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The Spur Awards are given annually by the Western Writers of America for distinguished writing about the American West. They are among the oldest and most prestigious in American literature. In 1953, when the awards were established by WWA, western fiction was a staple of American publishing. At the time awards were given to the best western novel, best historical novel, best juvenile, and best short story.

Since then the awards have been broadened to include other types of writing about the West. Today, Spurs are offered for the best western novel (short novel), best novel of the west (long novel), best original paperback novel, best short story, best short nonfiction. Also, best contemporary nonfiction, best biography, best history, best juvenile fiction and nonfiction, best TV or motion picture drama, best TV or motion picture documentary, and best first novel (called The Medicine Pipe Bearer's Award).

2009| 2008 | 1983 to 2006 |Amazon_ Spur Award Winners 1983 to 2007 | 1953 to 1982

2009 Spur Awards Winners and Finalists Cover Art

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2009 Award Winners

Best Western Short Novel

Winner: Another Man's Moccasins: A Walt Longmire Mystery (Walt Longmire Mysteries) , Craig Johnson, Viking / Penguin

Finalists:
Dreams Beneath Your Feet (Rendezvous), Win Blevins, Forge Books / Tom Doherty

Killstraight: A Western Story (Five Star Western Series), Johnny Boggs, Five Star

Best Western Long Novel

Winner:
Shavetail: A Novel, Thomas Cobb, Scribner

Finalist:
Wolves at Our Door , J.P.S. Brown , University of New Mexico Press

Finalist:
The Long Knives are Crying (Lakota Westerns), Joseph M. Marshall III, Fulcrum Publishing

Best Original Mass Market Paperback

Winner: Trouble at the Redstone (Leisure Western) , John D. Nesbitt, Dorchester Publishing

Finalist: The Trespassers (Leisure Historical Fiction) , Andrew J. Fenady, Dorchester Publishing

Finalist: I, Quantrill , Max McCoy , Signet / NAL

Best First Novel

Winner: God's Thunderbolt: The vigilantes of Montana , Carol A. Buchanan, Book Surge, LLC

Finalist: Undiscovered Country: A Novel, Lin Enger, Little, Brown & Company

Finalist: The Buffalo Rock (A Novel) , Bob Faulkner Stand Up America, USA

Best Western Nonfiction Biography

Winner:
Frontiersman: Daniel Boone and the Making of America (Southern Biography Series), Meredith Mason Brown, Louisiana State University Press

Finalist: A Passion for Nature: The Life of John Muir , Donald Worster , Oxford University Press

Finalist: Horses That Buck: The Story of Champion Bronc Rider Bill Smith (Western Legacies) , Margot Kahn, University of Oklahoma Press
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Best Western Nonfiction Historical

Winner:
Hunting the American West: The Pursuit of Big Game for Life, Profit, and Sport from 1800-1900, Richard C. Rattenbury
Boone and Crockett Club

Finalist:
Frontier Medicine: From the Atlantic to the Pacific, 1492-1941, David Dary, Alfred A. Knopf

Finalist:
A Terrible Glory: Custer and the Little Bighorn - the Last Great Battle of the American West , James Donovan
Little, Brown & Company

Best Western Nonfiction Contemporary

Winner:
Full Court Quest: The Girls from Fort Shaw Indian School Basketball Champions of the World , Linda Peavy and Ursula Smith, University of Oklahoma Press

Finalist:
Stricken Field: The Little Bighorn Since 1876 Jerome A. Greene, University of Oklahoma Press

Finalist:
What Men Call Treasure: The Search for Gold at Victorio Peak , David Schweidel and Robert Boswell
Cinco Puntos Press

Best Western Juvenile Fiction

Winner:
I Am Apache , Tanya Landman , Candlewick Press

Finalist:
The Gold Rush Kid , Mary Waldorf, Clarion Books

Finalist:
Her Enemies, Blue & Gray , Ellen Gray Massey, Goldminds Publishing

Best Western Juvenile Nonfiction

Winner:
The Trial of Standing Bear , Frank Keating, Mike Wimmer (artist), Oklahoma Heritage Association

Finalist:
A Boy Named Beckoning: The True Story of Dr. Carlos Montezuma, Native American Hero (Exceptional Social Studies Titles for Intermediate Grades) , Gina Capaldi , Lerner Publishing

Finalist:
The Trouble Begins at 8: A Life of Mark Twain in the Wild, Wild West , Sid Fleischman, Harper Collins Children’s Books

Best Western Short Fiction Story

Winner:
“Cornflower Blue”, Susan K. Salzer, Untamed Ink, Lindenwood University

Finalist:
“Mickey Free: The Graphic Novel” , Bob Boze Bell and Paul Andrew Hutton, True West Magazine

