I've just returned from the annual convention of WWA held this year in Great Falls, Montana, and it was a blast, a long way from home but still a blast. A couple hundred writers from all over the country arrived by planes and cars; heck, some may even have hitch hiked. And when they got together to talk about the West over a beer or a wine, it was an education to behold. A couple of the best authors whom books I have read were in attendance, and willing to visit with any of us about their craft.
The Board of Directors even planned a series of events to let the membership see this part
of Montana and learn about its history. We had an informative trip to historic old Fort Benton
along the Missouri River, where a faithful dog became the mascot of the town after his owner
passed. My favorite excursion was to the C. M. Russell museum in Great Falls that contains
many of Charlie Russell’s famous paintings. The facility is masterfully managed, and the staff is
friendly and first rate. I bought a small copy of Russell’s “Hold Up,” the image that appears on
my book about Big Nose George. I believe the museum purchased the original painting about the time my book came out, and I look forward to eventually seeing it on display.
Driving home for over eleven hours after the convention, I had plenty of time to reflect
on the importance of writing about the America West. I think it is the authors, like those at the
convention, which keep the fabric of the west sewn together into a durable legacy we all can
appreciate. I take my Stetson off to them.