Calf Roping, Steer Wrestling, Stunts, Team Roping
Ben Bates was born September 4, 1933, in Mexia, Texas, and died October 4, 2017. During his lifetime he competed in bulldogging, calf roping and team roping. A stuntman and business owner, Bates served in the Korean War with the Navy Sea Bees. He joined Rodeo Cowboys Association (RCA, later PRCA) in 1959 and, in 1962, set an arena record of 7.9 seconds in Steer Wrestling at Cheyenne Frontier Days, which stood for 12 years. Bates set another record at the Denver National Western Stock Show & Rodeo by winning both go-rounds in steer wrestling with a time of 8.2 seconds on two head. He qualified for the National Finals in Steer Wrestling in 1968 and 1970. His rodeo years spanned 1959 to 1987. Bates spent 25 years as a stuntman, which included being James Arness’s stunt double in 1972, and in 2016 he received the prestigious Silver Spur Award at a ceremony in Hollywood, California. In 1967 Bates became the Marlboro Man and received the Addy Award 1970 Honorable Mention for excellence in advertising. As Larry Mahan said, “He was a great representative of rodeo in and outside of the arena.” Bates was buried in Port Lavaca, Texas.