Ben Johnson Memorial Award
Born February 6, 1928 in Safford, Arizona, Dale Smith grew up in Southwestern ranch culture. Early on he developed an affinity for riding and roping, which he ultimately parlayed into a competitive rodeo career encompassing calf, steer and team roping. Smith remains the only hand, so far, to qualify at the National Finals Rodeo in all three events in the same year.
Smith captured the Team Roping championship in 1956 and 1957. The following year he missed the team roping title by a mere $13.00!
Dale Smith served as chairman of the National Finals Rodeo Commission in the early 1960s, and was instrumental in the negotiations that moved the NFR to Oklahoma City in 1965. The move resulted in the commission’s generous support of the National Cowboy Museum’s various rodeo programs, and brought millions of dollars to the Oklahoma City economy over a period of nearly 20 years.
For his long support and many contributions to rodeo, Dale Smith became the third recipient of the Ben Johnson Memorial Award in 2000.