Tom, Vernon "Bud" And Brian Butterfield
Rodeo Pioneers - Inducted 2016
The Butterfield brothers, Tom, Vernon “Bud” and Brian became true Canadian Rodeo legends in the 1950s and 1960s. The brothers dominated steer wrestling events and helped the sport grow in popularity. They won a combined ten Canadian Professional Rodeo Championships, four Calgary Stampede titles, and many professional rodeos across Canada. They served as board members and in leadership roles with the Ponoka Stampede Rodeo Committee, the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association, and Canadian Cowboy’s Protective Association.
Tom, Bud, and Brian grew up on a mixed farm, west of Ponoka. As young boys, they rode the cows and yearlings on the farm. In 1944, Tom entered his first rodeo at the age of 16 and finished third in steer wrestling. From that point on, the brothers were hooked and competed in local rodeos and then joined the rodeo circuit. Steer decorating was the popular rodeo sport at the time; however, the brothers choose to compete in steer wrestling.
Tom competed for nine years as a pro and was one of the top steer wrestlers in Canada during this time. He remained active in the sport throughout his life. From 1968 to 2000, he served as a Director with the Ponoka Stampede Association and as President from 1978 to 1979. At the time of his death in 2009, Tom was a member of the rodeo committee. Tom also served as a CPRA board member and continued to support the sport and the community of Ponoka in many ways. In 2010, the Ponoka Stampede created the Tom Butterfield Creating Cowboys Scholarship – awarded to one boy and one girl annually.
Bud Butterfield joined the Cowboys’ Protective Association in 1956 (now the CPRA). During Bud’s eight years on the pro rodeo circuit, he won six CPR steer wrestling championships: in 1956, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1962, and 1963. He placed second in 1957, prior to winning his remarkable three in a row. Bud also won four Calgary Stampede Steer wrestling titles during his career.
Brian Butterfield competed in steer wrestling and bareback riding from 1951 to 1965. During his 13 years on the pro rodeo circuit, he won four CPR championships in steer wrestling: in 1953, 1955, 1961, and 1965. He placed second in 1956 and 1960. In the Canadian Championship standings from 1952 to 1965, Brian placed in the top-five, thirteen of fourteen times. In 1958, he won the Canadian All-Around title at the CPR for combined points in Steer Wrestling and Bareback Riding. Brian was president of the Canadian Rodeo Cowboys Association from 1958 to 1959. It was at this time that steer decorating was replaced by steer wrestling at most Canadian rodeos.
The skills and desire to compete drove the brothers to their rodeo success. Their contributions and legacy to the sport continued as they served on many committees and boards, helped run events, and provided stock for the timed events. The Butterfield name remained prominent at rodeos throughout the years as their children and grandchildren competed on the circuit.
Tom, Bud, and Brian Butterfield were inducted into the Canadian Professional Rodeo Hall of Fame in 1996. They were honoured as Legends and Pioneers at the 75th Diamond Jubilee of the Ponoka Stampede and were the recipients of the Calgary Stampede Pioneers of Rodeo Award in 2012.