True West Magazine presented Forrest Fenn, whom Newsweek called a “real-life Indiana Jones,” his True Westerner Award at an invitation-only gala held from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Arizona Inn in Tucson, Arizona, on Saturday, March 15, during the Tucson Festival of Books.
Guests included Howard Terpning, whose Western artworks have sold for more than $1 million; Craig Johnson, author of the Longmire series that informs the A&E show; Sam Gwynne, author of Empire of the Summer Moon; Stephen Harrigan, author of The Gates of the Alamo; Victoria Wilcox, author of a Doc Holliday trilogy; John Langellier, director of Arizona Historical Society’s Central Division based in Tempe.
Upon receiving his award, Fenn told guests how he had just, the weekend before, flown to a party at Suzanne Somers’ home in Palm Springs. When he arrived, his greeter was actor George Hamilton, who wanted to know about the hidden treasure and couldn’t stop asking questions about it! Singer Barry Manilow, who remembered Fenn from his gallery days, also wanted to talk treasure. Seems everyone has caught the treasure bug!
Bob Boze Bell, executive editor of True West, presented Fenn a bronze sculpture by Ed Reilly of Prescott. The award is handed out in recognition of an individual for his contribution to and preservation of America’s Western heritage.
Fenn was chosen because the longtime Santa Fe, New Mexico, collector, entrepreneur, author and artist stoked the national media fires last year with his $1 million hidden treasure hunt, which, by the way, has yet to be found. True West covered the story in its November 2013 issue.
The 83-year-old Fenn first invited readers to seek out his hidden treasure with the 2010 publication of his book, The Thrill of the Chase. His memoir, Too Far to Walk, was released in September 2013, with an updated Thrill of the Chase map.
The inaugural “True Westerner” award went to Oscar-winning screenwriters Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana at the Tucson Festival of Books in March 2013.