Farrier Doug Figgs of Lemitar, N.M., has been nominated for the International Western Music Association (IWMA) male performer of the year and entertainer of the year awards, according to the Albuquerque Journal. The awards ceremony took place during the annual convention on Nov. 7-11, 2018 at the Hotel Albuquerque. 

Figgs didn’t start out with the intention of making it big in country music. A lot of the songs just came to him out of the blue, and Figgs decided to carry a pen and paper along with his hammers, nippers and nails. He wrote one of his first songs in between shoeing about 30 horses at the N Bar Ranch about 7 years ago and named it after the ranch, calling it “N Bar.” 

The recognition of Figgs’ talent began in 2014 with the Western Music Association (WMA) Harmony Trio Award, when he played with the trio “The Cowboy Way.” In 2014, he was the recipient of the Academy of Western Artists’ Will Rogers Award for his Western song “Socios,” written with Ethan Smith. Over the next few years, he won quite a few awards for songs he’d written with other songwriters.

When Figgs attended a songwriting workshop in 2010 hosted by the IWMA convention, his life began to change. 

“I went to that songwriting workshop, and that started me,” Figgs says. “I thought, ‘Maybe I can do this.’ And then we were shoeing horses at that N Bar Ranch, I had a piece of paper and started writing things down.” Whenever the mood strikes him, he gets to writing it down, which happens often while sitting on the tailgate of his blue Chevy pickup truck. 

“The [convention] has been everything to me,” Figgs says. “Everyone in the IWMA has been so welcoming, so encouraging. They are just good, good people.”

Despite his multiple awards and strong musical presence, Figgs didn’t grow up making music. He was born in Prescott, Ariz., and later moved to Nevada and California. His father was a mechanic, but Figgs turned to horsemanship after growing up in Western towns. For a while, he’d been shoeing horses and started doing it officially in the 1990s. He is now a certified journeyman farrier and also raises Black and Red Angus cattle on his ranch with his wife, Cathy.