Photo caption: Charlie Willis, center, holds the coveted “Top Hand Award” presented to him at a recent ceremony in Denver, Colo. Willis is flanked by his wife and business partner, Nancy, and Gene House, president of WESA (Photo courtesy of WESA)
WASILLA, AK - Wasilla businessman Charlie Willis has received the Western & English Sales Assn. 2012 Top Hand Award for Industry Excellence, the equestrian and Western industries’ top award for service and contributions. The Top Hand Award recognizes individuals in the Western and equestrian industry for “outstanding contributions” that have enhanced the strength of their communities and the equestrian industry as a whole, according to Toni High, executive director of WESA.
Willis has owned and operated CW Tack & Western Wear with this wife, Nancy, in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley for 28 years. The 1,400-square-foot-store is located at 991 S. Hermon Road in Wasilla “Charlie does wonderful work promoting the industry in Alaska,” High commented. Besides selling riding gear and equipment, and Western apparel in Wasilla, Willis hauls a 28-foot trailer full of apparel and equipment to equestrian events and rodeos throughout Alaska. The Willises have dubbed their business “Alaska’s Cowboy Store.” In addition, Charlie and Nancy produce the rodeo at the Alaska State Fair, frequently with the help of their adult children, Garrett and Callie. The fair is held in late August through Labor Day every year in Palmer.