WWHA 2010 Roundup


By Sharon Cunningham

   The Wild West History Association (WWHA) is the result of uniting in 2008 the two great 20th century Wild West history organizations... NOLA and WOLA. WWHA is everything each of them was... and more. Members of this association indulge a love of the history and lore of the Wild West and allow members the opportunity to share what we know, to learn from one another and to enjoy the fellowship of those with similar interests. When WWHA members get together, there is no lull in the conversation!

   As WWHA has grown during the past two years, so has its annual members’ meeting. The 2010 Roundup, held at the Inn of the Mountain Gods in Mescalero, New Mexico, was, naturally, focused on the Lincoln County War, Billy, the Kid and Pat Garrett. Seminars and Papers delivered during the four-day affair were presented by some of Lincoln County history’s most well-known researchers and writers to a record WWHA audience of over 320.

   One of the organization’s primary goals is to award primary research in non-fiction Wild West history writing. Following is a thumbnail view of the 2010 recipients of the WWHA Article(s) of the Year and the Book of the Year Awards, the WWHA Grant/Scholarship awardee and two special Wild West History Association awards given each year to those chosen by the president of the association and the chair of the awards committee.




Absolute winner of the WWHA 2010 Live Auction is our good friend Jim Esley (L) of Waxahatchie, Texas. With him (R) is Ron Ligon of Franklin, Tennessee, a member of WWHA's Board of Directors and the very generous man who finds and donates some of the collector items for the Live Auction. This year these items were a .41 Colt Thunderer, the Colt Manufacturing Company's double action revolver first made in 1877. Jim's new prize is serial # 68772, all parts carry matching numbers, and retains its original patina. It was manufactured in 1888, is of the type sometimes carried by Billy, the Kid.*

This gun was engraved by Weldon Lister of Boerne, Texas, a member of the Firearms Engravers Guild of America. The revolver carries the following Lister engraving: Barrel - July 2010 – New Mexico. On the backstrap: Round Up III – Wild West History Association. On the left side of the gun's receiver is Lister's masterwork, a bust of Billy, the Kid; Weldon used as a pattern the only known photograph of Billy, the famous standing "left-handed" photo.

A special etched glass/wooden case was made for this revolver by Les Yoder of Brookfield, Inc., in Coopersville, Michigan. This company makes all the presentation cases for the Colt Firearms Company.

*This .41 Thunderer has been authenticated as of the type Billy, the Kid would have sometimes carried and used by two prominent Colt collectors, Colonel William Boney of Texas, and Mr. Kurt House, an official with the Colt Collectors Association.

Jim Esley also was the winning bidder on a single 3 1/2" blade collector knife. Engraved on one side of the handle is a depiction of Billy, the Kid with his name inscribed underneath. The reverse side has inset in the wood a medallion of the Franklin Mint logo. Engraved on this side of the handle is: Wild West History Association, Round Up #3 – 2010 – New Mexico.

The knife is from a special series, "The Lawmen and Outlaws of the Old West, issued in a limited edition from the Franklin Mint about 25 years ago. It was purchased by Ron Ligon at a Colt Collector Association Annual Meeting and donated with the above Colt revolver for the WWHA Live Auction.

Jim Esley & Ron Ligon
Photo by Dan Patterson

For more information about Wild West History Association visit the website at http://www.wildwesthistory.org