When Will Rogers died 80 years ago this month, the world lost a phenomenal figure.
The “Cowboy Philosopher” from Oklahoma was an expert trick roper, star of stage, screen and radio, book author, newspaper columnist, aviation enthusiast, goodwill ambassador and humanitarian. Authorities generally agree it would be difficult, if not impossible, to replace him. But his legacy is being kept alive and writers have an opportunity to take part in this important enterprise through the Will Rogers Writing Contest.
During the month of August this wide-open competition will seek to identify individuals who can write in the style of the philosopher-humorist whose words are still alive as when he kept America laughing, and thinking, in the 1920s and ‘30s.
Cash prizes will be awarded the three top winners of the contest, which is sponsored by the Will Rogers Writers Foundation.
Robert Haught, foundation president, said the contest, which originated with the 2007 Will Rogers Writers Workshop in Oklahoma City, is being revived in observation of the 80th anniversary of Rogers’ death on August 15, 1935, in a plane crash in Alaska.
To enter the contest writers will submit an essay of 500 to 750 words written in the style of Will Rogers. It may take the form of humor, commentary, human interest or briefs. The essay should be on a current (or timeless) topic. Essays must be original, in English. Entries will not be returned. Entries must include the writer’s name, mailing address and email address. Telephone and fax numbers are optional.
This information should be separate from the essay. It will not be seen by the judges. No more than three essays per entrant will be accepted, and each must be a separate entry. There is no entry fee.
Contest entries may be submitted in one of two ways:
- Mail to: Will Rogers Contest, P.O. Box 1582, Madison, VA 22727 or
- Email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Entries must be submitted to reach either of the above addresses no later than Sept. 1, 2015.
For more information and samples of Will Rogers’ writings, see Will Rogers, Writer” on Haught’s website.
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This article first was published in the August 2015 edition of the member newsletter The Columnist.