roberts ken
Ken Roberts

  • A world champion bull rider in 1943, ’44 and ’45
  • Part of the famous rodeo family of Emmett and Clara Roberts, who were instrumental in forming the Flint Hills Rodeo and turning it into the longest running rodeo in Kansas
  • A charter member of the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame and the Cowboy Hall of Fame
Roberts, Ken
Inducted 2009

Born: January 22, 1918 – Council Grove, Kansas

Died: September 12, 1975 – Strong City, Kansas

Overview

A three-time world champion bull rider and a charter member of the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame, Ken S. Roberts was called the toughest bull rider of all time. He was a pioneer athlete and producer of bull riding and was instrumental in building the sport into national prominence.

Professional Career

Roberts’ rodeo career spanned four decades, starting with a 1936 bull riding victory in Chicago at the age of 18. He repeated that championship in Chicago in 1937 and ’38. Thirty years later, Roberts won the national bull riding championship by riding a bull, which had not been ridden in two years. Roberts was the arena director of the first National Rodeo in its’ first two seasons. Roberts was part of the famous rodeo family of Emmett and Clara Roberts, who were instrumental in forming the Flint Hills Rodeo and turning it into the longest running rodeo in Kansas. Ken Roberts’ older brother Gerald was inducted into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame in 1961 and his sister Marge was also a world champion and inducted into the Nation Cowgirl Hall of Fame posthumously in 1987. Ken was a world champion bull rider in 1943, ’44 and ’45. He made his last bull ride at the age of 50 when he won the competition at the Denver Stock Show.

Honors

In addition to being inducted into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs in 1979, Roberts is an original inductee into the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City.


Click here to see Ken's Kansas Sports Hall of Fame induction speech