WILLCOX Cowboy Hall of Fame inductees


Benjamin Paul Snure was born June 19, 1921 in El Paso, Texas. Ben's father was the engineer on the first passenger train from El Paso to Tucson, via Douglas. Ben's dad homesteaded a place in Apache, and that is where Ben grew up.

Last night I looked in my Rand McNally Road Atlas and Apache is not even a dot on the map. But if you take Highway 80 North out of Douglas for 46 miles you will find this place called Apache. In Ben's growing up days, Apache had two stores and a school. Ben's uncle owned one of the stores and he always said he sold everything from a case of hummingbird eggs to a car load of fresnos.

Ben spent his childhood growing up on a ranch and going to school in Apache. He went from first grade to the eighth grade in Apache, he went to high school in Douglas, and he went to college at Stanford.

He played high school baseball in Douglas, but he didn't think he was good enough to play baseball at the Division I level while at Stanford (which at that time was the Pac 8, now known as the Pac 10). So he combined his ability to hit a little round ball with a stick and riding horses. He played polo. He was the captain of the polo team at Stanford and he played for four years. At Stanford he majored in economics, but he said he learned more than just economics while in school, as this is where he learned to play poker.

There were a lot of things going on in Ben's world between 1943 and 1948, as in 1943, he married Florence Cowan, who is from another well known ranching family from Cochise County.

In 1946, he finished his hitch in the Army and was discharged after serving in the military police while in Calcutta, India. Ben said, "There are no great war stories to tell."

Then in 1948, Ben and Florence bought a ranch in Skeleton Canyon. Ben said, "Skeleton Canyon is where Geronimo surrendered and over the years we thought about surrendering too, but we haven't yet." He also said, "Florence taught school in Douglas and in Apache to keep me in the cow business."

Ben liked to rope quite a bit. At age 14 he roped in his first rodeo at Ike Prices' in Turkey Creek. He entered the amateur calf roping, won second and collected $6.00. Ben rodeoed some in California, but mostly in Arizona, New Mexico and a little in Texas. Ben said, "I did a lot of jackpot roping and; I won one occasionally." Ben said he was a good roper in a time when there weren't any good ropers.

Ben Snure is a very proud family man. As I interviewed Ben and Florence, Ben continuously wanted to talk about his kids and the grandkids. His sons Rick, the rancher and Bill (actually it was Big Bill) the banker. Ben taught his sons to rope and he is very proud of the fact that each of them have won the calf roping at the Prescott Rodeo. Now we can talk about the families. Rick's wife is Fran and Bill's wife is Jan.

Rick's kids are Roland (who is a second year med student at the U of A.), Clay, and Bill (this is little Bill). They are still in high school and rodeoing at the high school level.

Big Bill's kids are Ben (14), and Sloan (16). Sloan is a girl. The name Sloan came from a John Wayne movie.

Yes, this is a man very proud of his family.

Ben pioneered Angus cattle in this area and in 1996 he was named "Cattleman of the Year" by the Arizona Cattlegrowers Association.

Ben said, "I like what I am doing. I like to be outside where things are growing and green. Always watching for rain." Florence said, "He's just an optimist. When you look back on the life of Ben Snure: Here is a man that still works with the land, his father homesteaded. He went to college at Stanford, served his country in the Army, served on the Apache School Board for 15 years, roped and rodeoed with world champion cowboys, pioneered Angus cattle in this area, was named "Cattleman of the Year" for the State of Arizona, and even survived two operations to remove a brain tumor.

But Ben still says his number one best accomplishment was, "Getting Married"!!

At the end of this month...on October 30 ...Ben and Florence well celebrate 54 years together.

A proud man...who has enjoyed life...Mr. Ben P. Snure, Jr.