All You Need To Know!

Submit Essays By February 27, 2023

Awards Luncheon in Casper April 16, 2023

Requirements

Must be attending a high school in the state of Wyoming, or be a high school homeschooler participating through the Homeschool Organization of Wyoming (HOW), or an active member of a Boys & Girls Club in the state of Wyoming. Students can only participate in one local contest per year.

 All participants must have a teacher/sponsor to guide them through the writing process. If you do not have one, please contact the Contest Coordinator. 

The essay must be titled, between 300 and 2,000 words long, typewritten, double spaced, and focus on one of the ten Cowboy Ethics.

Sponsoring teachers must submit essays online by February 27, 2023.

Teacher/sponsors must submit the local first place winner’s photograph along with their winning essay in order to be honored. This photograph will be published in the American Dream Essay Contest booklet.

In order to receive state awards, local 1st place winners MUST ATTEND the Awards Luncheon on April 16, 2023 in Casper, Wyoming in person. If the winner is not in attendance, the prize will go to the next highest placing winner.

Students may win only one finalist prize per contest year.

A local judging conducted by each school must be held to determine the top three essays.  The BGCCW committee will then judge the local first-place essays from each high school to select the state winners.

State winners may not use their essays in other contests.

Once entered, all essays become the possession of the American Dream Essay Contest, and therefore can be distributed partially or in its entirety to media outlets as the committee deems appropriate.

944

TOTAL STUDENTS PARTICIPATED

42,000

TOTAL in cash prizes

20+

years of experience

Students

We invite you to open this door to your future as we kick off the 2022 contest. This competition is centered on bestselling author, Jim Owen’s “Ten Principles to Live By,” as highlighted in his book Cowboy Ethics. Every high school and homeschool student is invited to participate in grades 9-12 to reflect on the ten principles and write an essay based on their own personal beliefs or guiding forces.

High School students could win more than $5,000 in prizes during the ADEC Essay Contest.

Check with your local school to see if they’re participating  – OR – Call Cece Tolin @ 307.235.4079.

As you reflect on your life so far, describe how one of the “Ten Principles to Live By,” or your own personal ethical belief, has been a driving or guiding force in your life. Whether a part of your internal guidance from within, the decisions you make every day, or how they inspire the decisions you make for the benefit of your future, define ‘what it means to me’ in 300-2,000 words.


Essays will be judged primarily on content (Is the essay based on the Principles above? Does the essay show a respect for life and people? Would most people agree that this is an important law of life?) Presentation is also considered (compelling, flow, and clarity). Grammar, usage and conventions will also be considered but should not weigh heavily on how they rank.

Prizes are substantial for this contest, and each participating high school is guaranteed at least 3 winners at the local level for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.

Local High School Winners:

1st $300 | 2nd $200 | 3rd $100

State High School Winners:

1st $5,000 | 2nd $3,000 | 3rd $2,000

Honorable Mentions $1,000

  • All prize money will be distributed via EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer) to the bank of your choice. A completed Electronic Credit Application and W-9 must be submitted for prize money to be transferred. Forms included and may also be submitted via Google Forms. 
  • The Awards Luncheon will be held April 16, 2023 at the Ramkota Hotel in Casper.
  • Additionally, each Local High School 1st Place Winner will receive one free night stay at the Ramkota Hotel and Conference Center in Casper, Wyoming, for the Saturday evening before the Awards Luncheon.
  • All RSVPs for the Awards Luncheon and room reservations are due by April 1, 2023. Rooms must be canceled within 48 hours of the event or guests will be charged full amount.

Educators

We invite you to open this door for your students this year as we kick off the 2022 contest. This competition is centered on bestselling author, Jim Owen’s “Ten Principles to Live By,” as highlighted in his book Cowboy Ethics. Every high school and homeschool student is invited to participate by asking students in grades 9-12 to reflect on the ten principles and write an essay based on their own personal beliefs or guiding forces.

  1. It is your responsibility to provide your students with the necessary tools to write their essays including helping them build a solid understanding of the “Ten Principles to Live By” as described in James P. Owen’s book, Cowboy Ethics
  2. Adhere to the timeline provided.
  3. In order to receive the $300 teacher sponsor stipend, at least 15 essays or full class, whichever is highest, (including the local 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners) must be submitted. Each teacher must provide a roster for their class, no matter their class size.
  4. Submit all your essays in the google form provided on the website.
    • Upload the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place local winners individually, and all of the other essays in bulk. We need to have complete student information for all local winners in order for them to receive their prize.
  5. If more than one educator participates at one school, each teacher must submit their own essays online. Each teacher will be awarded $300 for full class participation. Awards will not be split amongst multiple teachers from one school.
  1. Assign each essay an anonymous number.
  2. Download the local judging information from the Teacher Information Packet above.
  3. Print copies of the Judging Information, the Tally Form for Judge’s Use and Judging Rubric for each judge. Only one copy of the “Final Tally of All Essays” needs to be filled out to determine winners.
  4. Each school must hold a local judging to select the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place essays from each high school.
    • The local judging must be anonymous. Proof of the judging will be the signed “Tally Form For Judge’s Use” for each judge.
    • All local judging sheets must be submitted online with your essays.
  5. The winners of the local competition will then go on to participate in the state competition. In order to receive the state awards, participants must attend the awards banquet. If the winner is not in attendance, the next highest placing contestant present will be awarded.

Prizes are substantial for this contest, and each participating high school is guaranteed at least 3 student winners at the local level for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. In appreciation of your time and effort, we provide the following incentives:

Class Participation: $300 

 

Anniversary Awards:

Additionally, you are eligible to receive the following anniversary awards:

5 years $500 | 10 years $500 | 15 years $1,000 | 25 years $2,000

 

Teacher Sponsor of State High School Winners:

If your student’s essay wins at the state level, you receive the following cash prizes:

1st $1,000 | 2nd $750 | 3rd $500

 


  • All prize money will be distributed via EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer) to the bank of your choice. A completed Electronic Credit Application and W-9 must be submitted for prize money to be transferred. Forms included and may also be submitted via Google Forms. 
  • The Awards Luncheon will be held April 16, 2023 at the Ramkota Hotel in Casper.
  • Additionally, each Local High School 1st Place Winner will receive one free night stay at the Ramkota Hotel and Conference Center in Casper, Wyoming, for the Saturday evening before the Awards Luncheon.
  • All RSVPs for the Awards Luncheon and room reservations are due by April 1, 2023. Rooms must be canceled within 48 hours of the event or guests will be charged full amount.