While I have read the work of many members of the Western Writers Hall of Fame, most lived and many died before my time, so I never knew, or even met them.
Last year, Western Writers of America inducted recipients of the Owen Wister Award—and its predecessor, the Saddleman Award—honors recognizing lifetime achievement—into the Western Writers Hall of Fame. Many so honored have passed on. But some are still among us, and still writing.
So, I have now met several Hall of Famers. I know (or knew) some fairly well. And I have had the pleasure of working with a couple of them, as editors.
In no particular order the Hall of Famers I have known to some extent are Judy Alter, Win Blevins, Don Coldsmith, Robert Conley, Jim Crutchfield, David Dary, Loren Estleman, Max Evans, Bill Gulick, Elmer Kelton, Leon Metz, Jory Sherman, Robert Utley, and Dale Walker.
A fine group of writers, and every one worthy of the recognition they have received and then some. I admire their work and I admire (or admired) them personally. Knowing them is as close to greatness as I will come as a writer.
Stuart Rosebrook and I wrote an article profiling these and other Hall of Fame inductees for the current issue of Ranch & Reata magazine. You’ll want a copy. (http://www.ranchandreata.com/)
(The Hall of Fame induction ceremony photo belongs to future Hall-of-Famer Johnny Boggs.)