The life of Hall of Famer Charles “Floyd” Rumford, Jr.

Kathie Bell
Special to the Globe
2004 Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame Rodeo Cowboy Charles "Floyd" Rumford, Jr. SUBMITTED PHOTO

The 2004 Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame Rodeo Cowboy is quoted: “I just always had a way with horses…when I was four years old I’d hitch up a team of horses and take my older sister to school…About that time, a first cousin of mine and I decided we were going to be cowboys.”

Charles “Floyd” Rumford, Jr., a rodeo stock contractor for over fifty years, was born December 18, 1920.

As a child he broke every mule and horse on his family’s farm. Before the age of ten, a Hutchinson sale barn hired Floyd to ride horses around the auction ring for $2.

But it wasn't until he was serving in the South Pacific during World War II he decided he was going to participate in rodeos.

Right after the War in 1947, he hit the deck running, winning the All-Around Cowboy Title at Kingman’s Cattlemen’s Rodeo. He had a reputation he could ride anything with four legs.

However, he wasn't invulnerable.

In 1949, Floyd spent three months in a hospital with a broken leg after he overturned a tractor. Although he avoided amputation, Floyd saw his rodeo career slipping away.

Before he was out of the hospital Floyd decided he would be a stock contractor and produced his first rodeo.

Due to his injuries, he was unable to attend this successful event that was held in conjunction with the Sterling Saddle Club, but it paid $400 of his medical expenses.

Animals needed for competitions came from Rumford’s farm and from area RCA Stock Contractors.

The following year Floyd produced four rodeos in Kansas. Three years later, Floyd became an official rodeo stock contractor, giving rise to the Rumford Rodeo Company, which became known for its outstanding stock.

Floyd told rodeo committees if they’d bring in a horse that he couldn’t ride, he would knock $100 off his price. Sometimes he didn’t get off gracefully, but he was never bucked off.

Rodeo was a family affair for Floyd, his wife Lola and their two sons Bronc and Tommy. owned the Rumford Rodeo Company near Abbyville, Kansas. It still produces rodeos and supplies stock.

Floyd’s son Bronc said, “Rodeo was really in its infancy when Dad got started.” Floyd also helped start the Abbyville Rodeo.

At the rodeo’s first performance in 1963, Floyd rode a bronco for an enthusiastic hometown crowd.

In 1983, for the Abbyville Rodeo’s 20th Anniversary, Floyd climbed on another bronco. Ten years later, at the rodeo’s 30th Anniversary, Floyd – then seventy-years-old – again gave another crowd-pleasing bronco ride.

In 1998, the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association selected Rumford Rodeo Company as its Stock Contractor of the Year. Later that same year, Rumford passed away on May 25. Floyd, an author, poet, storyteller and rodeo cowboy, is remembered for his genuine interest in people, and his love of horses and rodeos. Floyd Rumford is buried at Memorial Park Cemetery in Hutchinson.

Floyd's children and grandchildren have continued the rodeo tradition throughout the western United States.