Finalist:
“Morning War”, Cotton Smith , The Way of the West, Dorchester

Best Western Short Nonfiction

Winner:
“Owen Wister’s Paladin of the Plains: The Virginian as a Cultural Hero”, David A. Smith
South Dakota History, South Dakota State Historical Society

Finalist:
“More Real than the Indians Themselves: The Early Years of the Indian Lore Movement in the United States”
Clyde Ellis, Montana The Magazine of Western History

Finalist
“Bringing Home All the Pretty Horses: The Horse Trade & the Early American West, 1775-1825”
Dan Flores, Montana The Magazine of Western History

Storyteller Award

Winner:
The Wheat Doll, Alison L. Randall and Bill Farnsworth (artist), Peachtree Publishers

Finalist:
Daniel Boone’s Great Escape, Michael P. Spradlin, Ard Hoyt (artist), Walker & Company

Finalist:
Ten-Gallon Bart and the Wild West Show, Susan Stevens Crummel, Dorothy Donohue (artist), Marshall Cavendish Children’s Books

Best Western Drama

Winner:
None
No Winner

Finalist:
None
No Winner

Best Western Documentary

Winner:
Kit Carson, Michelle Ferrari, American Experience, WGBH

Finalist:
Buffalo Bill, Rob Rapley, American Experience, WGBH

Finalist:
A Ballad of the West, Bobby Bridger, Bridger Productions, White Coyote Music

Best Western Poem

Winner:
“The Only Good Indian”, Linda Hussa, The Black Rock Press

Finalist:
“Sometimes, in the Lucias”, Janice Gilbertson, BK Publications

Finalist:
“Steers in Summer, Lowing”, Larry D. Thomas, Rattle

Best Western Audiobook

Winner:
Vendetta Canyon, Stan Lynde, Books in Motion

Finalist:
Grasshoppers In Summer, Paul Schmelzer Writing as Paul Colt, Books in Motion

Finalist:
Letter of the Law, C.K. Crigger, Books in Motion

Best Western Song

Winner:
“Linwood” Jon Chandler, Western Dog Publishing BMI

Finalist:
“Soy Cayuse Cimarron”, Mike Blakely,Swing Rider Records

Finalist:
“Apache Kid”, Royal Wade Kimes, Blue Whistler Music

2008 Award Winners

Best Western Short Novel: Tallgrass By Sandra Dallas, St. Martin’s Press

Best Western Long Novel: The God of Animals By Aryn Kyle, Scribner

Best Original Mass Market Paperback: Hellfire Canyon By Max McCoy, Kensington/Pinnacle Books

Best First Novel: The Night Birds By Thomas Maltman, Soho Press

Best Western Nonfiction Biography: Gall: Lakota War Chief By Robert W. Larson, Univ. of Oklahoma Press

Best Western Nonfiction Historical: Creating Minnesota By Annette Atkins, MN Historical Society Press

Best Western Nonfiction Contemporary: Lone Star Lawmen: The Second Century of the Texas Rangers By Robert M. Utley, Oxford University Press

Best Western Short Fiction Story: “Crucifixion River” (Crucifixion River) By Marcia Muller & Bill Pronzini, Five Star

Best Western Short Nonfiction: “Selling the ‘Noble Savage’ Myth: George Catlin and the Iowa Indians in Europe, 1843-1845” By Joseph B. Herring, Kansas History (Winter 2007)

Best Western Juvenile Fiction: Doubtful Cañon By Johnny D. Boggs, Five Star

Best Western Juvenile Nonfiction: Sagebrush and Paintbrush: The Story of Charlie Russell, The Cowboy Artist By Nancy Plain, Mondo Publishing

Storyteller Award: No Award Given

Best Western Drama: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford By Andrew Dominik, Warner Bros. Pictures

Best Western Documentary: Maynard Dixon: Art and Spirit By Jayne McKay & Daniel Dixon, Cloud World LLC

Best Western Poem: “El Corrido de Antonio Beltran” from Open Range: Poetry of the Reimagined West By John Duncklee, Ghost Road Press

Best Western Audiobook: No Award Given

Best Western Song: “The Last Wild White Buffalo” By Mike Blakely, Quien Sabe Music/Swing Rider Records

