Cecil “Whitey” Butts, Alma, Kansas, competes here in the bull riding event at an unidentified 1959 rodeo. Butts traveled the rodeo circuit in the 1950s and 1960s competing in bronc riding, bull riding and other rodeo events. Photo courtesy Whitey Butts.
Cecil “Whitey” Butts won the all-around cowboy Trophy Saddle at the 1959 Independence Missouri Police Rodeo. Pictured left to right are Louis Howell, Bill Serman, E.C. Roberts, President Harry Truman, Whitey Butts, Ken Roberts and Mike Westwood with Les Milgrim in the background. Photo courtesy Whitey Butts.
The Silver Moon Ranch rodeo arena was located in Farmer Township of Wabaunsee County on the Frank Ranch. The ranch hosted a gala annual rodeo which drew large crowds from across the state. Photo courtesy Trish Ringel.
Bronc rider, Pauline Wilson rides Uncle Sam at the Frank Brothers’ Silver Moon Ranch rodeo arena in this view dated August 3, 1924. Photo courtesy Trish Ringel.
Three cowboys visit between events at the Silver Moon Ranch rodeo arena in this early 1920s view. Ranch owner, Ulysses Frank is seated on horseback in the background. Photo courtesy Trish Ringel.
A young spectator watches a bronc rider at Lester Marten’s Rodeo Arena, located two miles south of Alma, Kansas. Marten built the arena to host 4-H rodeos, but soon it was used for weekly jackpot roping and rodeos. Photo Courtesy Julie Schultz.
Cleo Schultz competed in bull riding and other rodeo events across the country. In this view, dated 1962, Schultz is seen riding a bull at the Tulsa Stampede. Photo courtesy Cleo Schultz.
Cleo Schultz, Volland, Kansas, is seen in this 1960s view, competing in the bulldogging event at the rodeo grounds at Mayetta, Kansas. Photo courtesy Cleo Schultz.
Ron Pletcher, Eskridge, Kansas, is seen in this 1959 photograph riding a bull during a night rodeo. Pletcher competed on the professional rodeo circuit in the 1950s and 1960s. Photo Courtesy Shirley Pletcher.
These Flint Hills cowboys stop for a small celebration after a successful rodeo, circa 1959. Dale “Little Red” Wilson, left was known to be a great storyteller, and a second, unidentified cowboy, center, and Ron Pletcher appear to be enjoying the tale. Photo courtesy Shirley Pletcher.
Ranching has deep roots in Wabaunsee County, and the sport of rodeo has deep roots in ranching. After the workday was done, men and women would compete in various ranching skills from bronc riding to roping and bull riding to barrel racing. Not only did Wabaunsee County host several rodeo arenas, but a good number of Wabaunsee County cowboys participated in the rodeo sport on a national level.