Ben Johnson Memorial Award
Unofficially rodeo’s number one ambassador, announcer Clem McSpadden has called more of the sport’s action than any man behind a microphone. Born in 1925 in Bushyhead, Oklahoma, Clem McSpadden entered rodeo as a calf roping and bulldogging contestant.
McSpadden specialized in announcing and management. In the 1960s he was the first announcer from the U.S. to work the Calgary Stampede, where he developed the technique of announcing on horseback. Other honors include his selection to announce the Presidential Rodeo for President Reagan in Washington, D.C. He was also chosen to announce the Calgary Olympic Rodeo. In 1986 McSpadden was named PRCA Announcer of the Year. For 20 years he was general manager of the National Finals Rodeo.
Over the years, McSpadden also served as RCA president, and as general manager of the Oklahoma State Prison Rodeo and the Indian National Finals Rodeo. His recognitions include the Chester A. Reynolds Award, the National FFA Leadership Award; and induction into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame and the PRCA Hall of Fame.
McSpadden’s remarkable career also included 18 years in the Oklahoma State Senate, with two terms as President Pro Tempore. He also served in the U.S. House of Representatives. Until his death in 2008, Clem McSpadden resided on his Tub-Handle Ranch near Chelsea, Oklahoma. For his many contributions to rodeo sport, Clem McSpadden became the first recipient of the Ben Johnson Memorial Award in 1998.