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Culture

Phil Stadtler might be in his mid-80s, but at 6 feet, 2 inches, he still looks like he could buck a few bales of alfalfa with little trouble. Each of his hands is as broad as an iron skillet. One eye is sky-blue, the other blind, cloudy from a long-ago ranching accident.

Charles Dayton inherited a strong connection to the American West. His ancestors, part of the Mormon migration, colonized high-mountain valleys in Idaho, Utah and Wyoming. His great-great-grandfather was a missionary to Chief Washakie and the Eastern Shoshone.

Ten years ago, Jason Rich took a chance on an art career. That gamble paid off, and today the Utah artist’s work has earned the respect of collectors, galleries and working cowboys.

Kim Ragsdale focuses on faces – character faces with wrinkles, broken teeth, no teeth and older faces. Her first drawings were of dogs, horses and cows because they’re so important in western ranch life. They weren’t child-like drawings, but were so accurate anatomically as to be mistaken for photographs.

Joe Netherwood grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the 1950s, when youngsters played cowboys and Indians and mimicked their heroes: Gene Autry and Roy Rogers. These cowboys’ western films set the stage and instilled in Netherwood a love for the West that still remains.

Bill Manns, who’s profiled in our April print feature (“Playing Cowboys with Authentic Gear”, has spent a lifetime collecting western memorabilia, much of which forms the basis for historic Old West books he creates at Zon Publishing.

Dave Hodges is about as western as a transplanted Pennsylvanian can be. Although he lived in Bradford, Pennsylvania, until graduating from high school, his yearning for the West was fueled by tales of cowboys and American Indians.