Welcome students!

Click on the tabs below to explore the contest information for students. Please review the requirements carefully.





1. Must be attending high school in the state of Wyoming, or a high school homeschooler participating through the Homeschool Organization of Wyoming (HOW), or through a participating Boys & Girls Clubs in the state of Wyoming.

2. All participants must have a teacher sponsor/educator to guide them through the writing process. If you wish to participate, but do not have a teacher sponsor, please contact contest coordinator, Sherman Hill at (307) 473-5553 or shill@bgccw.org.

3. In order to receive State Awards, 1st place winners must attend the Awards Banquet – Sunday, April 15, 2018 in Casper. If the winner is not in attendance, the prize will go to the next highest placing contestant.

1. Essays must be original and inspired by the writing prompt.

2. Essays must be titled and between 300-2,000 words in length.

3. Essays must be typed and double-spaced.

4. Local first place winners must submit a photograph of themselves along with their winning essay in order to be honored at the Awards Banquet in April. The photo will be published in The American Dream Essay Contest booklet.

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

Additionally, each 1st place Local High School Winner and their family will receive one free night stay at the Ramkota Hotel, in Casper, WY for the evening before the April Banquet. The winner and their family must RSVP to the contest coordinator to receive the hotel stay.

All RSVP’s are due for the Awards Banquet and room reservations by (date to TBD).

Take a moment to read and reflect upon the “Ten Principles to Live By” as described in James P. Owen’s book, Cowboy Ethics:

1. LIVE EACH DAY WITH COURAGE

2. TAKE PRIDE IN YOUR WORK

3. ALWAYS FINISH WHAT YOU START

4. DO WHAT HAS TO BE DONE

5. BE TOUGH, BUT FAIR

6. WHEN YOU MAKE A PROMISE, KEEP IT

7. RIDE FOR THE BRAND

8. TALK LESS AND SAY MORE

9. REMEMBER THAT SOME THINGS AREN’T FOR SALE

10. KNOW WHERE TO DRAW THE LINE

11. CREATE YOUR OWN PERSONAL ETHICAL BELIEF

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.