Ponoka cowboys Brian, Bud (Vernon) and Tom Butterfield received special recognition for their dedication to the sport of rodeo.
The announcement came from the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame Monday, Feb. 22. Blake Butterfield was able to attend the induction ceremony and represent his dad, Tom, who passed away some years ago.
Ranching and the sport of rodeo was something the Butterfields had in their blood. In their early days living in Ponoka, Brian said they learned to ride a horse almost as soon as they could walk. They needed the horses to get to school, he explained.
“In those days you kind of had to make your own sport,” added Bud.
Bulldogging, or steer wrestling, seemed to come as a natural sport to the two brothers. While Brian and Bud became heavily involved in the sport of rodeo, their older brother Tom worked behind the scenes as a planner for the Ponoka Stampede and the calf industry. All three have received numerous awards and acclaim. Perhaps the most proud moment was being inducted into the Canadian Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame.
In 1996, all three were inducted; along with high placement in bareback riding, Brian landed four steer wrestling championships and the Canadian All-Round Championship; Bud earned a total of six steer wrestling championships and Tom was recognized for his work with the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association CPRA.
Both Brian and Bud were active in the Cowboy’s Protective Association and Brian served as CPRA president for one year in 1958. Blake said his father was instrumental, along with a dedicated group of cowboys, in getting the CPRA out of financial trouble and setting it up for success. His father had a cowboy way of living. “The harder you work, the more successful you are,” explained Blake.
“I’m not sure where the sport would be without his input,” he added.
For Brian, being in rodeo was in his veins. “You’ve gotta rodeo for the love of the sport.”
It seems the three were inseparable. They started a feed lot business together, were inducted in the rodeo hall of fame together and although Tom couldn’t be there in February, all three were part of the recent group of inductees to the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame.
What Brian said he would like to see grow in the sport is increased sponsorships that will bring bigger financial benefit to the athletes. What sets rodeo apart from the rest of the sports, added Bud, is: “You are your own man.”