The Boss of the Plains Award was created in 1999 as an annual recognition of individuals from throughout the nation who have provided outstanding support of the National Ranching Heritage Center or its non-profit organization the Ranching Heritage Association.

The award is represented by a bronze sculpture of a rancher astride his favorite horse, created by the award-winning artist Don Ray of Channing, Texas. The award’s name comes from the rich Western history of the Stetson Hat Co., whose founder, John B. Stetson, created the first true hat of the American West, the picturesque and stylish Boss of the Plains. The name and style were the first registered by the hat company. Stetson, recognizing the importance of the Boss of the Plains Award, has contributed the use of their hat and its name to honor those who lead the way in supporting this unique and very important museum and historical park.

View Past Recipients



The National Golden Spur Award is the most prestigious honor given by the ranching and livestock industries in recognition of accomplishments by an individual. Established in 1978, the award has been conferred upon iconic industry leaders whose unparalleled devotion to land and livestock has earned them notable respect and admiration from their peers. The award also emphasizes the humanistic, scientific and technological contributions of the ranching and livestock industries to society. Six ranching and livestock organizations sponsor the award: American Quarter Horse Association, National Cattlemen’s Foundation, Ranching Heritage Association, Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, Texas Cattle Feeders Association and Texas Farm Bureau.

View Past Recipients