The ACWA Board of Directors, its officers and members would like to welcome you to the online home of the American Chuck Wagon Association, a 501.c.3 organization.
The American Chuck Wagon Association started out as a small group of Old West enthusiasts and has expanded to world wide association preserving the American past through competitions, demonstrations, charity and school events and other venues.
Our work is funded by sponsorships (see the power point presentation shown below-right); tax-free donations, honorariums and memorials
(We are a 501.c.3 organization);
cookbook, note card & cap sales in our General Store (go shopping), as well as membership dues.
For donations, honorariums and memorials, you may send a check to:
ACWA, 1723 East Tate Street, Brownfield, TX 79316 or call Nancy Sparks at (806)215-7851 with credit card information. For Honorariums and Memorials, please include the name of the person remembered/honored, and address for a thank you card.
Our youth are our future and the ACWA supports activities directly involving them. We encourage producers to offer youth
competition at their cook offs whenever possible. Many of our cooking crews include young people at the cook offs.
The Association also periodically honors an outstanding young cook with the Rookie of the Year award.
In addition, the ACWA offers scholarships (read more) to selected individuals each year. If interested, download an application here. Scholarship recipient for the upcoming school year is Maria Rubio from Harrison, Arkansas. One of our recipients recently sent an update you may read here.
Another way to involve and educate our youth is with demonstrations. At one cook off, invitations were given to area schools to come on Friday. There were busloads coming and going a good portion of the day. The students were wonderful and the three host wagons enjoyed sharing their camps and telling a little about the history of the chuck wagon and the trail drives.
Want to take home some of that authentic, Old West taste and style? Now you can with ACWA Cookbooks, beautiful note cards and caps!
Many of our members offer catering services. Check out the link above to contact one of them about bringing some of the finest chuck wagon cooking to your next event.
First, I think it's important to remember that 2016 is the 150th anniversary of Charles Goodnight inventing the chuck wagon.
There are a lot of things happening with the ACWA in 2016. In March 2014, twenty-one ACWA members met in Abilene, Texas, to discuss sanctioning of ACWA chuck wagon cook offs across the country as a way to qualify for a championship cook off.
The ACWA could have kept talking about sanctioned cook offs, spent years trying to find the perfect way to do it, or get started knowing it's not perfect and will be an ever changing process as it grows. At the annual ACWA meeting in Fredericksburg, Texas, on October 31, 2015, the membership in attendance voted to accept the sanctioning rules and to proceed with sanctioned cook offs starting in 2016.
I would like to thank the following events that have stepped forward this first year and sanctioned their events. They are as follows:
March 4-5, 2016 - Lazy E Chuck Wagon Cook Off - Guthrie, OK
March 13, 2016 - Southeastern Cowboy Gathering - Cartersville, GA
April 22-23, 2016 - Vidalia Onion Festival - Vidalia, GA
May 6-7, 2016 - Bob Drake Memorial Days - Breckenridge, TX
May 13-14, 2016 - Western Heritage Classic - Abilene, TX
November 11-12, 2016 - Tumbleweed Ranch Cook Off - Chandler, AZ
As you can see there is a very limited number of opportunities for a cooking team to qualify for the first ACWA Championship Cook Off in Fredericksburg, Texas, on March 29 - April 2, 2017.
Isn't it a coincidence that the first sanctioned event, Lazy E Chuck Wagon Cook Off, is two years after the first meeting in March 2014 to discuss sanctioning? That says a lot about the various committees that have worked hours putting together the sanctioning rules, wagon and food judging guidelines. There have been many hours on the phone, discussion after discussion, driving many miles to attend meetings, with some of the meetings being rather intense, and many members upset with the process, but if you stand back and look, it was all done in the best interest of the long range goals of the ACWA, to allow us to grow, and continue with our mission statement -
In 1996 at a chuck wagon competition in Amarillo, Texas, a small
group of Old West enthusiasts and wagon masters talked about an
association. The mission would be to preserve the heritage of the chuck
wagon and its use in the short, but significant, era of the cattle
drives. In 1997, in Bryson, Texas, by-laws and articles of operation
were adopted and the American Chuck Wagon Association was off and
running. Today there are members in 31 states, Canada, Germany and
In 2016, a new mission statement was revised as follows:
The mission statement of the American Chuckwagon Association is to preserve the history of the Chuck Wagon Era by providing educational opportunities and events to diverse audiences of all ages while continuing to provide youth scholarships and support for wounded warriors.