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Downtown Laramie, Wyoming

What’s a Laramie?

We thought you’d never ask!

We titled the Chanticleer International Book Awards (CIBAs) division for Western American Fiction and all things that gather around the campfire singing a lonesome tune, the Laramie Awards, after the county and city in Wyoming. You know the one, tucked into the lower right-hand corner of the state…

Yes, but why Laramie?

There are several reasons we chose Laramie for our iconically American Book Awards. For us, and those in the know, Laramie, Wyoming immediately calls to mind the image of a Wild West town filled with rough-and-tumble cowboys. At one point, the only law in Laramie was “lawlessness. Wild Bill Hickok was even known to visit from time to time.

Here’s a picture of the man, himself, on the left with his friends, Texas Jack Omohundro (center), and Buffalo Bill Cody on the right.

But that’s not the only reason we chose Laramie.

And, yes, there is yet one more reason we love Laramie! 


Calamity Jane hails from Laramie, Wyoming – a skilled sharpshooter who was born to a gambler and a prostitute. She cared for her five younger siblings in Utah before traveling on to Wyoming in search of a better life. There she found work as a dance hall girl and then as a prostitute at Fort Laramie. It was there that she reinvented herself by wearing buckskins and dressing like a man. She was also known for her swearing and hard-drinking ways, but Calamity Jane was also known even more for her kind heart and helping folks out of calamities–thus her nickname.

Calamity Jane

While the men were wrestling in the streets and shooting up the place, it was really the women who brought civilization to Laramie and Wyoming Territory. They established the first school in 1869, served on a formal jury in the Spring of 1870,  and were the first to gain the vote; which is exactly what Louisa Swain and 92 of her friends did on September 6, 1870 – 150 years ago!

Louisa Swain – she was made of stern stuff!

Early in the morning on September 6, 1870 in Laramie, Wyoming Louisa Swain became the first woman in the world to cast a ballot under democratically enacted laws granting women equal political rights with men. In the fall of 2008, 138 years later, the U.S. Congress passes a resolution proclaiming September 6th as “Louisa Swain Day” in recognition of this historic event. The Loiusa Swain Foundation

In 1870, Esther Hobart Morris (59 years old) became the first female Justice of the Peace. She served in South Pass City, Wyoming, which is to the northwest of Laramie.

Esther Morris "to pettifoggers she showed no mercy." Wyoming Tribune

Esther Morris “to pettifoggers she showed no mercy.” Wyoming Tribune

The Union’s first all-female jury was assembled in Wyoming in 1870.

Later, in 1894, Estelle Reel Meyer became Superintendent of Public Instruction, the country’s first female statewide elected official.

And the grand coup d’etat was when in 1889 when Wyoming vied for statehood—and refused to join the Union if the laws giving equality to women were not upheld, telling Congress (which wanted the suffrage law rescinded) via telegram,

“We will remain out of the Union 100 years rather than come in without the women.”

Wyoming is also the first state in the USA to allow women to own property and sign legal documents.

Quotes are from the Smithsonian Magazine
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That, Chanticleerians, is why we love Laramie and have championed the name for our most iconic American awards group, The LARAMIE AWARDS. There is nothing better than the Wild West, Women’s Suffragette Success stories, Cowboys and Indians, History and Adventure all coming together with a true sense of the American West! 

So, it is with pride we sponsor  the LARAMIE Book Awards for American Western Fiction


Western Pioneeer Civil War Fiction Award

Painting by C.M. Russell

Charles M. Russell painted the cowboy seen on Chanticleer’s very own Laramie contest badge. It is one of many such paintings he did that encompassed the Old American Wild West. An advocate for the Native Americans, Charles M. Russell also helped establish a reservation in Montana for the Chippewa people.

The Laramie Book Awards for American Western Fiction Hall of Fame First Place and Grand Prize winners!

2018 Laramie Book Awards for American Western Fiction First in Category Winners

  • Living Where the Rabbits Dance by Jr. R. Collins
  • Promise of Tomorrow  by TK Conklin
  • Chasing Demons   by John Hansen
  • A Female Doctor in the Civil War  Richard Alan
  • Splintered by Curt Locklear   

The 2018 Laramie Book Awards Grand Prize:

Blood Moon: A Captive’s Tale by Ruth Hull Chatlien


2017 Laramie Book Awards for American Western Fiction First in Category Winners

  • Grasshoppers at Dusk by Kiki Watkins
  • Mist-chi-mus: A Novel of Captivity by J.L. Oakley
  • Sacrificial Lions by John Simons/David Simons
  • The Hour Glass by Michelle Rene
  • Away at War: A Civil War Story of the Family Left Behind by Nick K. Adams
  • Threads of Passion by T.K. Conklin
  • Desertion by Michael Aloysius O’Reilly
  • Death in the Black Patch by Bruce Wilson     

