JOHN WAYNE Day Resolution unites Republicans & Democrats

Today, the Iowa House approved a resolution recognizing John Wayne’s birthday, May 26th, as John Wayne Day in Iowa. This resolution was co-sponsored by myself, Rep. Stan Gustafson (R), Rep. Jim Carlin (R), Rep Liz Bennett (D) and Representative Ako Abdul-Samad (D). The resolution was unanamously adopted.

The Resolution reads:

“A Resolution recognizing the national significance of actor John Wayne’s accomplishments and designating May 26, 2017 as John Wayne Day in Iowa.
WHEREAS, John Wayne was born Marion Robert Morrison in Winterset, Iowa on May 26, 1907; and
WHEREAS, John Wayne was among the top Hollywood box office film stars for three decades and starred in 159 films; and
WHEREAS, 83 of John Wayne’s films were Westerns, in which John Wayne personified for millions the nation’s frontier heritage; and
WHEREAS, the John Wayne birthplace home in Winterset has been visited by more than 1 million visitors since first opening in 1982, including President Ronald Reagan, film legend Maureen O’Hara, all of John Wayne’s children, and guests from all 50 states and countless foreign countries; and
WHEREAS, the Iowa Tourism Board and the Travel Federation of Iowa have honored the John Wayne Birthplace and Museum with the 2016 Outstanding Attraction Award; and
WHEREAS, John Wayne received the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1969 for his role in the film “True Grit”; and
WHEREAS, in honor of his enduring status as an iconic American, John Wayne was formally recognized by the United States Congress on May 26, 1979, when he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the nation’s highest civilian honor; and
WHEREAS, on June 9,1980, John Wayne was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Jimmy Carter as “an example and a symbol of true American grit and determination”; and
WHEREAS, the mere mention of the name “John Wayne” produces images of courage and patriotism; NOW THEREFORE,
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, That the House of Representatives recognizes the national significance of John Wayne’s accomplishments and designates May 26, 2017, henceforth as John Wayne Day in Iowa.”

Country Barn Dance at the Madison County Fairgrounds

Another enjoyable kickoff to the John Wayne Birthday Celebration will be the Country Barn Dance at the Madison County Fairgrounds. Last year’s wingding was a huge hit and revelers stayed way past closing to enjoy music, dancing and the camaraderie of John Wayne fans from across the country. Come early and admire the horses which will be participating in Saturday’s parade. Music and dancing will be from 7-11pm on Friday, May 26. Admission at the door is $8. Refreshments will be available.

John Wayne Birthday Celebration 5K Run/Walk

It’s time again to lace up those running shoes for this year’s John Wayne Birthday Celebration 5K Run/Walk. Beginning and ending at the John Wayne Birthplace Museum at 9am on May 27th, the popular event benefits Community Resources in Service to People (C.R.I.S.P), the Winterset Rotary Scholarship Fund and the Winterset Skate Park. For registration information contact Robert Kaldenberg at or call 515-462-4731.

It’s Auction Time

From the beginning, a popular feature of our John Wayne Birthday Celebration benefit dinners has been the action-packed auctions of John Wayne collectibles and memorabilia. We never know what might turn up but past auctions have included autographed photos, vintage movie posters, John Wayne bourbon and brandy, original artworks, commemorative firearms and screen-worn movie wardrobe. Returning this year as celebrity auction host will be Duke’s daughter Aissa Wayne who will join champion auctioneers Jon & Chuck Garrison in what always promises to be an exciting event. Sure to generate lively bidding is an original 16″ x 20″ oil painting of our hero in his prime by Artist of the Legends, Jerry Harris. See the “Click to Purchase Tickets” link on our 2017 Birthday Celebration page, or call toll free (877) 462-1044.

The Return of the Iowa Theater

When Winterset’s venerable Iowa Theater closed without notice in May of 2015 it seemed the end of an era. For nearly a century the vintage movie house had offered the finest in Hollywood entertainment including John Wayne’s most classic films. Thanks to preservationists Marianne and Rebecca Fons, the theater will return to life in time for the 10th Anniversary John Wayne Birthday Celebration (May 26 & 27) when it will present Stagecoach, Fort Apache and El Dorado on the big screen where John Wayne belongs. Discussing the films will be Joseph Malham, author of John Ford: Poet in the Desert. Tickets can now be ordered online at