Above: The foggy wild of the Gila, shot by Gabriella Marks, from "The Wild Heart of the Gila," which won an award of merit in the Travel Feature category. 

New Mexico Magazine staff and freelancers won eight editorial and design awards Monday evening at the awards ceremony for the International Regional Magazine Association, the final event of the group’s annual conference in Denver. New Mexico Magazine competes in the categories for publications with more than 35,000 readers, including Arizona Highways, Texas Highways, and Down East magazines, among others. The awards honored work published in 2017.

“It’s an honor to get to work on this nearly 100-year-old magazine and thrilling to be part of such a talented team,” said Carolyn Graham, the magazine’s CEO. “I can’t wait for readers to see what we are working on for next year.”

Among the awards, managing editor Kate Nelson hit a triple with three wins, including a silver award for Magazine Writer of the Year for a body of her work; another silver in the Historic Feature category with “Keeping the Faith,” a story about a legacy church near Navajo Lake; and bronze in the Art and Culture Feature category for "The Ride Stuff,” a story about a Carlsbad saddle maker.

Nelson, who also served as New Mexico Magazine’s interim editor for the latter half of 2017, said she was thrilled the judges recognized the breadth and depth of the stories honored. “Awards are always fun to get,” she said, “but the real reward comes when readers tell us we’ve touched their hearts, made them think, or brightened their day. That’s who we do it for.”

Renowned Santa Fe author and New Mexico Magazine contributor Hampton Sides won silver in the Essay category for his delightfully creepy story about our state insect, “It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got that Sting.”

In the Profiles category, art scholar, book author, and freelancer writer Carmella Padilla won silver for “The Godfather,” about legendary New Mexico author Rudolfo Anaya.

Freelance writer Will Grant won silver in the Nature and Environment Feature category for “Valley of Life,” about New Mexico’s Valle Vidal; plus an award of merit in the Travel Feature category for “The Wild Heart of the Gila,” about the Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch.

Finally, freelance photographer Stefan Wachs won a bronze in the Portrait Photo category for an image of author Stephen Bodio launching a Harris’ hawk in the story “The Great Unknown.”

"We're extremely proud to work with these incredibly talented photographers and writers in New Mexico," said Executive Editor John Clary Davies. "These award winners are just a sample of the deep well of rich stories our state has to offer."

Founded in 1923, New Mexico Magazine is the nation’s oldest state magazine. It celebrates New Mexico’s alluring travel and lifestyle offerings, including our distinctive history, culture, cuisine, arts, events, hospitality, and outdoor attractions. Published monthly, it operates as a financially independent nonprofit arm of the New Mexico Tourism Department. To subscribe, go here.

For more information, contact Executive Editor John Clary Davies at 505-231-3759 or john.davies@state.nm.us.