You are here: home   40years   Essay and Photography Contests   The Weird West

Share your thoughts and images of the West!

Check out upcoming contest topics, and submit your essay(s) or photo(s) for others to enjoy. Viewers can vote on their favorite essays and images, and entries with the most votes will be featured on the Web site, and earn consideration from our editorial and production staff for appearing in the magazine!

The West is not just about the varied terrain in which we live, but the collection of perspectives and realities of the people who occupy this inspiring land. Add your voice to High Country News – or enjoy those of other readers – and embrace your community of fellow people who care about the West.

finishedThis contest has ended.

The Weird West

Entries: (71)
Began: Aug 02, 2010
Ended: Sep 13, 2010

SUBMIT up to three of your image(s) starting August 2, through midnight, August 29, 2010. Click on an image to enlarge it. VOTE for your favorites (within the enlarged view frame) through midnight, September 12, 2010.
(Read more ...)

Winning Entry

Highway 6 Between Tonopah and Ely

Highway 6 Between Tonopah and Ely

by jedes1945 — One chilly summer morning I encountered this gentleman and his burro traveling west on U.S. Highway 6 toward Tonopah, NV. The burro was pulling a cart loaded with their belongings.

by kellers 9
by kjones 11

Three-D Christmas

Barbara and Nick looking through 3-D glasses at a book on the Canyons of the Wasatch and Salt Lake area.

by jedes1945 462

Highway 6 Between Tonopah and Ely

One chilly summer morning I encountered this gentleman and his burro traveling west on U.S. Highway 6 toward Tonopah, NV. The burro was pulling a cart loaded with their belongings.

by jorndorf 50

Desert Pool

Abandoned campground pool on interstate 40 in Arizona.

by SeattleSunset 6

Beaverhead Rock vs. A Stuffed Beaver's Head

The Lewis and Clark Expedition passed Beaverhead Rock near Dillon MT in July 1805. It was named Beaverhead Rock because it resembles the profile of a beaver swimming. Well, we were driving by 200 years later and happened to have Liam, our stuffed "good luck" beaver in the car. So, we decided to make Liam swim in the air and hold our beaver's head next to Beaverhead Rock to see if it really does look like a beaver. It sure did! Mission Accomplished.

by tross 22

Fish food for thought

The "Chubettes" celebrate the virtual breaching of Glen Canyon dam

by estar 3

Jesus and Rattlesnakes

Entrance to the grotto at St. Joseph Cemetery near Spokane, which includes rock gardens and a miniature castle.

by Jaybar2 7

Bisbee storefront

Wonder what they did with all that nautical gear in the middle of the desert...

by estar 4

Can You Hear Me Now?

This public phone booth, surrounded by the waters of Lake Coeur d'Alene in summer, can be accessed by foot during the winter months. It's not really hooked up, but it attracts attention and wonder among tourists.

by estar 5

Good Cop

An officer from the Kootenai County Sherrif's Dept. is a good sport during Pig in the Park celebration, Harrison, Idaho.

by jorndorf 36

Ostrich Farm

Shady looking ostrich farm/tourist trap near the Petrified Forest in Holbrook, Arizona.

by ralf223 16

Shoe Tree

On route 50, northern Nevada.

by kayaker1121 1

Genie's Jungle

Cool old shop in eastern Oregon

by CodyMojave 4

Monkey Shine

A slackline setup at dusk in Joshua Tree National Park

by CodyMojave 5

Bi-wheelial Ghost

An installation next to Rhyolite, NV. Rhyolite is an amazing ghost town just outside of Beatty, NV.

by CodyMojave 2

Yuha Gothic

SCA Desert Restoration Corps interns after work on a hot June day in California's Yuha Desert near the US/Mexico Border

by kayaker1121 1

Sebastapol Retro

Great old truck in downtown Sebastapol, CA

by kayaker1121 3

Is this Oregon or Peru?

Llamas love the beach too!

by NeedleRock4 1

Desert Dolly

Child's doll sitting on the desert ground against a tire.

by rogercwolf 3

The Opportunist

Prickly pear cactus growing in crotch of a cottonwood tree, Arizona

by EdKleiner 1

Hanging out on Route 66

We slowed down in Northern Arizona a few weeks before the beginning of the fall hunting season.

by EdKleiner 1

Some preserve!

