Few of us can live off the cash prizes, winning certificates and other “laurels” that accompany excellence in our senior literary experiences. But at any age, being honored does feed you.

Jean Yeager has submitted stories to our writing contest, judged the work of others, and been a friend of Ageless Authors. He has also been a prize winning essayist, playwright and screenwriter in contests for writers of all ages.

His latest laurel is an award as a finalist in the Western Feature Length film category at the Las Vegas International Film and Screenplay Competition. There were over 2,500 entries in dozens of categories of television and film ranging from produced to simply the script. His 130-page script isn’t simple but was fun for him to work in a different genre.

The script was based on a Christmas story by Brett Hart (August 25, 1836 – May 5, 1902), an American short-story writer and poet, best remembered for his short fiction featuring romantic figures of the California Gold Rush.

“This is my favorite Christmas story,” Jean says. “It’s set in the mining camps of California, filled with action, adventure, strong men, drunks, and a needy boy who on Christmas eve simply asks, ‘Who is Santa Claus? How come he never comes here?’ You can’t forget a big, ‘yella – half-blind – and totally mean’ horse which Dick Bullen draws a short-straw to ride down a mountain in a torrential rainstorm to get toys at the next town and return by dawn. It takes a miracle for Bullen to return, but that’s what Christmas is all about, right?”

Jean put Hart’s short story ”How Santa Claus Came To Simpson’s Bar” into film format, adding additional characters and lots of dramatic action. His script is one of five finalists in the western screenplay category. Winners will be announced at a gala dinner in Las Vegas on August 1.

A win for him would be another laurel as well as a hearty indicator of talent in someone old enough to enter Ageless Authors contests.