Many people do not realize the National Cowboy Symposium & Celebration, Inc.® is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization. The organization’s goal is to preserve our Western heritage and cowboy culture. We do this by producing an annual National Cowboy Symposium and Celebration® event.  The 31st Anniversary event will be held September 6 thru 8 at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center.

The NCSC celebrates Western heritage and cowboy culture for those who know and love it, and introduces new audiences to the heritage and culture so they may embrace it as well. The event schedule includes musical entertainers, poetry and storytelling, Western writers and authors panels, film and movie seminars, a Youth Wild West Day, horse-handling demonstrations, a horse-themed parade, Native American activities and presentations, the ever-popular National Championship Chuck Wagon Cookoff®, and exhibits of Western artworks and merchandise.

The Inaugural National Cowboy Symposium and Celebration

In 1987, Alvin G. Davis participated in the event at Alpine, Texas, as a cowboy poet.  He immediately decided to start a comparable event in Lubbock. Mr. Davis, in tandem with a group of like-minded folks, formed an Advisory Board and organized the first NCSC June 2-4, 1989, on the campus of Texas Tech University.

Attendance: 3,000 people

The Second Annual National Cowboy Symposium and Celebration

The second NCSC was held the following year with an additional day of festivities and an evening dance.

Attendance ballooned to 5,000, and space for entertainers, exhibitors, and participants was at a premium.

The Third Annual National Cowboy Symposium and Celebration

The third NCSC, in 1991, saw the start of commemorative photos for participants.

This was also the first time American Cowboy Culture Awards (ACCA) were presented.  The awards were sponsored by Wrangler, Inc. and the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.

Attendance was around 10,000.

The Fourth Annual National Cowboy Symposium and Celebration

The fourth NCSC, in 1992, included a chuck wagon “cookoff” at the Ranching Heritage Center.

The Fifth Annual National Cowboy Symposium and Celebration

In 1993, due to a lack of event and parking space, the fifth NCSC was moved to the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center.

This particular NCSC included international participation, with panels featuring French and German cowboy connections, and included a review of the works of the German writer Karl May.

Participation grew to 225 artists, writers, and musicians, and the chuck wagon cookoff subsequently ran a competition for Best Chili as well as the Best Brisket and Beans.

The 18th Annual National Cowboy Symposium and Celebration

The National Cowboy Symposium & Celebration incorporated and received a non-profit tax status in its own right and serves as the primary sponsor of the annual event.

First Edition Book

The First Edition of the National Cowboy Symposium & Celebration (NCSC) book is now available for sale to vendors and the public! Supplies are limited, so don’t miss this opportunity to own the definitive chronicle of the country’s premier Western-cowboy cultural event: and event more than two decades in the making.

The First Edition’s account of the NCSC offers a detailed history of the event’s purpose, participants, activities, and relevance to the American West. Its author is Richard Slatta, Ph.D., a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and a thirty-year professor of history at North Carolina State University. Professor Slatta is the author of nine other books, including Cowboys of the Americas (a Western Heritage Wrangler Award winner) and The Cowboy Encyclopedia (recommended as a best-reference book by both the Library Journal and the American Library Association).

Award winning novelist Elmer Kelton presents the NCSC First Edition’s nostalgic welcome. Kelton attended the National Cowboy Symposium & Celebration personally for 18 years, honoring the preservation of America’s cowboy heritage as he served on the NCSC’s Western Writers Panel. In Kelton’s words, “The cowboy has become an icon, a symbol of what has been and is still best about America.”

Often acclaimed as Mr. Cowboy Culture, NCSC founder Alvin G. Davis provides the book’s foreword. Davis’ dedication and passion for the American West are a testament to the event’s success, to say nothing of the event’s longevity, many international friends and associates, and the one-of-a-kind historical and cultural opportunities the NCSC presents each year in Lubbock, Texas.

The First Edition contains 176 pages of manuscript, interviews, and quotes on topics such as the multicultural West, equestrian activities, chuck wagons, rodeos, ranch life, musicians, artists, actors, writers, scholars, and publishers; over 200 pictures; a comprehensive twenty-year listing of American Cowboy Culture Award winners; and handsome hardcover featuring Western art by Wayne Baize.

Corporate Board

Monica Hightower

Chair and Executive Director

Doug Criswell

Alvin G. Davis

Todd Davis

Farris Hightower

Jay Hoes

W. Calloway Huffmaker

Darrell Miller

Ron Mouser

Mike Querner

Paul Stonum

Kathy Stonum

A Special Thanks to...

Lodge Mfg. Co.
Cal-Maine Foods
Hurst Farm Supply
Robert Heath Trucking
PYCO Industries
Casserole Beans
Handy Can
Southwest Dairy Farmers
City Bank
Lubbock Avalanche-Journal
Visit Lubbock
Tuff Shed
Family Powersports
HX Chuck Wagon
Cornerstone Group, Inc.
Boy Scout Troop 157
Raider Red Meats
Lubbock Rent All and Supply
Southwest Zimmatic Dealers
Aqua One
Artic Glacier Ice Co.
Lubbock Camera Club
The Volunteer Center of Lubbock