Casey Tibbs documentary ropes in distinguished award

Casey Tibbs Rodeo Center

The National Cowboy Museum’s 2018 Western Heritage Awards in Oklahoma City have chosen “Floating Horses: The Life of Casey Tibbs” as Best Documentary in the Film and Television category. The film was directed, written and produced by Midland, S.D., native Justin Koehler, of Nowlin Town Productions. Established in 1961, The Western Heritage Awards celebrate individuals who promote the American West through music, literature or film making. This year’s awards dinner will be held on April 14 and be emceed by actors Sam Elliot and Katherine Ross.

“The Western Heritage Award is like the Academy Award of the Western genre,” said Koehler. “It’s a very prestigious award for anyone producing films, literature or music honoring the American West and the men and women who shaped it.”

“Floating Horses” has debuted in Canada, across the United States over the last year, including California, New York, Georgia and Texas. The film was also shown several times in Tibbs’ home state of South Dakota. “We had more than 1,000 people attend the screening in Pierre last fall,” said Casey Tibbs Rodeo Center Director Cindy Bahe. “We have been honored to work with him over the last four years. Justin has worked feverishly on a cheap beer budget and crafted a top-shelf whiskey creation.”

Casey’s family and friends were interviewed for the documentary including Charlie Daniels, Steve Ford, Wyatt McCrea and two dozen others. Cole Elshere of Faith, South Dakota portrayed Casey in the film. Elshere’s costume is permanently on display at the Casey Tibbs Rodeo Center in Fort Pierre.

Past recipients of the Western Heritage Awards include such distinguished writers, actors, producers, and directors as John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, John Ford, James Stewart, J. Frank Dobie, Hal Wallis, Elmer Bernstein, Bill Kurtis, Sidney Pollack, Hugh Downs, N. Scott Momaday, Louis L’Amour, Kevin Costner, Maureen O’Hara, Red Steagall, Tom Selleck, and Sam Elliott.