Westerners International celebrates fun, scholarship, and heritage in the American West. Historian Ray Allen Billington once remarked that there were “no stuffed shirts allowed” in a good conversation about the American West. And our programs, awards, and student scholarships honor that spirit of camaraderie.
We have a distinct style of organization. Instead of ‘chapters,’ we have ‘corrals’ or ‘posses.’ There are no presidents: the leader of a corral is called a ‘Sheriff’; the one who counts the money is a ‘Keeper of the Chips,’ and so on. We have approximately sixty corrals in the US, with over 3,000 members; and we have twenty active corrals abroad – in England, Germany, Austria, Denmark, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Japan, Sweden, and Finland.
Westerners International was started in Chicago in 1944 by Leland Case and Elmo Watson. Word spread and, soon enough, groups around the country started their own corrals. The organization spread out from the Chicago area and the headquarters – known as the Home Ranch – was later established in Tucson, Arizona, where Leland Case retired. It later moved to the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City (1988 - 2017). Today, the Home Ranch resides in the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, on the campus of West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas.
Most corrals hold monthly gatherings with fun fellowship and programs on western history. Some corrals have websites, and others publish newsletters and magazines. Many Westerners have published articles and books on Western history, heritage, and culture. Other corrals are happy to host engaging western programs for the sake of good fellowship and learning.
Westerners International also has long-standing ties with the Western History Association, an organization of scholars with an annual academic conference. Westerners International sponsors a reception at the conference, where members from across the country gather, hear new scholarship, and enjoy the annual awards and Western book auction.
If you are interested in the Old West – in the history, lore, myth, and culture of this amazing region -- you may want to join a corral near you. Requirements are few: modest dues and a desire to celebrate and learn more about the American West.
Contact us with any questions. You can read more about us in the quarterly Buckskin Bulletin. We’d be happy to see you along the trail!