Ben Johnson Memorial Award
Born in 1944 at Denton, Texas, Walter Benton “Walt” Garrison has always been a true cowboy–both at heart and in fact. He pursued individual sport as a rodeo cowboy and team sport as a football player with the Oklahoma State University Cowboys and with the Dallas Cowboys.
An accomplished all-around athlete, Garrison competed in PRCA rodeos during the off-season while playing NFL football for eight years. A steer-wrestling injury forced his retirement from professional competition in both sports in 1974. Thereafter, he was long-time spokesman for Skoal smokeless tobacco and a leading promoter for the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA). From 1977 to 1994 he hosted the annual Walt Garrison All Star Rodeo for the benefit of the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation. He has also been a regular supporter of Sky Ranch youth programs. His commitment to rodeo continues through the Justin Cowboy Crisis organization and the PRCA Advisory Council.
Garrison is an inductee in the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame, the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame and the Cowboy Walk of Fame in Stephenville, Texas. For his many contributions to rodeo sport and to society at large, Walt Garrison received the Rodeo Historical Society’s Ben Johnson Memorial Award in 2011.