Award Events

Event Information:

The National Ranching Heritage Center presents the Golden Spur and RHA Working Cowboy Awards.

Date Information:

October 16, 2021

Time Information:

6pm

Pricing Information:

Individual Tickets: $125, RHA members: $95

Prime Table for 8: $5,000

Choice Table for 8: $2,500

Location:

Overton Hotel and Convention Center, Lubbock, Texas 

Click Here for Hotel Reservations

Purchase TicketsRegister for the Membership Breakfast

About the Award Recipients

MONTE DEAN CLUCK, the fourth generation in his family to ranch and farm in the Texas Panhandle, has been named recipient of the National Golden Spur Award for accomplishments by a single individual in the ranching and livestock industries. Established in 1978, the award honors iconic industry leaders whose devotion to land and livestock has earned them the notable respect and admiration of their peers. Cluck’s parents were early pioneers of the cattle feeding industry and today Cluck is CEO of Dean Cluck Feedyard and general partner of Dean Cluck Cattle Co. With three locations in the Texas Panhandle, the company has a total feeding capacity of 102,000 head. Cluck was a member of the Texas Cattle Feeders Association Board for 11 years, including six years on the executive committee and chairman in 2009. Although Cluck grew up in Gruver, Texas, where his flagship feedyard is located, he and his wife Katsy live in Boerne, Texas. They have four children and four grandchildren.

JOEL NELSON is the third recipient of the Ranching Heritage Association Working Cowboy Award recognizing an outstanding individual who makes his living primarily horseback caring for livestock on a daily basis. The recipient must be skilled in all aspects of ranch work and respected by the ranch crew and ranching community. Nelson has spent decades working on some of the most respected cow outfits in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Hawaii, specializing in breaking colts. He and his wife Sylvia work together on horseback operating the Anchor Ranch near Alpine, Texas, and raising Angus cattle. Nelson’s ability to take the raw materials of ranch life and express them in poetry have made him a regular performer at the annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nev., and resulted in his being named a National Heritage Fellow by the National Endowment for the Arts in 2009. His Breaker in the Pen album of cowboy verse is the only cowboy poetry ever nominated for a Grammy Award.

A Special Thanks to Event Sponsors 

American Quarter Horse Association 

National Cattlemen’s Foundation 

Ranching Heritage Association 

Texas Cattle Feeders Association 

Texas Farm Bureau 

Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association 

event activities

Date:

October 16

Time:

6pm

Pricing:

INDIVIDUAL TICKETS 

$125 each RHA members $95 

RESERVED TABLES 

Prime Table for Eight—$5,000 Choice Table for Eight—$2,500 

Monte Dean Cluck to Receive 2020 National Golden Spur Award

Ranching and Livestock Industries Present Top Award October 16 in Lubbock

Monte Dean Cluck, the fourth generation in his family to ranch and farm in the Texas Panhandle, has been named recipient of the 2020 National Golden Spur Award recognizing accomplish- ments by a single individual in the ranching and livestock industries.

“The award is the most prestigious honor given to one person by both industries,” said Jim Bret Campbell, executive director of the National Ranching Heritage Center at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. “It recognizes iconic industry leaders whose devotion to land and livestock has earned them the notable respect and admiration of their peers.”

Cluck will be honored during the National Golden Spur Award dinner at 6 p.m. Saturday, October 16 at the Overton Hotel in Lubbock. The annual award was established in 1978 and is jointly sponsored by the American Quarter Horse Association, National Cattlemen’s Foundation, Ranching Heritage Association, Texas Cattle Feeders Association, Texas Farm Bureau, and Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association.

Cluck’s parents—Dean and Rita Cluck of Gruver, Texas—were early pioneers of the cattle feeding industry and started their first operation in 1961. Today Monte Cluck is CEO of Dean Cluck Feedyard and general partner of Dean Cluck Cattle Co. With three locations in the Texas Panhandle, the company has a total feeding capacity of 102,000 head.

Although Cluck grew up in Gruver, which is the location of his flagship feedyard, he and his wife Katsy live in Boerne, Texas. They have four children—Kaysha Sparling, Kallie Hauschild, Monte II and the late Colt Cluck—and four grandchildren.

“Monte holds a heartfelt appreciation and respect for the traditions, wisdom, values and integrity that come from being involved in this industry,” said Ross Wilson, President and CEO of the Texas Cattle Feeders Association (TCFA). “He takes pride in keeping many time-honored traditions alive while never losing sight of the future and opportunities that innovation provides to improve a mature industry.”