2007

•The Night Journal by Elizabeth Crook, for Best Western Long Novel
•The Shape Shifter by Tony Hillerman, for Best Western Short Novel
•The Horse Creek Incident by Dusty Richards, for Best Original Paperback Novel
•Broken Trail by Alan Geoffrion, for Best First Novel
•Blood and Thunder by Hampton Sides, for Best Western Nonfiction Historical
•Copper Chorus by Denis Swibold, for Best Western Nonfiction Contemporary
•Crazy Horse by Kingsley M. Bray, for Best Western Nonfiction Biography
•Commanche Moon by Dusty Richards, for Best Western Short Fiction
•Geronimo by Joseph Bruchac, for Best Western Juvenile Fiction
•Bleeding Kansas and the Violent Clash Over Slavery in the Heartland by Jeff C. Young, for Best Western Juvenile Nonfiction
•Tatanka and the Lakota People by Donald Montileaux, for Best Western Storyteller
•Across the High Divide by Laurie Wagner Buyer, for Best Western Poetry

2006

•High Country by Willard Wyman, for Best Novel of the West
•High Country by Willard Wyman, for Best First Novel
•Camp Ford by Johnny Boggs, for Best Western Novel
•Dakota by Matt Braun, for Best Original Paperback Novel
•Ringside Seat to a Revolution by David Romo, for Best Western Nonfiction Contemporary
•Buffalo Bill's America by Louis S. Warren, for Best Western Nonfiction Historical
•Chief Joseph by Candy Moulton, for Best Western Nonfiction Biography
•Klondike Gold by Alice Provensen, for Best Western Storyteller
•The First Americans by Anthony Aveni, for Best Western Juvenile Nonfiction
•Black Storm Comin' by Diane Lee Wilson, for Best Western Juvenile Fiction
•Voice of the Borderlands by Drum Hadley, for Best Western Poetry

2005

•Buy the Chief a Cadillac by Rick Steber, for Best Western Novel
•People of the Raven by Kathleen O'Neal Gear, for Best Novel of the West
•Vengeance Valley by Richard S. Wheeler, for Best Original Paperback Novel
•Field of Honor by D.L. Birchfield, for Best First Novel
•Black Kettle by Thom Hatch, for Best Western Nonfiction Biography
•Beasts of the Field by Richard Street, for Best Western Nonfiction Historical
•The Texas Rangers and the Mexican Revolution by Charles Harris, for Best Western Nonfiction Contemporary
•Fire in the Hole by Mary Farrell, for Best Western Juvenile Fiction
•Rattlesnake Mesa by Edna Weber, for Best Western Juvenile Nonfiction
•A Thousand Miles of Stars by Walt McDonald, for Best Western Poetry
•Apples to Oregon by Deborah Hopkinson, for Best Western Storyteller

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2004

•On A Silver Desert by Ernest Haycox, for Best Western Nonfiction Biography
•River of Shadows by Rebecca Solnit, for Best Western Nonfiction Contemporary
•One Vast Winter Count by Colin Galloway, for Best Western Nonfiction Historical
•Company by Brian Hall, for Best Western Novel
•So Wild A Dream by Win Blevins, for Best Novel of the West
•The Sergeant's Lady by Miles Swarthout, for Best First Novel
•Plain Language by Barbara Wright, for Best Original Paperback Novel
•Words West by Ginger Wadsworth, for Best Western Juvenile Nonfiction
•In The Eye of the Storm by E. Kimmel, for Best Western Juvenile Fiction
•The Star People by S.D. Nelson, for Best Western Storyteller
•Wolf Tracks on the Welcome Matt by Paul Zarzyski, for Best Western Poetry

2003

•The Chili Queen by Sandra Dallas, for Best Western Novel
•Perma Red by Debra Earling, for Best Novel of the West
•Oblivion's Altar by David Wilkinson, for Best Original Paperback Novel
•Sam Houston by James Haley, for Best Western Nonfiction Biography
•Blood of the Prophets by Will Bagley, for Best Western Nonfiction Historical
•Dine: A History of the Navajos by Peter Iverson, for Best Western Nonfiction Contemporary
•The Big Burn by Jeanette Ingold, for Best Western Juvenile Fiction
•Raising La Belle by Mark Mitchell, for Best Western Juvenile Nonfiction
•Will Rogers by Frank Keating, for Best Western Storyteller

2002

•The Way of the Coyote by Elmer Kelton, for Best Western Novel
•The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint by Brady Udall, for Best Novel of the West
•Drum's Ring by Richard Wheeler, for Best Original Paperback Novel
•American Character by Mark Thompson, for Best Western Nonfiction Biography
•Andrew Jackson and His Indian Wars by Robert Remini, for Best Western Nonfiction Historical
•Bone Wars by Tom Rea, for Best Western Nonfiction Contemporary
•Rockbuster by Gloria Skurzynski, for Best Western Juvenile Fiction
•In the Days of the Vaqueros by Russell Freedman, for Best Western Juvenile Nonfiction
•The Legend of Strap Buckner by Connie Nordhielm, for Best Western Storyteller
•Blood Sister, I am To These Fields by Linda Hussa, for Best Western Poetry

