The Western Spirit Committee held the first annual Western Spirit Art Project contest on April 28, 2011 at the ProRodeo Hall of Fame. Fifteen front-range high schools were given a 7’ plywood depiction of a saddle bronc rider and challenged to design it by answering the question “what does Western Heritage, in the front range area, mean to me?” The goal of the art project was to involve our youth in embracing our Western Heritage in a creative way. The completed projects were judged by local community leaders who selected 1st-3rd place winners. Criteria for judging was based on six categories; projects must be painted in their entirety, projects must be waterproof, use of mixed media, quality of workmanship, expression of western heritage in the Pikes Peak region and imagination.
Sponsors for the Western Spirit Art Project were members of the Western Spirit Committee, Kevin Kaveney, Northwestern Mutual Financial Network and The Woodshed.
First place was awarded to Sand Creek High School; second place to Miami Yoder High School and third place to St. Mary’s High School. Schools participating in the 2011 project were Calhan School District RJ-1, Centennial High School (Pueblo), Ellicott High School, Griffith Centers for Children, Hanover District #28, Lewis Palmer High School (Monument), Miami Yoder High School (Rush), Sand Creek High School, St Mary’s High School, The Vanguard School, William J. Palmer High School and Woodland Park High School.
The art projects have been on display at the following locations: Alamo Building, American National Bank, Antlers Hotel Apex Sports, Bank at Colorado, Big R (Falcon, Fountain and Pueblo), Clerk & Recorder Offices (Centennial, Powers and Union) El Pomar Carriage House, Farmers State Bank (Calhan and Falcon), Hollywood Theaters, Pinz Bowling Alley, Plaza of the Rockies, ProRodeo Hall of Fame, Shears (on Nevada), The Bank at Broadmoor (Broadmoor, Downtown and Westside), Thunder Mountain, UMB (Security), Wal-Mart (on Woodmen, Falcon, Monument, Pueblo and Woodland Park) and Wells Fargo.
The projects will be sold at a silent auction during the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo July 13th through the 16th at the Norris Penrose Event Center. The art projects will be displayed at various locations at the rodeo and bids can be placed outside the VIP room; the minimum bid will be $50. Proceeds of the sale will go to the Margaret Brookhart Memorial Scholarship Fund which is awarded to graduating seniors with a 3.0 GPA and interest in the American West.
The Western Spirit Committee’s mission is to provide awareness and promotion of western heritage and culture in the Pikes Peak Region through an effort of collaboration and support. Today, each organization still works independently, but with a better understanding and coordination with the other organizations. Members of the committee are: Girls of the West, Latigo Trails Heritage Centre, Norris-Penrose Event Center, Pikes Peak Range Riders Foundation, Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo, Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo Parade, Pikes Peak Range Riders, Pikes Peak Range Riders Pivots, Pikes Peak Rangerettes, Pikes Peak Therapeutic Riding Center, ProRodeo Hall of Fame, Ride for the Brand Championship Rodeo and Sertoma.