Wylands Earn the First-Bestowed "9 Who Care" Award


In mid-1978, Denver television channel KBTV Channel 9 (now KUSA) launched a search for nine outstanding Colorado volunteers to be honored with the first annual "9 Who Care" award.  This award was presented in early 1979.

A board of Governors, including such notables as Bill Coors, James Richey, Mrs. Ann Love, Former Colorado Gov. John Vanderhoof, Mrs. Martin Davis, and Channel 9 on-air personalities, were assigned the task of selecting those nine people from a field of approximately 600 nominations.

The selections were completed in January of 1979.  Among the winners of the first annual "9 Who Care" awards were Westernaires founders, Mr. and Mrs. Elmer and Marjorie Wyland. Additionally, Mr. and Mrs. Wyland received the local Jefferson Award of the American Institute of Public Service.  This honor, originated in 1973 by Jackie Kennedy Onassis and Senator Robert Taft, Jr., made them eligible for selection as national winners of the prestigious honor.

In the slideshow above are a few of the letters and other materials that were collected to commemorate the selection of Mr. and Mrs. Wyland for this tribute to their selfless and tireless service.  We continue to be in awe of their single-minded determination to build a world-class organization for the youth of Jefferson County, Colorado.

Mrs. Wyland and myself consider this family tribute and award to be the greatest of our entire career because it comes from those who know the Westernaires and our work the best.

It has been a privilege to work with these young people the past 30 years and watch them grow and mature. We have used their horse love to motivate them to excel in their chosen field and through perfection to be rated as the top showmen and precision riders in the world today.

We utilize the horse as the great equalizer. He cares not about race, color, creed, financial status, or minorities and majorities. We are all equal and we ride, not as Italians, Japanese, or Chicanos, but as Americans — and that’s what this nation is all about.
— Elmer E. Wyland in his response to receiving the "9 Who Care" award