Ben Johnson Memorial Award
One of the greatest calf ropers in the history of professional rodeo, Dean Oliver was born in 1929 at Dodge City, Kansas. As a youth around Nampa, Idaho, he practiced roping dairy calves before entering competition in 1948.
Dean Oliver combined size, speed, and smooth coordination to become one of rodeo’s finest athletes. He won the calf-roping championship an unprecedented eight times (since equaled by Roy Cooper) and might have won a ninth title except for two broken catch ropes at the 1966 National Finals Rodeo. He also captured a string of three all-around championships through skilled bulldogging.
The speed roper of the 1960s, Dean Oliver competed well into his forties and was active in PRCA administration. Now semi-retired on his Boise, Idaho, farm, he remains one of the biggest rodeo money winners of all time.