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In Memory of the Founder of the Reel Cowboys, Jack 'J.C.' Iversen
In Memory
of the Founder

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Ben Bates
Reel Cowboys Lifetime Member
Ben Bates

We Will Miss You

Ben was born in Mexia, Texas in 1933. He started his career as a professional rodeo cowboy. While performing at the Chicago Rodeo in 1967, he was chosen to be the Marlboro Man in print and television cigarette advertisements. In 1970, he received the Andy Award for excellence in these same TV ads.

Ben's riding ability and horsemanship led to his becoming the stunt double for James Arness in 1972 for the last four years of the long-running Gunsmoke television series. In addition, he also worked on the Gunsmoke movies, How the West Was Won, Red River, McClain's Law, The Legend of the Lone Ranger, 13 Days to Glory, White Buffalo, Banjo Hackett, etc. Ben thoroughly enjoyed not only the camaraderie of the family atmosphere on the various sets of these projects, but also the wholesome storylines, values, and morals that were portrayed in these series and movies.

Not only did he perform stunts, he also acted in many western themed commercials, set records at rodeo arenas, and ran the

California Junior Rodeo Association while his two children were participating in rodeo. It was our pleasure to honor this wonderful man in 2017, as he was given the well deserved Silver Spur Award. The Reel Cowboys wish you an eternity of Happy Trails. You will be missed.
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