Denny Bertrand didn’t always know he could write.
In fact, the 64-year-old semi-retired Cortez resident didn’t publish his first book – Western Poetry with a Cowboy Flair – until 2010. That was the book that earned him his first Will Rogers Medallion Award for Western Humor writing.
And now his second book, Somewhere Outwest: Petey and Cecil, has earned Bertrand his second Will Rogers award, and a third book is being published now.
The annual Will Rogers Medallion Award, according to its website, “recognizes excellence in Western literature and media.” Rogers himself was a writer and cowboy entertainer whose work “embodied and demonstrated the traditions and values of the American cowboy.”
Somewhere Outwest tells the story of Petey McGuillicuddy, a cowboy who works for The Grazing Association with his friend Cecil. The two are working guys, and their stories? “Some parts may be true and some not, that’s up to you to decide,” Bertrand instructs us in the book’s introduction.
While Bertrand is hard at work on new material, it’s something he’s enjoying.
“It’s all new to me. I don’t have any writing background whatsoever,” he said. “But ... I never could really say what I wanted to, and I got to thinking one day, ‘Why don’t I just write some cowboy short stories?’ And I kicked it around, and then I started writing a little bit, and I came up with these two characters, which, people who know me they’ll figure out who it is before long. It’s a lot of fiction, some truth and a bunch of lies.”