Marvin O’Dell is a life-long supporter and fan of western music. He has served on the Board of Directors of the IWMA for more than 10 years. He became President of the organization in January 2017 after having served as interim in that position since July 2016. In addition to his knowledge of the genre and strong belief in the preservation of the western heritage, culture, music and lore, Marvin brought over 35 years of nonprofit business management and leadership expertise to the Board. He has more than 20 years of prior board leadership experience. He is a longtime collector and student of western, classic country and bluegrass music and through the years also became a recognized radio personality in those arenas. Marvin’s strong communication skills, integrity, experience and vision for the organization are qualities that position him to lead the IWMA into the future.
Jerry Hall is a Life Member of The International Western Music Association and Executive Vice President. He is also a member of Jerry Hall and Trick Shot. He is a 34 year veteran of the California Highway Patrol and retired as a sergeant in 2003. He is also a veteran of the United States Army and served with the First Infantry Division in Vietnam in 1966 and 1967. Jerry was born and raised on The Gill Cattle Ranch in the foothills of The Sierra Nevada Mountains, near Springville, California. He still day works on local ranches and cowboys at livestock sales yards. He and his wife Joan, also run a few cattle of their own in the hills above Springville. He is a certified Equine Chiropractor and served 12 years on The Springville Sierra Rodeo Board of Directors.
Tom Swearingen is a Portland, Oregon-area advertising agency owner, community volunteer, and horseman. Tom is also known as an award-winning writer and performer of western and cowboy poetry. He and his wife Carla are parents to two adult children who have started their own families in Portland. Beginning his advertising career in 1975 after earning a Business Administration/Marketing degree from Portland State University he became President and Creative Director of Swearingen Advertising Agency in 1991. He is Past President of the Portland Association of Advertising Agencies, and Past Chair of the State of Oregon Professional Services Coordinating Council. Tom has served the Cascade Pacific Council BSA in a number of volunteer capacities and is currently on the Chairman’s Advisory Cabinet. He is a member of the Rotary Club of East Portland where he has served in a number of leadership roles including President and Foundation Director. He also serves on the Oregon Department of Corrections Coffee Creek Correctional Facility Prison Advisory Committee. In addition to his IWMA Board role, Tom serves as President of the IWMA Columbia Chapter, geographically representing British Columbia, Washington, Idaho, and Oregon.
Belinda Gail was raised on ranches in Nevada’s Carson Valley and Sierra Nevada Mountains in the Central California. During High School she went to work in banking and spent 6 years as a teller and new accounts representative until she married and started having children. After a few years as a ‘Stay-At-Home-Mom’ she went to work as a travel agent. She was ultimately promoted to regional manager and for the next 7 years managed 4 branches of a 12 branch travel agency. Belinda went on to own her own agency. While working in the Travel Industry, and as her 3 children were growing up, she was a member of several service organizations and served on multiple committees. During this time Belinda also ‘moonlighted’ with a ‘casual’ band performing a variety of musical genres at private parties, as well as Hispanic, Portuguese, and Armenian celebrations. As her youngest child was preparing to leave for college Belinda was approached by a management company to ‘take her music to a higher level’ with her own band, performing primarily Country Music. She was with that company for almost two years before deciding to deciding follow her heart and switch to Western Music in 1995. The management company did not support this decision so Belinda’s late husband Frederic stepped in as her manager and was her manager until his untimely death in 2008. Besides enjoying a full rich career in Western Music, Belinda has remarried and is devoted to her husband Robert Lorbeer, 3 children and new step-daughter, and 10 grandchildren.
Diana Raven is a life time listener and supporter of western music and a life member of IWMA. She was involved with the Colorado Cowboy Poetry Gathering for over 25 years, first serving as a volunteer and later as the co-coordinator. Diana was instrumental in setting up the non-profit and serving on the CCPG board as the administrator. Diana worked as a Budget and Finance Analyst for Jefferson County Public Schools and retired after 31 years to pursue other interests. She currently works with the Colorado Auctioneers as well as the International Western Music Association.
