Empty Saddles: Les Johnson

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From left, Les Johnson and Ellie Lewis at a rodeo in Phoenix, Arizona in 1962.

Born in British Columbia, saddle bronc rider Les Johnson passed away Aug. 31, at his home in Visalia, Calif. He was 84. Johnson, who qualified for the inaugural National Finals Rodeo in Dallas, Tex., finished second in the NFR average in 1959 with a score of 1,768 points on 10 head. He placed 11th in the world standings with $9,755.

Johnson also was a three-time saddle bronc riding champion at the massive Fourth of July St. Paul (Ore.) Rodeo (1956, 1958 and 1960). He was inducted into the St. Paul Rodeo Hall of Fame in 2011.

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