• Sandy Sallee receives Academy of Western Artists Award

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    The Academy of Western Artists is proud to announce this year’s Buck Ramsey Cowgirl Poet of the Year.

    Sandy Seaton Sallee, Emigrant, MT, grew up in Yellowstone National Park, where she rode horseback among the elk and drove four-up stagecoaches. After cowboying in New Mexico, she returned to her native Montana where she met her future husband, Scott Sallee, in a wilderness hunting camp. Sandy and Scott now own and operate Black Mountain Outfitters, a wilderness and ranch outfitting business. Sandy’s original western writing has been featured in magazines, gatherings, and shows across America and Canada.

    Sandy has been inducted into the Montana Poet Hall of Fame, and has been an invited performer at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering a number of times since her first appearance there in 1990.

    Presentations for the 21st Annual Will Rogers Awards were March 16, 2017 in the Brown Lupton Ballroom at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas.

    Sandy’s Biography

    Sandy Seaton Sallee writes and rides from her log home above the Yellowstone River in Paradise Valley, Montana. Sandy grew up in Yellowstone National Park, where she and her family lived in the historic mail carrier’s cabin built in the late 1800’s. She often walked the adventurous five miles (downhill) to school, where she was chased by an angry wolverine and dodged thundering bison. Sandy always carried her harmonica, and one day when a startled grizzly reared up swaying on his hind legs to check her out she hit a high note and he hit the trail. Sandy did not own her own horse, but would borrow horses from neighboring ranchers to ride. She loved riding among massive herds of migrating elk, and mingling with deer and antelope on horseback. Sandy always dreamed of being a cowboy, and would practice roping one of her mom’s kitchen chairs for hours on end. Sandy got a job the summer in her senior year of high school driving four-up stagecoaches at Roosevelt Lodge. After college, Sandy went to work in a feedlot in New Mexico. Following that experience, she cowboyed on southwestern ranches where she learned about Brahma cattle and tying hard and fast. After one branding where the cactus was thick and the rattlesnakes thicker, Sandy decided to return to her native Montana. She got a job in a high mountain hunting camp in the wilderness north of Yellowstone. Early one morning a tall cowboy in a black hat came galloping into camp wrangling the loose horses and mules. His bullwhip was popping like rifle shots slicing the darkness. His name was Scott Sallee.

    Sandy fell in love! She and Scott hadn’t been together long when she got bucked off heading a steer. Sandy was knocked out but when she revived Scott told her she roped better after the concussion. She didn’t remember the incident, but doctors said she was fine. Sandy kept working for a year and a half, still riding colts and hunting hounds. She often blacked out and couldn’t drive anymore as she was losing her perception. Finally Scott checked her into a hospital. It was discovered she had broken C2, the “hangman’s fracture”, and it was a blessing she lived. Her neck was wired together with bone from her hip and Sandy started the long road to recovery. For a long time Scott would rotate her on a piece of plywood to wash and braid her hair. Sandy now considers every day a gift, and feels blessed she still has the ability to ride, work, write, and dream. Sandy and Scott own and operate Black Mountain Outfitters, a wilderness and ranch outfitting business. They also manage Slough Creek Outfitters fishing camp north of Yellowstone Park. Sandy spends several months each summer and early fall living in a wall tent in their wilderness camp while they are entertaining clients. She is happiest in a million acres of wild lands filled with wild animals, and really enjoys sharing the soul of the wilderness with their guests. Many have never seen the stars without city lights glaring. Sandy enjoys riding with guests to a nearly 10,000 foot ridge and watching them when they first glimpse the seemingly unending gorgeous vistas of protected mountains, rivers and valleys. Sandy has their Airedale Terrier camp dogs for protection and company in camp. The Airedales have been known to start roaring in the middle of the night and ram into a grizzly bear at high speed to run them off. When Sandy is in camp with the dogs and their dozens of mules and horses, she is never lonely.

    Sandy has always loved to write, and considers it a God-given talent. Sandy recited her poems at the first Montana Cowboy Gathering back in 1986. She’s performed at cowboy poetry gatherings in Big Timber, Lewistown, Monterey, Pincher Creek, Medora, Durango, Cody, Sierra Vista, and Kamloops, Canada. She has often been a featured performer and emcee at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering held annually in Elko, Nevada.

    Sandy’s western stories and poems been published in Western Horseman, Montana Outdoors, Bugle, Range, Country, Montana Sporting Journal, Country America, Coonhound Bloodlines, Full Cry, The Wall Street Journal, and other magazines and newspapers. Sandy was invited to the National Folklife Festival in 2009 to give a packing demonstration and perform her poetry. She was one of the featured poets on John Denver’s 1991 Christmas TV Special, “Blue Montana Skies”. In 1992, Governor Stan Stephens inducted Sandy into the Montana Poets Hall of Fame. Sandy’s work has been published in several cowboy poetry anthologies. She appeared and recited poetry in videos for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and Montana Outfitters and Guides Association. Sandy is the author of “The Yellowstone Poet, Volumes I and II”, a CD, “Montana Legacy”, and “Magic Montana” a hardbound book of poetry illustrated by her husband Scott’s dazzling photography. The Academy of Western Artists chose Sandy for the Buck Ramsey award as the top cowgirl poet in the nation in 2016.

    Sandy’s life is a joyful celebration of the western lifestyle.

    I was born a Poet
    Verse runs in my blood
    When I hold a pencil
    The words rush in a flood

    I cut them out and sort them
    Run them “In!” and “By!”
    Corral the ones worth keeping
    Then let the sonnets fly.

    I was born a Poet
    The rhymes stampede my mind
    Loping through my conscience
    Untrack them and I find

    The words line out on paper
    They sunfish and they slide
    Spinning, bucking, bolting
    They take me for a ride.

    I was born a Poet
    The beat drums in my soul
    Syllables and cadence
    Just make this cowgirl whole.

    Yes, I was born a Poet
    The wilderness my home
    To be chosen – here – in Texas
    That’s the heartbeat of my poem.

5 Microwave Hill Road Suite I
Montana City, MT 59634
Ph: (406) 449-3578 / Fax: (406) 449-9769