Bob is a Graduate of the US Military Academy, West Point, NY. He was commissioned in the Infantry, and following airborne and Rangers schools, served in a variety of assignments, including the Berlin Brigade in Germany, the 101st Airborne Division in Viet Nam, Ranger School instructor and graduate school at Tulane University, followed by the Pentagon. After 10 years of active duty, he resigned his regular Army commission and stayed in the Army Reserves. He was recalled to active duty for Desert Shield/Storm and is a retired Army Colonel. In 1979 he started a health care career, working in a variety of assignments including a large hospital, a post graduate Fellowship with the US Department of Health and Human Services, a private company providing health care on a contract with State and Federal agencies, and a private company providing technical services to hospitals, doctors and dentists. While employed in the health care field, he attended law school at night. He had a general civil litigation practice in State and Federal Courts, representing clients in a variety of issues.He is an accomplished equestrian and for 11 years was the Captain and Drill Master of the Sacramento Sheriff’s Posse, a nationally known parade and drill team organization. For 18 years, he rode in the Rose Parade with Long Beach Mounted Police, and was President of LBMP for 6 years. He also judges horse shows and speak at clinics all across the US.
Theresa uses her expertise in education, publishing, business management and board experience to serve the IWMA. In addition to more than 20 years in both high school and college textbook editorial development, publishing and marketing, she was instrumental in the establishment of two nonprofit businesses, both of which required the successful completion of the application process to secure 501(c)(3) status. She facilitated in the vetting process of potential board directors, provided support in the grant writing process and participated in strategic planning. She acted as a representative for each organization in the community while also managing the office and financial responsibilities. Due to her belief in the preservation of and ongoing education about the Western heritage, Theresa became the Managing Editor of the IWMA’s official magazine, The Western Way, in 2013, with a goal to expand exposure for the genre. Theresa’s broad range of experience in both the public and private sectors provides a valuable resource.
A graduate of Arizona State University, LeeLee Robert has been on the boards of the National Parks Foundation, the Glacier Park Board, The Yellowstone Park Board, The Grand Teton Board, and The Arizona Chapter of the National Speakers Association. She was Executive Director for Earth Friends Conservation Fund for over ten years and worked as Director of Sales and Marketing for two public speaking firms. She has written two books, one a business book published by Simon and Schuster titled “GenderSell: how to sell to the opposite sex.” She lives half the year in Paradise Valley, Arizona and half the year in Jackson Hole, WY with her husband of over twenty years, Rick Flory
Dennis Russell is the founder and co-producer of the Cimarron Cowboy Music and Poetry Gathering held annually at the Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, New Mexico. Dennis brings an understanding of the rural west to the IWMA Board of Directors. His kinship of Musicians, Poets, Cowboys, generations of ranchers, small business owners, and home town families gives him the opportunity to find and create common goals that will benefit all. Dennis graduated from the school of hard knocks with a GED and has not slowed down yet. He developed a successful sales firm in the South West while running a cow-calf operation in Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado. Dennis and his wife Beverly are currently operating their ranch on the Huerfano river in the Sangre De Christo Mountains, Colorado.
Bobbi Jean Bell grew up in a family valuing history, the arts, and reading. Vacations often included visits to museums and historic sites. Bobbi Jean’s interest in the American West was ignited when she and her husband Jim Bell moved from Connecticut to California. As a docent and later as a staff member of the Autry Museum of the American West, Bobbi Jean deepened her knowledge of the Old West. Hearing Don Edwards in concert there spurred her love of Western music.
