May 3, 2019

Contact: Taylor Summer, Communications Specialist

(Office) (405) 478-2250 ext. 284


National Cowboy Museum, Traditional Cowboy
Arts Association Continue Partnership

Building on more than 20 years of collaboration, both groups are eager to enter a new decade of growth.

OKLAHOMA CITY — The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, home to the Traditional Cowboy Arts Association’s (TCAA) annual exhibition and sale for the past 20 years, is excited to announce the 21st Traditional Cowboy Arts Exhibition & Sale Opening Weekend, October 4 – 5, 2019.

Formed in 1998, the TCAA has held each of its annual exhibitions at the National Cowboy Museum. Along with the excitement of the annual Traditional Cowboy Arts Exhibition & Sale, this year the Museum’s exhibition, Caballeros y Vaqueros (September 13 – January 5, 2020), highlights the cowboy arts’ history and explores their multicultural roots.

“The Traditional Cowboy Arts Exhibition & Sale is an annual highlight not only for those with an interest in the cowboy arts, but also for those with an interest in art, period,” said Museum President & CEO Natalie Shirley. “The saddlemakers, bit and spur makers, silversmiths and rawhide braiders who comprise the TCAA are among the most skilled artists working today; they just happen to practice disciplines that evolved from the working cowboy.”

The longtime partnership between The Cowboy and the TCAA is almost like family. The Museum shares the group’s core belief that the Western disciplines of saddlemaking, bit and spur making, silversmithing and rawhide braiding are artistic pursuits, and it ensured the TCAA’s founders that the Museum would provide a space to exhibit members’ works.

Since the TCAA’s first exhibition and sale in 1999, the Museum has hosted the annual showcase of TCAA members’ latest works as well as an Opening Weekend celebration. As in the past, this year’s events include artist demonstrations, autograph signings, receptions and dinners, as well as a TCAA workshop for scroll layout and design with Sam Alfano, held October 1 – 3, 2019.

For more information on the Traditional Cowboy Arts Exhibition & Sale Opening Weekend, October 4 – 5, 2019, visit Reservations are available beginning July 1, 2019. For information on proxy bidding, contact Trent Riley, Major Gifts Officer, at (405) 478-2250 ext. 251 or


About the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City is America’s premier institution of Western history, art and culture. Founded in 1955, the Museum collects, preserves and exhibits an internationally renowned collection of Western art and artifacts while sponsoring dynamic educational programs to stimulate interest in the enduring legacy of the American West. For more information, visit


The TCAA is pleased to announce the creation of a new MOM’S Scholarship in the amount of $1000.00 to be used to help defer expenses associated with the recipient’s tuition and travel when studying with a TCAA member. The MOM’s Scholarship is to be awarded to a woman seeking to improve her skills in one of the 4 TCAA Disciplines of Rawhide Braiding, Silver Smithing, Bit and Spur Making, and Saddle Making. The individual applying must have as a primary goal working full time in one of the 4 listed disciplines if not already so engaged. Prospective applicants may apply with a short bio and a minimum of 4 pictures of their BEST work. Each applicant must show a dedication to improving their skills in the chosen discipline and their goals must be aligned with those of the TCAA as evidenced in the TCAA Mission Statement.

TCAA Saddelmaker John Willemsma created the Mom’s scholarship to honor his mother Mrs. Tena Willemsma. A women who is and will be remembered for her ability to inspire others while living an exemplary life with strength and grace.

Tena Willemsma immigrated to the United States in 1956 from Holland. She raised 6 children and worked hard to receive her GED at age 52. Two years later she concluded her education and received her certification as an LPN. For the next 20 years Tena worked nights as a registered nurse, finally retiring at the age of 74.

Tena Willemsma a strong and determined woman demonstrated tenacity, strength of character, and unwavering dedication to her family and her work. John along with the TCAA continue to believe that these qualities are as essential today as they were 50 or 100 years ago. The TCAA is very grateful to the Willemsma’s for sharing the empowering story of their mother, while providing the resources to promote and encourage a craftswoman to develop and improve in her chosen trade.

Mom’s Scholarship applications will open
October 10th and close December 1st 2019

Send photos and bio to:
John Willemsma 
535 Airway Dr
Westcliffe, Colorado 81252
405 282-5336

Mom’s Scholarship Recipients

2018 – Silversmith, Jodi Brown
2016 – Rawhide Braider, Justine Nelson
2015 – Saddle Maker, Anna Severe


To further heighten participation and interest in the Emerging Artist Competition the TCAA’s proud to announce effective immediately significant changes to the competition:


TCAA will move from hosting 2 disciplines per year to spotlighting on 1.
January 2017 – Saddlemaking


The TCAA Emerging Artists’ Competition will now pay 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place!

First Place – $5000.00 value, cash and prizes ($2500 check, $2500 value for travel and hotel, Museum package to the Traditional Cowboy Arts Association Annual Exhibition & Sale at Cowboy Crossings held at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum Oklahoma City, Oklahoma).