The 2017 Laramie Book Awards Grand Prize:

HOUR GLASS by Michelle Rene

2016 Laramie Book Awards for American Western Fiction First in Category Winners

  • Western Romance: Seize the Flame by Lynda J Cox
  • Prairie/First Nation: Big Horse Woman by Barbara Salvatore
  • Classic Western (Manuscript): Clevenger Gold: The True Story of Murder and Unfound Treasure by Scott Eldon Swapp
  • Contemporary Westerns: Improbable Fortunes by Jeffrey Price
  • Civil War: Lincoln’s Hat by David Selcer
  • Adventure/Caper: Hot Work in Fry Pan Gulch (Honey Beaulieu – Man Hunter) by Jacquie Rogers

The 2016 Laramie Book Awards Grand Prize:

Hot Work in Fry Pan Gulch: Honey Beaulieu – Man Hunter #1 by Jacquie Rogers




2015 Laramie Book Awards for American Western Fiction First in Category Winners

  • Adventure/Drama: Martha Conway – Thieving Forest
  • Classic: McKendree Long – Higher Ground
  • Prairie: Alethea Williams – Walls for the Wind
  • Debut: Lynda J. Cox – The Devil’s Own Desperado
  • Romance: Kristy McCaffrey – The Blackbird
  • Mystery: Linell Jeppsen – Second Chance

The 2015 Laramie Book Awards Grand Prize:

Doctor Kinneys Housekeeper - Sara Dahmen

Doctor Kinney’s Housekeeper by Sara Dahmen


2014 Laramie Book Awards for American Western Fiction First in Category Winners

  • Historical: Rebecca Rockwell for The Last Desperado 
  • Romance/Dramatic: Jacqui Nelson for Between Heaven and Hell 
  • Romance/Comedy: Jacquie Rogers for Much Ado About Miners
  • Contemporary Western: Jared McVay for Not on My Mountain
  • Adventure: Lorrie Farrelly  for Terms of Surrender
  • Classic: Ken Farmer and Buck Stienke for Nations
  • Debut Novel: Juliette Douglas for Freckled Venom Copperhead
  • Civil War: Christi Corbett for Along the Way Home
  • YA: Elisabeth Ward for Wolf Eye’s Silence
  • Blended Genre: Peggy L. Henderson for Come Home to Me
  • Drama: Michael J. Rouche for A River Divides: Book Two of Beyond the Wood
  • Literary Western: Theo Czuk for Heart-Scarred

The 2014 Laramie Book Awards Grand Prize:

Not on My Mountain Jared McVay

Not On My Mountain by Jared McVay


Congratulations to the Laramie Awards 2013 1st Place Category Winners:

  • Mystery:  Double or Nothing by Meg Mims
  • Action/Adventure:  Haunted Falls by Ken Farmer & Buck Stienke
  • Historical Fiction:  Because of the Camels by Brenda Blair
  • Civil War:  Ford at Valverde by Anita Melillo
  • Prairie Pioneer:  They Rode Good Horses by Dale B. Jackson
  • Literary Western:  Unbroke Horses by Dale B. Jackson
  • First Novel:  Confessions of  a Gunfighter by Tell Cotten
  • Best Manuscript: “Lick Creek” by Deborah Lincoln

The 2013 Laramie Book Awards Grand Prize:

Unbroke Horses clean

Unbroken Horses by Dale B. Jackson




HOW DO YOU HAVE YOUR BOOKS COMPETE? Submit them to the Chanticleer International Book Awards – Click here for more information about The CIBAs! 

Western Pioneeer Civil War Fiction Award

Want to be a winner next year? The deadline to submit your book for the 2019 Laramie awards is July 31, 2019. Enter here!

Grand Prize and First Place Winners for 2019 will be announced on April 18, 2020.

Any entries received on or after July 31, 2019, will be entered into the 2020 Laramie Book Awards. The Grand Prize and First Place for 2020 CIBA winners will be held on April 17, 2021.

 As our deadline draws near, don’t miss this opportunity to earn the distinction your American Western readers deserve!  Enter today!

The LARAMIE Book Awards is a division of the Chanticleer International Book Awards – the CIBAs.

The 2019 winners will be announced at the CIBA  Awards Ceremony on April 18, 2020,  that will take place during the 2020 Chanticleer Authors Conference. All Semi-Finalists and First Place category winners will be recognized, the first place winners will be whisked up on stage to receive their custom ribbon and wait to see who among them will take home the Grand Prize. It’s an exciting evening of dinner, networking, and celebrations! 

Don’t delay! Enter today!  

As always, please do not hesitate to contact us with questions, concerns, or suggestions at

[20] McDougall, Walt, “Pictures in the Papers,” American Mercury, 6:21 (September 1925), 72.