2014 Writing Awards

Tasunka

This Tasunka is made of silk, wood & leather. Horse portraits are painted on silk organza. © Virginia Staat

A total of 33 written works were submitted in this year’s contest. Winners were announced at the Awards Banquet in West Glacier, Montana. A special thanks to Virginia Staat for sharing her art, “Tasunka.”

The Awards

Judges comments, in italics, follow each award winner.

BEST OF SHOW

Robert Good “The Christmas Mink” – article published in the Chaffee County Times, 19 Dec 2013; and also in the November-December issue of Rocky Mountain OutdoorsThis was a surprise award because this article was chosen as Best of Show before determining the category awards and then was not given an additional first place award. This folksy vignette opens with a good lead and takes the reader on a nostalgic memory of boyhood. The story engages with drama and pathos and concludes in a way to wrap the whole piece nicely.

Newspaper, Magazine articles/columns/editorials

1st Robert Good “Freedom to Harvest” Chaffee County Times, 4 July 2013
Informative and persuasive how-to that tells readers why and how to make their own jerky.
2nd Virginia Staat “Moab Woman Hikes 2,650 Miles to Raise Money” The Moab Times-Independent, 10 Oct 2013. Well-written, straight-forward newspaper feature piece that informs and interests. Excellent use of quotes interwoven with information.
3rd Kathy Mattoon “Big Game Meat: Don’t Grind It, Jerk It” Gunnison Country Times, Sep 2013 Hunting Guide. Lively “account” of Friar Tuck and Robin Hood hunting the King’s Deer, leading into a patriotic nod to the American concept of common, rather than royal, ownership of game. Appropriately published on the 4th of July!

Newsletter and Web Writing

1st Virginia Staat “The Power of Punctuation” Rocky Mountain Outdoors, May/June 2013. Great use of a fun and surprising quote as a lead, balanced by another quote to close. Presents everyone’s less-than-favorite topic in an amusing and engaging style.
2nd Jack Olson “Weathering the Storm” Rocky Mountain Outdoors, Sep/Oct 2013. Opens with a lead that engages and takes the reader right into the piece. Blends first and second person effectively to create immediacy and put the reader in the moment.
3rd Maryann Gaug “Time to Get Psyched for Glacier National Park” Rocky Mountain Outdoors, Mar/Apr 2014. Opens with an engaging lead. Good, straight-up how-to organized with bulleted directions that are easy for the reader to follow.

Unpublished Written Works

1st Cecilia Travis “Beware the Carrot.”  Light-hearted style that engages the reader while discussing the very serious possibilities of gathering and eating the wrong wild food. Dishes up a little sweet with the sour!
2nd Maryann Gaug “An Interesting Read about Glacier NP Shrinking Glaciers.” Nice review of a book about the vanishing namesakes of Glacier NP. A lot of info packed into a short, concise piece.

Video

1st Al Perry “Northern Lights in Motion.” This video is visually stunning. With eerie music accompaniment used with permission of Peter Gabriel, it is a mesmerizing study of the aurora borealis. The flow and brilliant changing colors of the northern lights is fascinating. Al Perry keeps it fresh by mixing in different camera lenses on his subject.
2nd Al Perry “Birds, Bees, Butterflies and Insects in Slow Motion.” Patience is a virtue, and also a requirement for the filming of this study of these smaller creatures. The extreme slow motion reveals secrets of flight of these bugs and birds. The bumblebees are especially intriguing in the way their wings move. The colors of the flowers add to the visual appeal and music by Lisa Gerrard rounds out the video.
3rd Al Perry “Night Skies in Motion with Star Trails.” This video is visually stunning. With eerie music accompaniment used with permission of Peter Gabriel, it is a mesmerizing study of the aurora borealis. The flow and brilliant changing colors of the northern lights is fascinating. Al Perry keeps it fresh by mixing in different camera lenses on his subject.

Books

1st Don & Barbara Laine “Frommer’s Easy Cuide to National Parks of the American West.” This book promises that it is “Quick to Read, Light to Carry” and it delivers on those promises. The guide includes concise, yet complete, descriptions of five national parks in Utah, Colorado and New Mexico, as well as an introductory planning chapter that sets the tone. Included are summaries of each park, directions, tips to avoid the crowds, fees, day hikes and where to stay and dine.
2nd Robert Stone “Day Hikes Around Monterey & Carmel.” The “Day Hike” series of books covers the breadth of hikes for each locale and this book is no exception. Logically organized and easy to use, the book describes each of the 127 hikes in detail including distance, time needed for each hike, and the all important elevation gain and difficulty level. Easy-to-read maps are included.
3rd Andy Lightbody & Kathy Mattoon “Winter Trails: Colorado.” This entry in the Falcon Guides, Where to Ski Series, takes us to the best cross-country ski and snowshoe trails. The book covers 51 trails in the state and contains details on distance, terrain, difficulty, elevation and time necessary for each trail. Other useful information describes fees and permits, where necessary, directions and GPS coordinates. The section on equipment and survival gear is essential.

Art

Virginia Staat “Tasunka”

A special thanks to Virginia Staat for sharing her art. Tasunka is the Lakota word for wild horse. Five wild horse portraits from the herd at Theodore Rosevelt National Park in North Dadota are the subject of the Photo Book. These wild horses are believed to be direct descendants of Lakota Chief Sitting Bull’s warrier Horses.