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Saugus Man Garners 2 Awards at WMAs

LEON WORDEN / SCVNEWS.COM

Songwriter Les Buffham of Saugus picked up two awards Saturday night at the Western Music Association’s annual awards show in the historic  KiMo Theatre in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Buffham was named Male Poet of the Year, while his song, “No Wilder Place,” which he co-wrote with singer Mary Kaye, was named Song of the Year.

It’s starting to become routine for Buffham, who won his first WMA Song of the Year award in 1997 for “Below the Kinny Rim,” which he co-wrote with Michael Fleming, who organizes Santa Clarita’s annual Cowboy Festival.

Other Santa Claritans nominated for WMA awards this year were the crew from “Around the Barn,” the Western-themed radio show on AM-1220 KHTS. It was the second nomination in as many years for “Barn” hosts Nancy Pitchford, Bobbi Jean Bell, Julie Pomilia and KHTS engineer Mike Dowler.

But the award for Radio Program of the Year went to singer-songwriter Marvin O’Dell’s show, “Around the Campfire,” out of Palm Desert.

Mary Kaye (left) and Belinda Gail

“The awards show was top notch and the competition in every category was fierce,” said Bell, who served on a panel with other radio personalities during the five-day event.

She said a number of other Santa Claritans also performed during the week, including singer-songwriter John Bergstrom, Gency Brown and Joe Herrington, who was nominated for Male Poet of the Year. Herrington, of Canyon Country, led a well-attended two-hour workshop on “Cowboy Poetry and the Power of Story,” Bell said.

Several artists who’ve performed this year at Bell’s OutWest Boutique in Newhall – and who’ve been featured in SCVTV’s OutWest Concert Series (http://outwest.scvtv.com) – came away with top awards.


Big winner: Dave Stamey.

Heading that list is Belinda Gail, who was named Female Performer of the Year, followed by Mary Kaye Knaphus as co-Songwriter of the Year (with Buffham);  Devon Dawson and Jessie Robertson (aka Miss Dawson and the Outlaw) as Harmony Duo of the Year; and young Kristyn Harris, who won the Crescendo Award (rising star).

The big winner of the night was Dave Stamey, who has performed many times at the Santa Clarita festival, including this year. He came away with four awards: Entertainer of the Year, Male Performer of the Year, Songwriter of the Year and Western Album of the Year (“Twelve Mile Road”).


Mary Kaye (center) with Bobbi Jean Bell (left) and Gency Brown at Bobbi’s shop in Newhall.

Rounding out the list of winners were Patty Clayton for Western Swing Album of the Year (“Dancin’ in Denver”); Rich O’Brien, Instrumentalist of the Year; Susie Knight, Cowboy Poetry CD of the Year (“Western Wordsmith”); Yvonne Hollenbeck, Cowboy Poetry Book of the Year “Christmas on the Range”); Sam DeLeeuw, Female Poet of the Year; and Red Hot Rhythm Rustlers, Group of the Year.

The Curly Musgrave Silver Buckle Award went to Janet McBride. Dick Foran and Ken and Nora Griffis were inducted into the WMA Hall of Fame.

WMA fans in Newhall should keep an eye out for Barry Ward, who was nominated for Male Performer of the Year, Songwriter of the Year and Album of the Year (“West of Dodge”). Ward is scheduled to appear on the OutWest stage Feb. 16, 2013, as part of SCVTV’s OutWest Concert Series.