Patti Colbert is the 2011 recipient of the Fern Sawyer Award. Colbert is a member of the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame Board of Directors, is credited with creating the concept behind the Museum’s popular Cowgirl U program, and has long been an advocate for the museum among the many horse industry groups through which she has served as a leader.

She has gained her most recent accolades as Executive Director of the Mustang Heritage Foundation and the creator of the Extreme Mustang Makeover through which more than 2,000 of America’s iconic wild horses have been placed for adoption. Working in cooperation with the Museum and the Bureau of Land Management, Colbert oversaw “Camp Wildfire,” a dynamic educational program that introduced youth to the plight of America’s wild horse, as well as the work of Cowgirl Hall of Fame Honoree Velma “Wild Horse Annie” Johnston. More than 50 young people from the Dallas Fort Worth area took part in the program. The National Western Heritage Museum and Cowboy Hall of Fame, as well as the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum also hosted the program.

Furthermore, she partnered with Road to the Horse creator Tootie Bland to create “Project Cowboy” and is a national director for the American Quarter Horse Association. She formerly served as the American Quarter Horse Foundation Executive Director where she developed a number of scholarships for youth and grants for equine research. She owns Colbert Ranch, along with her husband, Joe, which offers programs for juvenile detainees and horseback riding experiences for the public.

The Fern Sawyer Award, whose namesake is a 1976 Honoree and champion cowgirl, is awarded to an individual or organization that has worked toward and contributed to the advancement of the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame.  Previous award winners include Edward P. Bass,Georgia Mae Ericson,Anne W. Marion, Van Romans and Sheila Welch.