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2001

•Summer of Pearls by Mike Blakely, for Best Western Novel
•The Gates of the Alamo by Stephen Harrigan, for Best Novel of the West
•Bound for the Promise Land by Troy Smith, for Best Original Paperback Novel
•A River Running West by Donald Worcester, for Best Western Nonfiction Biography
•Pacific Destiny by Dale Walker, for Best Western Nonfiction Historical
•What You See In Clear Water by Geoffrey O'Gara, for Best Western Nonfiction Contemporary
•The Midnight Train Home by Erika Tamar, for Best Western Juvenile Fiction
•Stories of Young Pioneers in Their Own Words by Violet Kimball, for Best Western Juvenile Nonfiction
•Cindy Ellen by Susan Lowell, for Best Western Storyteller
•Western Settings by Red Shuttleworth, for Best Western Poetry

2000

•Masterson by Richard Wheeler, for Best Western Novel
•Prophet Annie by Ellen Recknor, for Best Novel of the West
•Mine Work by Jim Davidson, for Best Original Paperback Novel
•A Knight Without Armor by Felix Almaraz, for Best Western Nonfiction Biography
•Rush for Riches by J.S. Holliday, for Best Western Nonfiction Historical
•The Real Wild West by Michael Wallis, for Best Western Nonfiction Contemporary
•Wrango by Brian Burks, for Best Western Juvenile Fiction
•The Wild Colorado by Richard Maurer, for Best Western Juvenile Nonfiction
•Prairie Train by Antoine O'Flatharta, for Best Western Storyteller

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1999

•Journey of the Dead by Loren D. Estleman, for Best Western Novel
•The All True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton by Jane Smiley, for Best Novel of the West
•Dark Trail by Hiram King, for Best Original Paperback Novel
•Duke by Ronald Davis, for Best Western Nonfiction Biography
•The Contested Plains by Elliott West, for Best Western Nonfiction Historical
•Devil's Bargains by Hal Rothman, for Best Western Nonfiction Contemporary
•Petey by Ben Mikaelson, for Best Western Juvenile Fiction
•Cowboy With a Camera by Don Worcester, for Best Western Juvenile Nonfiction
•Slim and Miss Prim by Robert Kinerk, for Best Western Storyteller

1998

•The Kiowa Verdict by Cynthia Haselhoff, for Best Western Novel
•Comanche Moon by Larry McMurtry, for Best Novel of the West
•Leaving Missouri by Ellen Recknor, for Best Original Paperback Novel
•Death's Deceivers by Lynn Bridgers, for Best Western Nonfiction Biography
•El Lano Estacado by John Morris, for Best Western Nonfiction Historical
•Big Trouble by J. Anthony Lukas, for Best Western Nonfiction Contemporary
•Danger Along the Ohio by Patricia Willis, for Best Western Juvenile Fiction
•Rattlesnake Dance by Jennifer Dewey, for Best Western Juvenile Nonfiction
•Bootmaker and Elves by Susan Lowell, for Best Western Storyteller

1996

•Blood of Texas by Preston Lewis, for Best Western Novel
•Sierra by Richard Wheeler, for Best Novel of the West
•Potter's Fields by Frank Roderus, for Best Original Paperback Novel
•John Wesley Hardin by Leon Metz, for Best Western Nonfiction Biography
•Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose, for Best Western Nonfiction Historical
•New Westers by Michael Johnson, for Best Western Nonfiction Contemporary
•Far North by Will Hobbs, for Best Western Juvenile Fiction
•The Life and Death of Crazyhorse by Richard Freedman, Best Western Juvenile Nonfiction
•The Worry Stone by Marianna Dengler, for Best Western Storyteller

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1995

•The Dark Island by Robert Conley, for Best Western Novel
•Stone Song by Win Blevins, for Best Novel of the West
•Thunder in the Valley by Jim woolard, for Best Original Paperback Novel
•General M.G. Vallejo and the Advent of the Americans by Alan Rosenus, for Best Western Nonfiction Biography
•Seeking Pleasure in the Old West by David Dary, for Best Western Nonfiction Historical
•We are a People in This World by Conger Beasley, for Best Western Nonfiction Contemporary
•Indio by Sherry Garland, for Best Western Juvenile Fiction
•Camels for Uncle Sam by Diane Yancey, Best Western Juvenile Nonfiction
•Dandelions by Eve Bunting, for Best Western Storyteller