Cluck was a member of the TCFA Board of Directors for 11 years, including six years on the executive committee and chairman in 2009. In addition, he served on the TCFA Budget and Audit Committee and was both a trustee and 2010 chairman of BEEF-PAC, the TCFA political action committee. Former Gov. Rick Perry appointed him to the Texas Water Development Board in 2008.

Dean Cluck Feedyard recently acquired Jacoby Cattle Co., an order-buying business in South Texas. This company includes semi-trucks and cattle trailers that transport cattle to feedyards and provide custom hauls for others. Cluck and his partners also created Tadmor Trading, a commodity brokerage company in Dallas.

All the companies combined employ more than 100 people and have annual sales of $160 million. The business is an Employee Stock Ownership Program in which employees, after meeting employment requirements, are owners in the company and share in the profits. Cluck has employed generations of families and employees who have worked an entire lifetime with his operations. He has made scholarship programs available to children of employees for the past 20 years.

In addition to cattle feeding, Cluck began contributing to his family’s farming and ranching operations in 1975. From 1980 to 1990, they expanded the ranching operation to include more than 30,000 acres of leased grassland in the Texas Panhandle.  The family again expanded in the 1990s when they leased the Turkey Track Ranch in Hutchinson County, Texas. More recently they have acquired a substantial amount of dryland and irrigated farmland that produces corn, wheat and grain sorghum for winter grazing of stocker cattle.

Cluck and his partners have purchased additional properties that will combine with pasture acreage to bring grazing and preconditioning capacity for an inventory of up to 20,000 stocker cattle.


Date:

October 16

Time:

6pm

Purchase / Registration:

coming soon

Pricing:

INDIVIDUAL TICKETS
$125 each
RHA members $95
RESERVED TABLES
Prime Table for Eight—$5,000
Choice Table for Eight—$2,500

Texas Cowboy Joel Nelson Named Working Cowboy Award Recipient

Ranching Heritage Association will present award at National Golden Spur Award dinner October 16.

Joel Nelson, a Texas cowboy that some say has considerable talent with horses, will be the third recipient of the Ranching Heritage Association Working Cowboy Award during the 43rd Annual National Golden Spur Award dinner at 6 p.m. Saturday, October 16 at the Overton Hotel in Lubbock.

“This award is designed to recognize an outstanding individual who makes his living primarily horseback caring for livestock on a daily basis,” said Jim Bret Campbell, director of the National Ranching Heritage Center (NRHC) at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. “Although Joel grew up in Seymour, Texas, and now ranches in Alpine, his impact has been felt from the King Ranch in South Texas to the Parker Ranch in Hawaii.”

The Ranching Heritage Association (RHA), a nationwide non-profit membership organization supporting the work and mission of the NRHC, sponsors the award on an annual basis to honor a working cowboy skilled in all aspects of ranch work and respected by the ranch crew and ranching community.

“Our Board of Directors believes it’s important to recognize those folks who brave all kinds of weather and conditions to ensure that work on a ranch gets done,” Campbell said. “Our first two recipients—Boots O’Neal of the Four Sixes Ranch and Arizona cowboy Ed Ashurst—set a high standard in regard to integrity and impact on a ranch and the surrounding community. Joel Nelson definitely fits in the mold established by Boots and Ed.”

Campbell said Nelson’s nomination included heartfelt letters from supporters across ranch country. King Ranch descendent Tio Kleberg called Nelson “a cowman’s cowboy” who does and can do all the jobs to perfection. Kleberg’s wife, Janelle, described Nelson as “the finest horseman I have ever seen, and I have seen many.”

Western entertainer Red Steagall declared Nelson’s talents with a horse unequaled and said “his instincts about handling cattle give him an edge over almost anyone else in the cow outfit.”

Nelson has spent decades working on some of the most respected ranches in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Hawaii, specializing in breaking colts. He and his wife Sylvia work together on horseback operating the Anchor Ranch near Alpine and raising Angus cattle.

Nelson’s skills on the ranch are rivaled only by his widespread reputation as a cowboy poet. He takes the raw materials of ranch life and expresses them in poetry. In 2009, Nelson was named a National Heritage Fellow by the National Endowment for the Arts for “major contributions to the excellence, vitality and public appreciation of the folk and traditional arts.” In addition, his “Breaker in the Pen” album of cowboy verse is the only cowboy poetry ever nominated for a Grammy Award.

Nelson was invited in 1999 to Rothbury, Northumberland, England for one month as a poet-in-residence visiting school classrooms, young farmers’ meetings and public gatherings. An article in “Poetry Review” described him as captivating his audience and “incomparable as an inspirational force for poetry.”

