA Literary Award from Women Writing the West, the Carol Award from American Christian Fiction Writers and five Will Rogers Medallion Awards, the majority for inspirational fiction. Her fact-based historical novels address such timeless western themes as hardiness, faith, commitment, hope, and love.

Bell developed a fascination with the American west as a child growing up in Arizona and reading True West magazine, which he later acquired in 1999 and still publishes today. In 1992 he wrote, illustrated and published The Illustrated Life & Times of Billy the Kid, the first of his 10 books, all based on western historical themes. He has been an active supporter and promoter of WRMA and its programs.

WRMA Executive Director Chris Enss said, “The Will Rogers Medallion Award program is proud to recognize Kirkpatrick and Bell’s generous contribution to the Western genre. Their work is inspired and worthy of celebration.”

The Lifetime Achievement and Golden Lariat awards will be presented October 19 in the Fort Worth Stockyards district when WRMA holds its annual awards banquet. Each year WRMA gold, silver and bronze medallions are presented to authors, poets, songwriters and filmmakers in 20-plus categories in recognition of outstanding works portraying the American West and its peoples.

A Wisconsin native who now lives in Oregon, Kirkpatrick graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in communications and public address and later earned a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in clinical social work. Prior to her writing career, she worked with Native American families on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation in Central Oregon as a mental health and early childhood specialist.

Kirkpatrick’s additional writing honors include a Lifetime Achievement Award from Romantic Times, the Caldera Achievement Award from the Nature of Words, and the Distinguished Northwest Writer recognition from the Willamette Writers Association.

Born in Iowa, Bob Boze Bell moved to Arizona before he was a year old and grew up along Route 66. After graduating from high school in Kingman, he majored in art at the University of Arizona in Tucson, enhancing his youthful talent in illustrating. In addition to his work for True West, Bell’s art and writing have appeared in Arizona Highways, New Times, Playboy, Wild West, and National Lampoon.

Additionally, Bell has illustrated numerous book and CD covers and has appeared as a western authority on western-themed programs on the History Channel, Discovery Channel and the Westerns Channel. He is known as a proponent of all things western both in his professional and personal life.

Through its awards program, WRMA seeks to encourage, enhance and expand creative works devoted to the deep legacy of the American West. Additional information on WRMA and its award programs is available from Executive Director Enss at [email protected].

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