1994

•St. Agnes' Stand by Tom Edison, for Best Western Novel
•The Far Canyon by Elmer Kelton, for Best Novel of the West
•Survival by K.C. McKenna, for Best Original Paperback Novel
•Hero of Beecher Island by David Dixon, for Best Western Nonfiction Biography
•Precious Dust by Paula Marks, for Best Western Nonfiction Historical
•Raven's Exile by Ellen Meloy, for Best Western Nonfiction Contemporary
•A Trail of Tears by David Fremon, for Best Western Juvenile Fiction

1993

•Friends by Charles Hackenberry, for Best Western Novel
•Empire of Bones by Jeff Long, for Best Novel of the West
•The Gila River by Gary McCarthy, for Best Original Paperback Novel
•The Lance and the Shield by Robert Utley, for Best Western Nonfiction Historical
•Rivers in the Desert by Margaret Davis, for Best Western Nonfiction Contemporary
•Leaving Eldorado by JoAnn Mazzio, for Best Western Juvenile Fiction
•Cowboys, Indians, and Gunfighters by Albert Marrin, Best Western Juvenile Nonfiction

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1992

•Nickajack by Robert J. Conley, for Best Western Novel
•Slaughter by Elmer Kelton, for Best Novel of the West
•The Golden Chance by T.V. Olsen, for Best Original Paperback Novel
•Let Me Be Free by David Lavender, for Best Western Nonfiction
•The Hay Meadow by Gary Paulsen, for Best Western Juvenile Fiction
•Children of the Dust Bowl by Jerry Stanley, Best Western Juvenile Nonfiction

1991

•Journal of Gun Years by Richard Matheson, for Best Western Novel
•The Medicine Horn by Jory Sherman, for Best Novel of the West
•Rage in Chupadera by Norman Zollinger, for Best Original Paperback Novel
•Custer's Last Campaign by John S. Gray, for Best Western Nonfiction
•Rescue Josh McGuire by Ben Mikaelsen, for Best Western Juvenile Fiction

1990

•Sanctuary by Gary Svee, for Best Western Novel
•Home Mountain by Jeanne Williams, for Best Novel of the West
•The Changing Wind by Don Coldsmith, for Best Original Paperback Novel
•Helen Hunt Jackson by Valerie S. Mathes, for Best Western Nonfiction
•Honey Girl by Madge Harrah, for Best Western Juvenile Fiction
•Woodsong by Gary Paulsen, Best Western Juvenile Nonfiction

1989

•Fool's Coach by Richard Wheeler, for Best Western Novel
•Panther in the Sky by James Alexander, for Best Novel of the West
•Among the Eagles by G. Clifton Wisler, for Best Original Paperback Novel
•The Great Plains by Ian Frazier, for Best Western Nonfiction
•My Daniel by Pam Conrad, for Best Western Juvenile Fiction

1988

•Mattie by Judy Alter, for Best Western Novel
•The Homesman by Glendon Swarthout, for Best Novel of the West
•Hoover Dam by Joseph Stevens, for Best Western Nonfiction
•In the Face of Danger by Joan Lowry Nixon, for Best Western Juvenile Fiction

1987

•Skinwalker by Tony Hillerman, for Best Western Novel
•Wanderer Springs by Robert Flynn, for Best Novel of the West
•Jessie Benton Fremont by Pamela Herr, for Best Western Nonfiction
•The Orphan Train by Joan Lowry Nixon, for Best Western Juvenile Fiction

1986

•The Blind Corral by Ralph Robert Beer, for Best Western Novel
•Roman by Douglas C. Jones, for Best Novel of the West
•Paper Medicine Man by Joseph C. Porter, for Best Western Nonfiction
•Make Way For Sam Houston by Jean Fritz, for Best Western Juvenile Fiction

1985

•Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry, for Best Western Novel
•The Snowblind Moon by John Byrne Cooke, for Best Novel of the West
•Phil Sheridan and His Army by Paul Hutton, for Best Western Nonfiction
•Prairie Songs by Pam Conrad, for Best Western Juvenile Fiction

1984

•Gone the Dreams and Dancing by Douglas C. Jones, for Best Western Novel
•Hashknife Cowboy Recollections of Mach Hughes by Stella Hughes, for Best Western Nonfiction
•Trapped in Slickrock Canyon by Gloria Skurzynski, for Best Western Juvenile Fiction

1983

•Leaving Kansas by Frank Roderus, for Best Western Novel
•Sam Bass by Bryan Woolley, for Best Novel of the West
•Quarterdeck and Saddlehorn by Carl Briggs, for Best Western Nonfiction
•Thunder on the Tennessee by Gary Clifton, for Best Western Juvenile Fiction

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