Longview rancher recognized for western hospitality

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A Longview area rancher who has worked with some of the top names in the film industry received a much-deserved nod this month.

Seventy-five-year-old John Scott was nominated for the Calgary Stampede Western Legacy Award, which honours individuals and groups who demonstrate significant achievements in their commitment to western hospitality and community spirit.

Though the award went to Peter Spear during a ceremony at the BMO Centre on Nov. 15, one of the three nominees in the sustained contribution category, Scott can’t help but feel appreciative.

“It’s an honour and a privilege to be nominated for the Western Legacy Award,” he said. “I have spent quite a few years at the Stampede, probably well over 40. Probably closer to 50.”

Scott said David Sane nominated him for the award. Sane is on the Heritage Park Historical Village society board of directors and works with the Calgary Stampede.

In the 1980s, Scott was involved in operating one of the first rodeo steer riding schools and for the last four decades he has supplied the Calgary Stampede parade with horses.

As the third generation rancher at Swinging 7 Ranches east of Longview, Scott knows a thing or two about horses and cattle.

He started working in Hollywood about 40 years ago riding animals as a stuntman on western movie sets.

He has since gone on to create John Scott Productions.

Over the past three decades, Scott’s ranch has provided breathtaking scenery for several films, including six Academy Award winners like Legends of the Fall and Unforgiven.

“It’s free of power lines and sky scrapers and that kind of stuff,” he said.

Scott’s ranch boasts three western movie sets including a town and a ranch along the Highwood River, which has been visited by the like of Brad Pitt, Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman.

The passing years haven’t slowed Scott down.

He’s still keeping busy in the movie and commercial industry, whether it’s supplying livestock or scenery.

Scott said recent movies and television shows shot on his ranch include the 2015 thriller Diablo, as well as the pilot for Hell on Wheels and the Little House on the Prairie mini-series.

“There’s more pictures shot in the MD #31 than anywhere in Alberta between television and feature movies,” he said. “We’re great at making western pictures and we’ve done some awful good ones.”

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