Bud Sharpe, aged 84, passed away in Keremeos on Monday, Nov. 28.
Cawston Hall was bursting at the seams on Saturday as a celebration of Bud’s life and his impressive career as a rodeo contestant, judge, cowboy, and saddlemaker, drew hundreds of guests.
Born in Trail on September 11, 1927, he owned his own horses at age 10, and by 15 had nearly a dozen.
Bud’s first rodeo involved cow riding and bareback riding. As he got older he switched to saddle broncs, travelling to rodeos all through the U.S. and Canada.
In 1950 – 51 he rode in Cody, Wyoming at the Buffalo Bill Show. “This was after Buffalo Bill ran out of buffalo.” Bud once said.
Bud had a big year in 1958, when he won the bronc riding event in Coffeeville, Kansas. It paid $710, Seven hundred of that money was used to purchase a five acre plot in Cawston, a plot recently purchased by Sandy Taylor and Daryl Letkeman.
Bud eventually gave up bronc riding, becoming a judge for the bucking horses event in the PRCA circuit.
Bud worked as a cowboy in Alberta for a year when he was 18 and in 1953 he worked as a cowboy at the world renowned Douglas Lake Ranch. The ranch had a lot of young colts to ride and Bud was sent out to the Springfield corral to break them. The corrals were a long way out and there was no one around so Bud and his partner flanked the colts and bucked them out.
He is reputed to have said,“We needed the practice! I don’t think management ever did hear about it.” When he was a kid he would find old saddles and overhaul them, not really knowing what to do. His leather supply came from Eatons mail order.
Bud Sharpe became well known as a quality saddle maker. Ropers have long used them in competition, and they were often offered as top prizes in rodeo competitions. Although Bud stopped making saddles more than 10 years ago, 50 year old Sharpe saddles can still be found in tack rooms in the Similkameen and beyond.
Over the years Bud made close to 1,200 saddles. One fellow in Pennsylvania ordered four saddles, and some of his saddles have been sent to Texas, Colorado, California, and as far away as Australia.
Bud also made chaps, panniers, saddle bags for horses and motorcycles, rodeo gear, rigging, and spur straps – anything out of leather.