By Marie Kelly


The 18th Annual Golden Boots Awards was held on August 5, 2000, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Previously it had been held at the Century Plaza Hotel and the change pleased us very much. The seating was on the same level as the stage and close enough to see the people there. We were about 20 feet from a huge monitor.

Rob Word, a Western artist who has produced and directed other Golden Boot Awards, opened the ceremonies by introducing Hugh O'Brian and then many other stars who joined him on stage. These people were all previous winners of the Awards and far too many to name, even if I could remember. When all were on stage, Peter Brown presented the flag accompanied by bagpipe and drummer. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Senator Max McClelland who was a personal friend of Clayton.

Dale Robertson was the emcee and did a very fine job including humorous anecdotes. The evening was dedicated to Clayton's memory. When he received the Founders Award 2 years ago, there were many clips from his entire career including some rather obscure ones. This time the focus was the Lone Ranger series and that evening 2 years ago as he recited the creed and thanked everyone for the honor.

Rand Brooks, a close friend of Clayton, presented the tribute, saying that Clayton had many friends, but not many close ones; that he never said a bad word about anyone; and he was devoted to his family. He also told anecdotes about their early days in Hollywood when money was in very short supply. He also said they started at MGM and then moved up to Republic Studios...

The Founders Award was presented to Dale Evans this night. She gave the invocation as she usually does, and they showed some clips from movies with her and Roy. When she was being wheeled to her table for dinner, I said "There's Dale" and she turned and gave me a wave. Bobby Blake made the presentation to Dale and he was very humorous and respectful and touching all at the same time. They were good friends at Republic.

GOLDEN BOOT AWARD Nominees were:

Tom Berenger presented by Sam Elliott
Robert Stack and presented by Ann Miller
Melissa Gilbert presented by her husband, Bruce Boxleitner
L. Q. Jones, presented by Ernest Borgnine (he was wonderful)
Donna Hall (stuntwoman) presented by Dick Jones
Howard W. Koch presented by Clint Walker

A special BACKBONE OF THE "B'S" WESTERNS award was presented by Peggy Stewart to: Gregg Barton, Myron Healey, House Peters, Jr., and Walter Reed.

Rex Allen, Jr. was the entertainer during dinner and he made some touching and reverant comments about his father. There was also a series of clips of the stars who had passed on during the year, a litany of so many greats that made westerns so wonderful.

There was a silent auction of hundreds of items donated such as my favorites:

A limited edition original print by Rob Word
A print of Clayton by Katie West and signed by him
A print covering Clayton's career overall
A print of many deceased western stars called the White Hat Posse (I did manage to win that myself)

There were two treasures for auction: a Stetson signed by many many western stars and a very fragile parchment of all the folks on When the West Was Fun with signatures by all of them. Other items were of Hoppy, Roy and Dale, Gene, Clint Walker, etc. All of which were desirable for any collector.

The onstage auction featured a one-of-a-kind Colt 45 that became a two-man duel and finally went for just over $18,000. There was a huge enlarged photo of Dale and friends called Queen of the Westerns and Her Court. She has a couple of ropes around her waist and they are being pulled by Roy, Allan Lane, Don Barry, Bob Livingston and Sunset Carson with their signatures matted in the frame went to a lucky bidder for $5,000. Two guns owned by Roy and Dale were sold for over $5,000.

This is a benefit event for the Motion Picture Foundation Home that is open to anyone connected with the business from the biggest stars to the stage hands etc. for retirement and for health care. Jay Silverheels died at the home in 1980.

There were 2 programs this year. The regular one featured Clayton and Silver on the cover and inside a wonderful tribute to Clayton by Rob Word and a loving tribute to Dale with bios and photos of the nominees and presenters. The second book is a compilation of candids from the previous Boot Awards show and really a treasure, too.

I have tried to cover the highlights and create an image for you of what exciting events these are and I wish anyone who still loves the participants and the movies could attend and tell these wonderful people how much we enjoyed their efforts and the memories they gave us.

On the following Friday night, August 11, we went to the Hollywood Bowl for the Great American Concert which was a tribute to California on its birthday. It was impressive as it was my first time there. The audience was attentive and very responsive. The maestro announced that Dawn was in the audience and since it was such a great and worthy tribute to Clayton, I was very happy to hear that she was there. Steve has a wonderful article on this site you may have seen regarding this night and written by Barry Woodbridge. I can only add amen to his description.

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