Relive the Old West Legend of Dodge City Through Exhibits, Education and Entertainment.

Bud Sankey – Rodeo Cowboy

Bud SankeyBud Sankey is the 2014 Rodeo Cowboy.
“I can make a damn sight more money with my head than with my hands.”


C.L. “Bud” Sankey was born on December 27, 1935 in Delta, Colorado to Doc and Fern Sankey. He spent his youth in Grand Junction, Colorado. Breaking and training horses from an early age, he always had a talent for selecting great horses. In the 1960’s, a Kansas horseman recognized Bud’s talent and hired him to train horses. After moving his young family to Kansas, he soon began training his own horses. On his way to owning his own arena and barn in Rose Hill, Kansas, Bud worked for Bill Ross, owner of Ross Western Wear near Wichita. Bud went on to win several State Cutting Horse Championships. He rode in the American Quarter Horse Association and Appaloosa Horse Club contests. He won the National Champion Appaloosa Cutting Horse in 1972 on Hoddy Doc, a horse he bought and trained as a two-year old. In 1975, Bud got involved in the rodeo stock business by providing bucking stock for Sankey Rodeo Schools, run by his sons, Ike and Lyle. He moved on to producing bull ridings at his indoor arena. For 30 years he hosted these Saturday night bull ridings with bucking bulls he bought and developed. During this time, he purchased and sold horses in addition to bucking bulls. Many of the bulls that started out at his Rose Hill arena ended up in pro rodeos, including the National Finals. Bud also had a hand at helping cowboys get started on the road to pro rodeo. He enjoyed seeing young cowboys come to his jackpots and schools to go on to compete on the national stage. Milburn and Mike Ouither, Spud Whitman, Doug Shipe, John Luthi and Buds sons, Ike and Lyle, are a few of those who rode at Sankey’s, and went on to a pro rodeo career. Bud is famous for his “Trading Post” which is filled with custom saddles, tack and historical western gear. Bud created a line of Sankey saddles, sold throughout the world. One of his most notable achievements is his invention of The Sankey Twister, an electronic bucking machine. Bud’s two sons are both rodeo champions having competed in the National Finals Rodeo. They both qualified for the NFR in multiple events. Bud’s grandkids have all competed in rodeo, and are currently involved in the business end of pro rodeo.

Year inducted: 2014

Learn more about Rodeo Cowboys.