The winner will not only enjoy the weekend festivities but also be introduced on stage during the opening night banquet.

Second Place- $1000.00 check.
Third Place- $500.00 check

Also Brian and Melissa Lebel award $500.00 for the Brian Lebel’s High Noon Peoples Choice

Award voted by the Public.


Saddlemakers that have already applied for the 2017 January competition your applications have been forwarded and you need not apply again. New applications are being accepted as of today, please follow application process on the TCAA Website.

As before the Top 10 applicants will be excepted, Applications close October 15, 2016 and all will be notified October 20, 2016

Any Questions?

Contact Wilson Capron- OR Scott Hardy-

The Traditional Cowboy Arts Association is excited to offer this revamped competition to the Cowboy trades! We believe by focusing on 1 discipline per year we can give participates more exposure to collectors, public and other Western Crafts people creating opportunity and growth in the industry.

TCAA Emerging Artists’ Competition Schedule

January 2017- Saddle Makers
January 2018- Western Silversmiths
January 2019- Rawhide Braiders
January 2020- Bit & Spur Makers

western-craftsmanshipNational Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

The TCAA in partnership with the NCWHM will host the first ever Western Craftsmanship Symposium
just prior to the opening of the 2016 Cowboy Crossings Annual Show and Sale at the NCWHM.

The dates are October 13-14 and all sessions will be held at the NCWHM. Registration starts at 8:00 am on Thursday, October 13th with the symposium opening at 9:00 am.

The purpose of the symposium is to provide a forum for a free exchange of information and ideas among peers in a structured environment. The agenda contains topics of concern and interest to craftsmen of all levels engaged in the business of western crafts. The TCAA encourages the active engagement of all attendees in sharing ideas, best practices, individual successes and challenges through active dialogue over the course of the symposium. The success of the two day meeting will be determined by the level of engagement and participation by the symposium attendees. The sessions will be a mixture of formal presentations, open forums and panel discussions. Speakers will be a select group of industry experts, recognized leaders and TCAA members. The symposium will conclude with a keynote address by renowned speaker Dr. Morgan McArthur DVM.

Join us for this ground-breaking event.

For detailed information and online registration visit

Hermann-Oak-LogoThe TCAA is proud to welcome Hermann Oak Leather as a sponsor and supporter of its ongoing programs. Hermann Oak Leather has been tanning quality leathers in St. Louis, Missouri for the world’s leading saddlemakers since 1881 and continues to produce the leather that makes the TCAA level of craftsmanship possible. Read more


TCAA Creates $12,000 Fellowship for Cowboy Craftsmen

The Traditional Cowboy Arts Association has announced the creation of a $12,000 annual award to fund the ongoing education of western craftsmen. The TCAA Fellowship will be given to a single recipient each year, and will cover travel and tuition costs for a year of study with TCAA members.

Founded in 1998, TCAA is dedicated to preserving the trades of saddlemaking, rawhide braiding, silversmithing, and bit and spur making. The group holds two annual workshops and provides one-on-one mentoring for craftsmen seeking to improve their skills. To date, the group has provided more than $70,000 in scholarships. The new fellowship will create a targeted approach, representing a substantial annual investment in the ongoing education of one maker working in a TCAA discipline.

TCAA will announce the first Fellowship recipient at the group’s 2012 exhibition, opening at Oklahoma City’s National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum on October 13.

Applications for the 2013 TCAA Fellowship must be submitted by March 1, 2013, and should include a biographical essay outlining the applicant’s career path and goals; a photo portfolio showing a progression of the applicant’s work; and a minimum of three letters of support from mentors or others with stature in the applicant’s discipline. Applications may be sent to the TCAA Secretary-Treasurer, PO Box 1031, Salmon ID 80923. The 2013 Fellowship recipient will be announced at the 2013 TCAA exhibition in Oklahoma City.

Editors: Direct questions or interview requests to TCAA President Scott Hardy, Longview, Alberta, (403) 558-2337;


Saddlemaking & Silversmithing
Contests Added to High Noon Lineup

The Traditional Cowboy Arts Association will host an invitational competition for emerging saddlemakers and silversmiths during the High Noon Western Americana Show, to be held in Mesa, Arizona, January 26-27, 2013.

Entries will be judged by TCAA members, using a standardized scoring system that will be made available to all entrants. One winner will be named in each discipline.

Applications for entry are due no later than June 30, 2012, and must include:

  1. A brief biography of the prospective entrant. The biography should include the length of time the applicant has worked in the discipline of saddlemaking or silversmithing.
  2.  A minimum of six photos of the applicant’s recent work. Three photos should be detail images.

Applications may be e-mailed to Those selected to participate will be notified, and provided the contest’s delivery deadline, by July 15.

The winner in each discipline will receive a $1,000 cash award, as well as free travel to the 2013 TCAA exhibition opening at Oklahoma City’s National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.

For more information call (403) 931-4810.

Editors: Direct questions or interview requests to TCAA member Chuck Stormes, Millarville, Alberta, (403) 931-4810.