September/October 2017

Dear fans,

We had the unveiling of Jim’s statue in Dodge City. It was a great success. The Trail of Fame helped put this together along with the artist Tony Cipriano. When Buck Taylor, Ben Bates and Jim my son unveiled the statue my heart skipped a beat. It looked so much like Jim and his character Matt. I truly felt Jim’s presence when I put my hand into his.

The fans were thrilled with the results of the statue and I have to laugh many of the girls came up to me later and said the artist got Jim’s features perfect the front and the back end.

My son and his children came with me along with my dear friend Ginny. They all loved Dodge and the warm hospitality of the people who live there. My youngest Granddaughter, age 10, said she loved it so much so wanted to move to Dodge.

Some of Jim’s loyal fans who were also at the 60th anniversary of Gunsmoke were at the unveiling. I swear Gunsmoke fans are the best!

Ben Bates who was Jim’s stunt double and good friend was totally surprised when he was honored by having a medallion with his hand prints put on the sidewalk next to Jim’s medallion.

I am just so grateful that Jim was honored with this beautiful statute which is at least as tall as Jim and placed at the visitor’s center as you drive into Dodge City. You can’t miss it.

Till next time,
Janet Arness