Induction Category & YearGeneral 1983
Home TownMobridge, SD
McClusky, ND
Mobridge, SD

   Bennie Bender
Champion of Excellence

 Benny Bender entered his first rodeo at Selby when he was 14, riding bareback steers. Before long, he was riding with Roy McMacken and, in 1934, he began rodeo clowning at Red Lodge, MT. On Oct. 29, 1937, Benny married Lucille at Crown Point, IN. They made their home in Trail City, then moved to Mobridge, SD the following year.

While in Mobridge, Benny worked as a conductor-brakeman on the Milwaukee Railroad, but it was his clowning in the Rodeo circuit that won him fame. He delighted audiences by riding a shovel tied to the tail of a wild bronc, by teasing Brahma bulls to charge his backside. And the antics of Benny and his trick mule, Jo-Jo, were crowd favorites. He had a natural knack for clowning, and the men riding the rough, tough rodeo stock liked him, they knew they could depend on him to help them out of the tight spots. <p>Bender was a character member of the Cowboys Turtle Association, the original cowboys' union, and was a lifetime gold cardholder in the Rodeo Cowboys Association. He was also one of the original members on the board of the Sitting Bull Stampede Rodeo at Mobridge.

Home Town (Mobridge, SD)
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