Central Alberta rodeo legend dies at 81

Rodeo legend, independent politician and doting grandfather, Tom Butterfield wore many hats over his lifetime and will be remembered for being larger than life.

Gary Harbin and Frank Mickey pay tribute to legendary steer wrestler and cattleman Tom Butterfield at the celebration of his life Monday.

Rodeo legend, independent politician and doting grandfather, Tom Butterfield wore many hats over his lifetime and will be remembered for being larger than life.

Thomas Warren Butterfield, 81, died Sept. 16 after a lengthy illness. The eldest of pro rodeo’s Butterfield brothers, he was raised on a farm west of Ponoka.

Hundreds of Butterfield’s family, friends and associates attended a celebration of his life on Monday. Fittingly, the service was held in the grandstand of the Ponoka Stampede grounds, where he spent much of his time as a rodeo cowboy and later as a director of the Ponoka Stampede Association.

Son-in-law Greg Smith said Butterfield’s management of Ponoka Feedlot Ltd. Custom Feeders made bankers and accountants nervous because he took business partners at their word.

“Most of Tom’s business dealings were done with a handshake and this meant more to him than any legal document.”

Longtime friend Frank Mickey said that at the age of 16, Butterfield decided to enter boys steer riding at the Asker rodeo in 1944. During the 1950s and ’60s, he was one of the top steer wrestlers in Canada. He was inducted as a builder into the Canadian Professional Rodeo Hall of Fame in 1996.

From 1968 to 2000, Butterfield was a director with the Ponoka Stampede Association, serving as president in 1978-79. At the time of his death, he was a member of the rodeo committee.

Active politically at many levels, Butterfield was a Ponoka County councillor and a candidate for the Western Canada Concept (WCC) in the 1982 provincial election, which he lost to Halvar Jonson.

“When I think of Tom Butterfield, I think of things a cowboy stands for — toughness, honesty, integrity and a sense of fair play,” said veterinarian Gary Harbin.

Just Posted

Break-in at Red Deer business

Social media reports confirm a business break and enter in Red Deer… Continue reading

‘Rough waters’: Spill raises new questions about fast-growing N.L. oil industry

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador’s ambitious plans to dramatically expand… Continue reading

Trudeau rules out snap election call, national ballot slated for Oct. 21

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says there will be no early… Continue reading

Canadian firm says it has found largest diamond ever unearthed in North America

YELLOWKNIFE — A Canadian mining firm says it has unearthed the largest… Continue reading

Man from Olds killed in collision near Sundre

A 39-year-old man from Olds was killed in a collision near Sundre… Continue reading

WATCH: More than 100 protest UN migration pact, carbon tax in Red Deer

Chants of “Trudeau must go” echoed through the streets of downtown Red… Continue reading

Man who demolished landmark house ordered to build replica

SAN FRANCISCO — A man who illegally demolished a San Francisco house… Continue reading

Giuliani: ‘Over my dead body’ will Mueller interview Trump

WASHINGTON — With a number of probes moving closer to the Oval… Continue reading

Quebecers criticize western oil but buying more gasoline, SUVs, bigger homes: report

MONTREAL — Quebec’s premier is quick to reject “dirty” oil from Western… Continue reading

Speaker Geoff Regan opens the door to his apartment in Parliament

OTTAWA — One of the best-kept secrets inside the main building on… Continue reading

Baloo the cat is back at home after being mistakenly shipped to Montreal

HALIFAX — Much to the relief of his loving family, Baloo the… Continue reading

‘It’s what we do’: Famous Newfoundlanders help replace veteran’s stolen guitar

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Two famous Newfoundlanders stepped in to help an… Continue reading

Quebec’s anti-corruption unit blames media coverage for recruiting troubles

MONTREAL — Seven years after it was created, Quebec’s anti-corruption unit is… Continue reading

Former PQ cabinet minister poised to become next Bloc Quebecois leader

MONTREAL — It appears likely that Yves-Francois Blanchet, a former Parti Quebecois… Continue reading

Most Read