Since 2004, the National Day of the Cowboy has been celebrated on the fourth Saturday of July across North America. Each year, some of the nation’s cowboys and cowgirls are selected to be honored nationally for their unique way of preserving cowboy culture.
This year the awards are especially exciting for the Latter-day Saints, as two Mormon cowboys have been selected as honorees.
Artist and rodeo pioneer Earl W. Bascom was born in Vernal, Utah but raised in Canada. He will be recognized for his pioneering work in rodeo. Some of his important rodeo inventions include the one-hand bareback rigging, the hornless bronc saddle, and the modern rodeo bucking chute—inventions that are still used in rodeos today.
Bascom is also a talented western artist and sculptor, earning him the title of the first professional rodeo cowboy to become a professional cowboy artist and sculptor.
Brother Bascom has also served as a Bishop and Stake Patriarch.
Andy Nelson, the second Mormon honoree, will be recognized for his work as a cowboy poet. Nelson used to shoe horses when he was in college, but now he travels around the western states performing cowboy poetry and humor. He and his brother run a popular radio show called Clear Out West, and has won the Western Music Association Male Poet of the Year Award as well as the Humor Award from the Academy of Western Artists.
Congrats two these two accomplished Mormon cowboys! They will be given the 2014 Cowboy Keeper Award during the festivities of National Day of the Cowboy on Saturday, July 26.