Spirit of the West

Each year, the Festival of Western Arts has honored individuals and companies whose achievements have attained a lasting and beneficial effect on present and future generations of Americans. The Festival honors the recipient for efforts and perseverance in bringing about a wider appreciation of our American heritage, a greater understanding for people of other cultures, and helped preserve for future generations the history and tradition of the American lifestyle. The honorees have improved the quality of life through many fields and professions: writer, historian, entertainer, scientist, artist, politician, athletics’, humanitarian, business and education. The honoree must have a record of achievement of at least regional significance, be in consistent support of American ideals, and bring recognition to San Dimas Festival of Arts.

From 1977 through 1996, the Festival named a Spirit of the West who was invited to come to San Dimas for recognition and to receive a special award of a beautiful bronze by artist Richard A. Myer. The Festival commissioned an artist to create a portrait of the honoree, which is on display at the San Dimas City Hall as part of the Festival’s Art Collection. The following are the honorees for Spirit of the West:

  • Roy Rogers (1977)
  • Olaf Weighorst (1978)
  • John Wayne (1979)
  • Louis L’Amour (1980)
  • Gene Autry (1981)
  • Iron Eyes Cody (1982)
  • Ben Johnson (1983)
  • President Ronald Reagan (1984) *
  • Frederic Renner (1985)
  • Montie Montana (1986)
  • Johnny Grant (1987)
  • Barry Goldwater (1988)
  • George Montgomery (1989)
  • Sheriff Sherman Block (1990) **
  • Walter & Cordelia Knott (1991)
  • Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell (1992)
  • Wells Fargo Bank (1994)
  • Joanne and Monte Hale (1995)
  • Santa Fe Railroad (1996)
  • David Dreier (2013)
  • Martin Grelle (2016)

* No Painting.
** Bronze bust.