Maybe the timing of our visit was a little off. This is a Darlingtonia sight north of Quincy CA

by paperjet 2

"fishworms and cottage cheese"

Naturopathic health store in Pima, Arizona, circa 2000.

by paperjet 1

"Mr. Dwarf Car," Ernie Adams with his miniature '39 Chevy

"Mr. Dwarf Car," Ernie Adams with his miniature '39 Chevy at the Route 66 Fun Run, Seligman, Arizona, 2005.

by pbucknam 12


Late 1970s in San Luis Valley...

by trb2dog 5

Kinetic sculpture

An entry in the 2005 Kinetic Sculpture race in Eureka, CA. Designed and constructed by Duane Flatmo and friends.

by trb2dog 3

North Dakota road art

A 100 foot tall sculpture out in western North Dakota.

by tross 8


Working cowboys "Arlo" and "Big Bub" share a lighter moment between chores outside the bunkhouse on the Ross Ranch, Flagstaff AZ

by knute 2

missed the bus

waiting for the jeep to return to pick us up in the blackrock desert

by knute 3

alone at last

finally some quiet after driving 30 miles off road {blackrock desert}

by scotsiegel 8

Triple Jeopardy

Highway 99, Roseburg, Ore.

by scotsiegel 13


Wheeler County, Ore.

by scotsiegel 6

Estacada "Mixed-Use"

Highway commercial, Estacada, Ore.

by knute 3

Hunting for coyotes

A city slicker searching for the illusive desert coyote

by ralf223 2

The Contraption

Ranchyard grain elevator in the California coast range.

by sebreno 3

Funky House

House in Bisbee, AZ

by johnkane 3

T-Rex Busting Out

In Granger, WA; the town decided some time ago to festoon itself with dinosaurs

by ralf223 4

Water Tank Art

On state route 50, in northern Nevada.

by sebreno 0

sad seagull in Mission Bay

seagull with fish hook and attached fish caught in its mouth.

by kshirley 23


Black Rock Desert Nevada Burning Man Festival Transportation Got to be ready.

by climbingrose25 4

Buck on a Porch

This picture was taken from the inside of our Tuolumne River guide house, Groveland, CA.

by Zudiere 3

Actual Colorado Jackaloupe

You've heard the rumors of the Jack rabbit / antelope cross...and here it is. Honest ;-)

by EdKleiner 5

Visitor's committee Owen's Valley

These mules are pack animals; quite domesticated. They were as curious about me as I was about them.

by paperjet 3

cactus encounter

Mom removes spines following a cactus encounter in Arizona's Sonoran Desert.

by jimsellshomes 1

You haven't seen everything

You haven't seen everything until you've seen Nothing, AZ. Hwy 93 between Phoenix and I40

by jimsellshomes 5

Carnastoga & The Fourd Seasons

Alliance, NB - Carhenge Additional car sculptures include The Carnastoga The Fourd Seasons - representing the 4 stages of wheat grown in the area

by jimsellshomes 4

Howdy from Fairplay

The town of Fairplay having fun with the fact a popular cartoon is named after their recontructed mining town South Park City.

by NeedleRock4 2

Punkin' Head

Craig Childs with his selection from the pumpkin patch riding on his shoulder.

by NeedleRock4 0

On the Right Track

Young boy walking between the rails.

by DWScar 4

Scarcely a blade of grass for miles

An "Open Grazing" sign along a highway in slickrock country.

by Cebollita 7

Pawnee Pass

Western Slope of the Pawnee Pass over the Continental Divide in Indian Peaks Wilderness, Colorado.

by Cebollita 1

Dancing on the Santa Fe Plaza

We are all here for a good time tonight!

by marlab 2

Too Wierd

can't even explain it!

by mstock 1

Right Of Way

A bison bull merges in Yellowstone.

by mstock 3


A rare chipmunk captures the attention of all near Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park.

by lryuva 3

Cowgirl and Cowboy

Watching the fun at the Butte National Folk Festival July 2010

by jmannas 4

Wildlife Management in South Dakota

A billboard along highway 90.

by rogercwolf 1

Family Values

The sign for a convenience store in Tucson

by wingpeople 5

Bishop Castle

A "work of art" over 100 feet tall featuring a fire-breathing dragon's head, turrets, dizzying walkways, and lots of attitude. (near Beulah, CO)

by vintimo 4

Mirror Image

Driving through Stevens Pass to Eastern WA, I stopped at a deserted campground on the side of the road, and caught this optical illusion shop. Quiet, a tad bit creepy, weird - but very cool!

The topic: Have you photographically captured the weird and wacky side of the American West? Submit your image(s) here!

About submitting images: Entrants may submit up to three (3) photos for each photo contest, in JPEG, PNG and GIF file formats only; each image submitted may be no larger than 2 megabytes in size.

About voting on images: Instead of making you choose only one entry to vote for, we decided to allow viewers to vote positively for any entry they want to -- one vote per viewer, per image. But be careful - you can't undo your vote once you've clicked the "vote" button, so CHOOSE CAREFULLY!