Drawing on their extensive retail experience Bobbi Jean and Jim created OutWest Shop (www.OutWestShop.com) with the goal of sharing their passion for the region, its history, crafts, arts and lifestyle with a local and international audience. As an adjunct to their business Bobbi Jean and Jim hosted more than 70 live concerts featuring Western music and filmed by SCVTV. As a community partner of the city of Santa Clarita, they organized the Buckaroo Book Shop hosting a variety of Western authors during the annual Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival weekend. All these cultural events were successful largely due to the effort and passion of a strong team of volunteers working alongside the Bells, bringing their vision to life.
Currently, Bobbi Jean shares her interests with a world audience, behind the microphone, co-hosting three internet radio shows featuring Western music, the equestrian lifestyle, and books and authors of all kinds. Host of a fourth broadcast, the “OutWest Hour,” is heard on a local community radio station, KUPR.org, located in Placitas, New Mexico and yet enjoyed around the world. She curates a playlist of music and poetry, showcasing the talents of Western songwriters, performers, and poets.
Bobbi Jean and Jim currently make their home in Albuquerque. (Photo courtesy of Andi Renfree)
Leo and his brother Roger were raised in the small town of Rush Center, Kansas. Their mother was the music teacher in their school and also played in polka bands and was church organist. The Sons of the Pioneers were their musical muse and they learned Western music by listening their albums. Leo relocated from Wichita (where he attended college and broadcasting school) to Kansas City and invited brother Roger to join him there . He brings years of experience to the table in the form of festival promotion, entertainment and business management, having started and sold two businesses and retiring from a third after 35 years. His passion is Classic Western and Western Swing music and he has dedicated his life to preserving this musical tradition.
Roger Eilts was born and raised in rural Central-Kansas. Raised horses as a kid and even delivered the local paper on his pony. He and Brother Leo grew up on western music, big band and polka. Went to sleep every night with a stack of Sons of the Pioneers albums on the console stereo. He earned a BA in vocal music performance at Bethany College, then joined Brother Leo in the Kansas City area where they have performed in multiple bands, currently award-winning 3 Trails West. After a 40+ year career in the food industry, where he learned diplomacy and negotiating skills, Roger has happily retired to devote his time to music. Roger is passionate about western music and is committed to perpetuating and growing the legacy handed down to us.
Carol Markstrom now calls Tucson, Arizona her home. She was drawn to the deserts and mountains of the Southwest through her many extended stays on Navajo and Apache Reservations where she conducted research during her academic career that spanned university appointments in Utah, Ontario Canada, and, most recently, West Virginia University where she continues as Professor Emeritus. Her published works span academic journals and books. Carol’s connection to the Western Writers of America (WWA), opened doors for Carol to write Western-themed articles for magazines such as True West and Wild West. Her experience in editorial roles with academic journals and publishers honed her skills in critical analysis and editing and indirectly aided her as a songwriter. Western songwriting and performing has been her passion for over 10 years and pulled her away from the academic life, but her knowledge in Native American Studies has found its way in some of her original songs. In addition to IWMA and WWA, Carol is a member of the Academy of Western Artists, Folk Alliance International, and the Tucson Kitchen Music Association. She enjoys traveling and tours with her music as far north as Alaska where she loves to fly fish for salmon.
Dave Martin is a Texan who lived for many years in Nashville A veteran of the recording world and an experienced touring musician, Dave is a producer, engineer, and musician. He began his musical journey in Abilene, Texas at the age of 13, playing bass in VFW’s, Moose Lodges, and beer joints in and around the area, but within a few years was touring with regional bands throughout the southwest. In 1985, Dave moved to Nashville, and during the 31 years he was there, Dave played on session, toured with iconic country singers and theatrical shows, and, as the owner of Nashville’s Java Jive Studio for 25 years, produced and engineered hundreds of projects for a wide variety of artists.
A member of the Western Swing Hall of Fame, and the Texas Western Swing Hall of Fame, Dave is known both as a historian of the western swing genre and for the projects that he has been involved with. Dave is married to award-winning singer Carolyn Martin, and currently lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana.