A little rain over Jacob Hamblin Park didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits on Thursday, August 24. The crowd that gathered for the Western Legends Meet the Stars dinner was over 200 strong, including visitors, guest stars and special honorees. The crowd was introduced to a whole roster of movie stars and talents from the film industry, along with some descendants there to accept honors in place of their family members. When a few of the faces in attendance also have named rooms over at the Parry Lodge, you know Western Legends is on in full force.
From left to right, photos by Ty Gant:
Neil Summers receiving his honors for acting and stunt work.
Dr. Buck gave a show that was equal parts comedy, and earnest well-wishes to his colleagues in the industry.
Following the national anthem, things got started as Master of Ceremonies Andy Nelson began introducing the stars - and a few of the stars had a few things to announce back about Mr. Nelson, all in good fun. The audience also heard from a few different musicians, actors and stunt artists, all honoring different people for different aspects of the industry. One such honoree was industry veteran Neil Summers, described by his colleague and fellow performer Dr. Buck as “a mentor, an icon, a legend … someone who I hope to ever be half as good as.” Such was the tone over the course of the evening, along with plenty of good old cowboy humor.
As is Kanab’s favorite way to honor the cowboy movie industry that helped the town get its start, a few stars were awarded plaques to line Kanab’s center street. This year, Arlene Dahl, Henry Silva, John Dehner and George Peppard were enshrined as Western Legends with their own plaques. Additionally, there was a special surprise plaque given to Bob and Bonnie Riding, who have a classic Kanab business and were honored for the parts they play in the Western Legends festival.
In a similar vein, this year’s special honorees were the Western Legend festival’s original founders; in honor of the 25th anniversary of Western Legends, honors were given to Denny Judd, Lyle Heyborne and Robert Houston. Said Nelson of the trio, “They are responsible for me being here … they talked me into doing this and I am ever so grateful - these men are my brothers.” He summed up the speech presenting the honors with, “Denny, Lyle and Robert had to come up with a way to preserve Kanab’s filmmaking heritage, and Western Legends was born!”