Celebrating the life of John Art Benson
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1941 ~ 2020
John passed away peacefully at home on the second Friday of November, 2020. John was born April 10, 1941 to Art and Dorothy (Blakely) Benson in Townsend, Montana and was raised at the family ranch on the Musselshell River. John was involved in rodeo throughout his life. He rode saddle broncs, roped calves, steer wrestled, and team roped. He competed at the National High School Finals Rodeo in Hot Springs, South Dakota. He graduated from Melstone High School in 1960.
After high school he worked on the Hines Ranch in Rapelje until 1962 when he married Betty Daniels and moved back to Melstone to the family ranch. With that union they had four children Kari, Joy, JB and William (Duck).
John ran sheep and cattle, and raised Quarter Horses. He always had a team of draft horses on the ranch. He was on and organized numerous wagon trains. He was a wrangler and teamster in the Montana M89 Cattle Drive. John also designed and made a commemorative M89 bit. John competed in team roping, chariot racing, and in draft horse pulls.
In 1977, John married Pam Blackbird. They had two children Chip and Jesse.
John was very proud of the fact that all his children that competed at the Montana State High School Rodeo Finals and National High School Rodeo Finals were on horses he raised on the Benson Ranch. He and Art Kincheloe were founding fathers of Gentle Ben Rodeo Co. In those years, John was a pickup man and co-stock contractor. Later Gentle Ben Rodeo Co. became known as the Youth Rodeo Association (YRA).
For many years John raised, organized and provided bucking horses for many match bronc rides and rodeos. He raised horses that bucked at open, high school, college, and regional pro rodeos.
John enjoyed his family, ranching and raising bucking horses until his passing. He is survived by wife Pam; brother Bill (Dawn) Benson; sisters: Karen (Neil) Hough; Ardell (Ken) Nelson; Juanita (Mitch) Holmberg; daughter Joy (Billy) ; sons JB (Jade); Duck (Jeanne); Chip (Rebecca); Jesse (Wilbur); grandchildren, Challis (Mary)-Becca, Reece-Tater; Jacey, Bailey, Shayla, Teigan, Morgan, Reatta, and Ivy.
He was preceded in death by his parents, brothers Ronnie and Charlie Benson; and daughter Kari Benson Burns.
A memorial service is scheduled for 1:00 PM on Friday, November 20, 2020 at the Melstone Community Center. Mark and Shelley Wilson Cain will officiate. Memorials may be made to Larry Jordan Crisis Fund or a charity of your choice.
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Celebration of Life
501 Fergus Street
Melstone, MT 59054