Collected wisdom: Rodeo stock contractor Bennie Beutler

by Ed Godfrey Published: May 26, 2012
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Bennie Beutler has been raising bucking bulls and broncs and putting on rodeos since he was a teen. He earned his way through Southwestern Oklahoma State University by breeding bulls.

In 2010, Beutler was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, Colo. Last year, the Beutler Rodeo Hall museum opened in Elk City.

My granddad and my great uncles started in 1929 the original Beutler Brothers (Rodeo Co.). Jiggs, my dad, he rode bulls and bareback horses. When he came back from the war (World War II) he cowboyed a little bit then broke his arm and that kind of ended his career.

He worked for them and they had one of those family feuds in the early '50s that made the Hatfields and the McCoys look like a walk in the park. They wouldn't speak or nothing.

They bought out my granddad and then he and my dad formed Beutler & Son (Rodeo Co.) I was born into it (the business). I lost Jiggs in 1980. He got killed in a tractor accident.

When he died, me and my sisters inherited his part (of the business) and I bought them out and me and my granddad, Elra, was partners. Now it's come full circle because my son, Rhett, is partners with me.

I went to school at Hammond. I was in the eighth grade and running the Enid rodeo with my granddad when I was 14. I was Elra's flunky. Now I'm the old man.

I got on a few bulls and bulldogged a little. It didn't take me very long to figure out if I did that I would starve to death.

My granddad always said you need to be on the purse side of the table. If you are stock contractor, you get a check every week. If you are rodeoing, you might get a check every month.

We take stock to 30 to 32 rodeos a year. It all (culminates) at the National Finals Rodeo. The glue that holds the whole rodeo business together is the National Finals Rodeo.

Being a stock contractor has changed more in the last 10 years than it has in the last 40. Used to nobody raised their own stock. It was cheaper to buy them. Now you got to raise your own horses and bulls.

Everybody in Texas and Oklahoma that's got a hat and a backyard is raising bulls. There is a lot more bulls in the market and more people in it.

There are more stock contractors now than there has ever been. When we lost Jiggs in '80, there were probably 30. There are three and half times that now. You got some wealthy guys in it who do it as a hobby. The PBR is kind of rich man's hobby.

The crowd that goes to the PBR is different than the crowd that goes to a rodeo. When you go to Las Vegas for the National Finals Rodeo, you can tell who is town for the rodeo because they all got (cowboy) hats on. At the PBR (Finals in Las Vegas), you very seldom see a cowboy hat.

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by Ed Godfrey
Copy Editor, Outdoors Editor, Rodeo, River Sports Reporter
Ed Godfrey was born in Muskogee and raised in Stigler. He has worked at The Oklahoman for 25 years. During that time, he has worked a myriad of beats for The Oklahoman including both the federal and county courthouse in Oklahoma City for more...
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