Roberts of Rodeo Fame

“He had wild stories of hitchhiking and jumping on freight trains to get from rodeo to rodeo, emergency airplane landings, Hollywood and being a cowboy stuntman, riding bulls and wild horses,” says Shannan Hauser, granddaughter of the legendary Gerald Roberts of rodeo fame. “I grew up relishing stories of Granddad’s life and career.”

At 2:30 p.m. Friday, May 31, Hauser will share stories and photos of the Roberts family in a Prairie Talk at Pioneer Bluffs.

The Flint Hills Rodeo, now in its 82nd year, began in the family pasture of E.C. and Clara Roberts. Beginning in the 1930’s, the Roberts family frequently put on pasture rodeos in which their children rode every animal in sight.

Three of the Roberts children went on to win rodeo world championships. Gerald Roberts was a Twice All-Around World Champion Rodeo Cowboy in 1942 and 1948 and crowned the North American Calgary All-Around Champion in 1950. At the height of his career, Gerald was a stunt man in Hollywood in many Western films, including “Cowboy” with Jack Lemmon and Glenn Ford.

Margie Roberts was a beautiful, awe-inspiring woman who became a nationally acclaimed trick rider and champion bareback bronc rider. At the age of 19, Margie originated the “dive” as a trick rider. She rode bareback at all the big rodeos of her day, including Cheyenne and Madison Square Garden.

Ken Roberts was a three time World Champion Bull Rider in 1943, 1944 and 1945 – an idol of younger brother, Gerald. Ken credited his older sister, Margie, for leading him and Gerald into rodeo.

“When I think of this family and what they stood for,” continues Hauser, “I am reminded of what life was like when people did business on a handshake. The Roberts family lived by their word, exuded integrity, optimism and hard work, and would give their last dollar to a fellow cowboy in need. I am proud to share the Roberts family legacy.”

There is no charge for this community event. Donations are appreciated. For information, contact Executive Director Lynn Smith at lynn@pioneerbluffs.org or (620) 753-3484, or visit the Facebook event page.

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