Since 1986 he has been a regular performer at the annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nev., and helped found the Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Alpine, where he served on the organizing committee for 33 years.

“My earliest memory is of my father carrying me in the saddle with the saddle horn between my legs,” said 74-year-old Nelson. “I must have been three. He pointed to the ground and taught me to tell the difference between a cow and a horse track.”

Cows and horses have been part of Nelson’s life ever since, and he has managed to merge his two great passions: poetry and the cowboy lifestyle. “There’s rhythm and meter to everything when you work outside,” Nelson said. “Trotting across a grassy flat, working cattle, the day-to-day changes of the seasons; they all have a poetic cadence.”

Gary Dunshee, owner of the Big Bend Saddlery in Alpine, may have summarized Nelson’s life best in describing him as “a great ambassador for cowboying not only in Texas but all of the West.”


frequently asked questions

What is the National Golden Spur Award?

The award is the most prestigious honor given to one person by both the ranching and livestock industries. It recognizes iconic industry leaders whose devotion to land and livestock has earned them the notable respect and admiration of their peers. Award recipients are selected by the American Quarter Horse Association, National Cattlemen’s Foundation, Ranching Heritage Association, Texas Cattle Feeders Association, Texas Farm Bureau, and Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association.

What is the RHA Working Cowboy Award?

This award is designed to recognize an outstanding individual who makes a living primarily horseback caring for livestock on a daily basis.  The recipient is selected through a nomination process.

Where do I find tickets?

Tickets will be available beginning August 1, 2021. For other questions regarding tickets, contact Vicki Quinn-Williams at 806-742-0498.

What is suggested attire for the event?

Dressy Western | Business Casual | Boots & Hats Always in Fashion 

Who are the previous recipients?

Golden Spur

1978    Albert K. Mitchell – Albert, New Mexico

1979    Jay Littleton Taylor – Amarillo, Texas

1980    Fred H. Dressler – Gardenville, Nevada

1981    Watt Reynolds Matthews – Albany, Texas

1982    J. Ernest Browning – Willcox, Arizona

1983    John B. Armstrong – Kingsville, Texas

1984    Foy Proctor – Midland, Texas

1985    Marie Tyler – Bismarck, North Dakota

1986    W.D. “Bill” Farr – Greeley, Colorado

1987    Walter L. Pfluger – San Angelo, Texas

1988    O.J. “Jim” Barron Jr. – Lubbock, Texas

1989    Hilmar G. Moore – Richmond, Texas

1990    Jo Ann Smith – Micanopy, Florida

1991    Clarence Scharbauer Jr. – Midland, Texas

1992    Linda Mitchell Davis – Cimarron, New Mexico

1993    John S. Cargile – San Angelo, Texas

1994    Kenneth Monfort – Greeley, Colorado

1995    A.L. Black – Friona, Texas

1996    William J. “Dub” Waldrip – Lubbock, Texas

1997    Gov. Dolph Briscoe Jr. – Uvalde, Texas

1998    Robert D. Josserand – Hereford, Texas

1999    R.A. “Rob” Brown – Throckmorton, Texas

2000    John W. Lacey – Paso Robles, California

2001    Anne W. Marion – Fort Worth, Texas

2002    James L. Powell – Fort McKavett, Texas

2003    Rebecca Tyler Lockhart – Ryan, Oklahoma

2004    Donald Butler – Tucson, Arizona

2005    John L. “Chip” Merrill – Crowley, Texas

2006    Helen Kleberg Groves – Baird, Texas

2007    Jay O’Brien – Amarillo, Texas

2008    Bob Moorhouse – Weatherford, Texas

2009    Jack Maddux – Wauneta, Nebraska

2010    Bill Tullos – San Angelo, Texas

2011    Nolan Ryan – Georgetown, Texas

2012    Buster Welch – Rotan, Texas

2013    Jon Means – Van Horn, Texas

2014    James Herring – Amarillo, Texas

2015    Dave True – Casper, Wyoming

2016    Dave Edmiston – Brady, Texas

2017    Dr. Glenn Blodgett – Guthrie, Texas

2018    Red Steagall – Azle, Texas

2019    James Robert (Bob) McCan – McFaddin, Texas

RHA Working Cowboy

2019    Ed Ashurst

2018     Boots O’Neal

maps & highlights

Click here for a map to the Overton Hotel.

2322 Mac Davis Lane

Lubbock, Texas 79401

Vicki Quinn-Williams at (806) 834-0469 or vicki.quinn-williams@ttu.edu