The Desert Heritage Writing Contest was formed in 1985 by several teachers in the Barstow area—Cliff Walker, John Stacy, Ed Spear, Richard Reeb, Warren Priske, and Bob Chamberlin. These teachers wanted to improve the communication skills of the students in the area, and they thought writing should be promoted and rewarded. The contest awards prizes in three areas—fiction, nonfiction, and poetry—and four divisions—5th and 6th grade, 7th and 8th grade, high school, and college.