One of the reasons the ranch is still owned by the Small family is because of the success of Butch and his brother Kevin in rodeo competitions. Butch Small was a world class saddle bronc rider. He made the national finals rodeo thirteen times in his long career.
“I grew up doing it and pretty quick you get to be 13, 14 years old and riding colts and people are bringing you horses that buck. High School Rodeo came along and I wanted to go further. I grew up understanding and loving rodeo and wanted to do it but always had whether I was good enough to make it or not. …I went on and made a lot of money doing it and a lot people don’t do that. A lot try and some make it some don’t. I was just one that did and I’m fortunate to have that. I can always say that I did it.”
Butch won nearly 900 thousand dollars during his rodeo days. He plowed many of his paycheck back into the ranch during some of the lean years when many of his neighbor’s ranches were going under.
“There are six ranches over the hill that lost their places and I was the cash flow for this place and it didn’t bother me a bit because that was my responsibility. The place has been in my family for 130 years and all you have to do is think about the sacrifices , you go up to the cemetery and you see my great granddad had to bury three or four of his kids. I never made a sacrifice compared to what he did. So giving money to the ranch I was glad to do it. If I had to do it all over again I wouldn’t even question it.”